And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
(Matthew 20:29-34 ESV)
I like to say the Bible should not be read it should be studied and today and tomorrow’s passages are a great example. These passages are brief and seemingly offer nothing new compared with passages we’ve previously studied. But as we’ll see they are filled with many spiritual lessons.
Jesus and His disciples (they) were in the area of Jericho, on their way to Jerusalem where Jesus would be crucified about eight days later. A great crowd was following Him. Jesus was the equivalent of the modern-day rock star. He couldn’t go out in public without people surrounding Him.
Two blind men were sitting by the roadside and they heard that Jesus was passing by. Wanting to be healed of their blindness they cried out to Jesus calling Him “Lord“ and “Son of David“, the latter term a recognition that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah promised in the Old Testament and who would be a descendant of King David.
Due to disease, physical blindness was not uncommon back then. Blind people were outcasts from society and had to resort to begging to survive. But even though these men did not have physical sight they had spiritual sight. It’s often the case that those people who have the least in life are the most likely to find Jesus because the “things” of this world don’t distract them from spiritual realities. They have nothing on this earth and so they turn their attention to eternity.
Notice the crowd tries to silence them but they simply cried out all the more. These men would not be deterred. Too often people stay away from Jesus because their friends or family will be critical or will make fun of them. I can vouch for that. But a person’s eternity is too important to let others control it, especially those who don’t know what they’re talking about.
This was the one-and-only chance these men had to be healed. They could have let themselves be silenced, hoping to encounter Jesus another time. But that wasn’t going to happen. Jesus was never going to pass by them again (although they didn’t know that). In about eight days Jesus would be dead. They took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself. When opportunity knocks its best to answer the door because it may not knock again.
Many people put off learning about God while they pursue their careers and earthly ambitions. They think “some day” I’ll check out the Bible to see if it’s true. But in the end they never get around to finding salvation through Christ so they die without having their sins forgiven. How sad. There is no better time to seek Jesus than right now [Jeremiah 29:13].
Today’s passage is only 67 words. But it teaches us a lot. This is one of the great things about the Bible. It packs a lot into a little. Tomorrow we’ll study – and learn a lot from – Jesus’ response to these men.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.