29 As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. 30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” 34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified when He met two blind beggars. It is important to remember that He had just finished talking to His disciples about servant hood, because two of them wanted prominent positions of power in His kingdom. The other disciples responded with anger and jealousy at James and John’s blatant grab for power and prominence. All of them had the wrong understanding of leadership, one in which the world measures leadership by how many people serve us. As they journey on together it is not long before the opportunity to serve others is placed before them. I love the contrast between these two moments, two beggars that plead only for mercy in contrast with two disciples that demand privileges. We would do well to observe that Jesus turns down the two disciples but he grants the request of the two beggars. The beggars’ condition is one of blindness, disability, desperation, pleading and need. They are rebuked by a crowd that tries to hush their cries for mercy. There is a sharp contrast between the attitude and actions of the crowd and Jesus. One wants to quiet the other to listen. When it comes to serving which camp am I in, the crowd or Jesus? What has to change for me to have a servant’s heart?
Scripture says that Jesus stopped. He slowed down even though He was on his way to Jerusalem, he had a full and final week in front of Him. Jesus was a busy man with many demands made on Him, yet He still stopped. If I am going to serve it will requires that I slow down and even stop. Could it be that the great enemy of our spiritual life and service to God is hurry? He had a lot to do but he was not hurried, we don’t find Him running to keep an appointment. When it came to time Jesus always took the time to stay connected to His Father. I believe that that is why He always had time to love people in the midst of a busy schedule. As people, we will buy anything if it helps us save time, yet it is ironic that when we get hurried and feel we need to eliminate something from our life, the place we often start is our service to God. Is that really what we need to cut to slow our pace of life? There is a definite difference in the reactions of the crowd and Jesus. The crowd wanted to continue uninterrupted, motivated out of self-centeredness. Jesus stopped and regarded others as important, worthy of His time, the motivation, selflessness. Do you have time to serve God? What about other people?
- Open your eyes to see a bigger picture.
Why did Jesus put His own plans on hold when others were unwilling to do so? Because Jesus was willing to modeled the practice of putting others first even of it inconvenienced Him and His own crowd of followers.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had”
Blindness was common in ancient times and many of the blind did not have family that could or would take care of them. They’d station themselves on the outskirts of a city where travelers would be coming and going, because travelers would have something they needed, money. The question we need to ask is, who is sitting in the path that we travel? Do we see them or are we the ones that are blind? What is the source of your blindness is it business or a failure to see the big picture, a limited view of why you are here? Is it possible that the greatest danger is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will skim through this life and never really live it? Who was really blind that day? Physically the beggars were, but what about the crowd who failed to see what Jesus saw?
- Be compassionate
Compassion is an attitude towards a need that compels us to take action to meet that need; Jesus heals the two blind beggars. A truly compassionate heart finds it impossible to remain neutral when it sees a need. This story is a reminder that the first message we have to deliver to this lost world is simply this, “God cares.” So often this message is communicated loudest through acts of kindness verses speeches of words. Are you compassionate, do you take action to meet the need?
- Touch the need
Touch is all around us in this world, the handshake, the pat on the back, the hug, holding hands, touch often communicates when the tongue cannot. Jesus could have just spoken, but He chose to touch them, to physically touch the need. After Jesus reaches out and touches them their need is met and their reaction is simply to follow Him, the one they can now see. When Jesus touched my life spiritually and I could see, I had the same response, simply to follow Him. If Jesus has touched your life, what will you do with your sight, what will you focus on? Can you see Jesus, will you follow Him or the crowd. What will you do with your sight; will you see others as Jesus did?