As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. ~~ Matthew 20:29-34
Two men, blind, sitting along the roadside. Beggars? Maybe. Probably. Is this where they always sat, along a busy path heading out of town, where the passing traffic offered the best payoff? Or were they in this spot today because they heard the healing prophet might be passing that way?
I love their boldness. No whispering, no murmuring, no cautiously creeping forward to touch the hem of his garment. These men shouted! They wanted to be heard. When the people nearby hushed them, reminding them, I’d guess, that Jesus was a busy man, that he had important things to do, and that it wasn’t proper to make a scene like that, they simply repeated their call all the louder! “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
And Jesus responded so beautifully.
First, he stopped. That’s it. Stopped. He was on his way to Jerusalem and had a lot on his mind. He knew what awaited him — betrayal, arrest, mocking, flogging, humiliation, abandonment, and crucifixion. It was on his mind; he had just spoken of it to the disciples. But the cry, the shout of these two men, brought him to a stop.
He asked what they wanted. He invited them to express their need. Of course he knew it already. He wasn’t blind; he could see their blindness. But he asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” He allowed them to speak the desire of their hearts, to voice their need, to ask him to act on their behalf.
Then, he cared. The passage says he “had compassion on them.” It mattered to him that they were in need. It touched him that they had called out to him. He allowed their shouts and their need to interrupt him and bring the whole procession to a halt. He cared.
And his caring was demonstrated in his response; he touched their eyes. I love the stories we have of Jesus touching people. Lepers, beggars, blind men, old women, little girls, one of the men arresting him. He could have, and sometimes did, just speak and they were healed. That must have been enough for some people, but maybe he knew when people needed his touch as much as his words, so he touched them. And when he touched them, they were healed!
Because they dared call out to him.
Oh, Jesus, in my places and times of need, let my first cry be to you. Before I complain, before I seek advice, before I fill myself with a few minutes on the internet, before I grab a brownie or pour a bowl of cereal, let me cry to you, shout if need be. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Let me believe that my desperation, my boldness, my calling out to you, will move you in the same way it did toward these two men so long ago. Remind me that you will stop; you won’t rush past me on the way to more important things. You won’t be too busy or too hurried. You won’t be overwhelmed by my shouts. You’ll hear me and stop.
Let me remember that you invite me to speak my need. Of course you know it, but you want me to tell you what I’m facing and what I want and how I’d like you to help me.
Remind me that you care. You have compassion on me. My need touches your heart and my crying out to you moves you.
And give me faith to know you will act. Your compassion will be demonstrated by your touch. And your touch brings healing.
The Bible tells us immediately the men received their sight and they followed him. Immediately. Their healing was immediate and they got up and went. These two men didn’t mess around. They weren’t afraid to shout when they were in need, and they followed immediately upon Jesus’ touch. But who wouldn’t want to follow a man like Him? I know I do.