Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd
followed him. 30There were two blind men sitting by
the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing
by, they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of
David!’ 31The crowd sternly ordered them to be
quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, ‘Have
mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!’ 32Jesus stood
still and called them, saying, ‘What do you want me
to do for you?’ 33They said to him, ‘Lord, let our
eyes be opened.’ 34Moved with compassion, Jesus
touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their
sight and followed him.
This past week, 14 of us traveled to Madison,
Wisconsin for the purpose of engaging in community
service. This particular passage was read one
morning before we embarked on our service projects
(either sorting canned goods for a food bank, or
creating art at a pottery and glass studio to give
residents at a local nursing home).
We sat together, back to back, focused on our
collective breath, feeling our ribs rise and fall as
we inhaled, then exhaled. Our eyes closed as the
story of Jesus healing two people was read aloud, as
we listened for words and phrases that jumped out at
us. This is what stuck out:
“Moved with compassion…”
Take a minute to read it again…
This story that involves a lots of ‘doing’ on the
part of Jesus. Notice all these verbs:
Left—Jesus had to leave Jericho in order for
this miracle to happen.
Stop—despite being on the move, Jesus took
time to stop and notice those who were being pushed
to the side by the crowds
Ask—despite the crowd’s attempt to silence
these two, Jesus engaged them with questions, and
wanted to know their story
Loved—in a very human moment, Jesus responds
with compassion, and the one who came to serve and
not to serve, further exemplifies how to care for
the least of these
Touched—as if listening to these outcasts
wasn’t radical enough, Jesus moves towards them and
touches them, giving them what they asked.
One student on the trip commented that Jesus seems
to move a lot; that, despite the adamancy of the
crowd, Jesus was able to hear the cries of the blind
men and focused entirely on them. [He/she] observed
that one of the most notable characteristics of this
story is how much Jesus actually touched people.
Jesus touched people, meeting them where they were.
That is the good news, isn’t it? Throughout his ministry, Jesus
wanted people to be themselves, and responded to the cries, needs,
and realities of those around him in kind. Ultimately, the gospel of
Christ is concern for the whole person. When confronted with the
needs of others, Jesus didn’t check their prerequisites, or mandate
“good behavior” before their needs could be met. Instead, Jesus fed
and healed people, meeting them where they were, even when the crowd
said “don’t”. Jesus teaches us this: that good news to a hungry
person is not only bread, and to the blind person is not only sight,
but being seen themselves as valuable human beings.
It is one thing to intellectually teach the foundation of our faith;
it is quite another to allow ourselves (and in this case, our
children) to live out this faith and express it through gifts and
acts of service. What 14 of us did in Madison was mimic the actions
of Christ in the context of this passage: bringing the good news of
God’s beloved community by engaging people in a way that showed the
hope and beauty that exists in a world. In this way, we can all,
together, here and now, enjoy that renewal of creation, which is
God’s ultimate purpose.
And so, like the blind men who followed Jesus after being healed,
those who served and those who were served became peers, jointly
sharing in the ongoing transformation of God’s reign in the world.
And that was truly a sight to see.
[Adam Quine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]