The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 18:35-43
Today we hear the story of the blind man who met the Lord Jesus as He was traveling on His way to Jericho. We’re told that this blind man heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by and he cried out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
A funny thing happened as this blind man was calling out to the Lord. He was told to shut up! Yes indeed, that is what it means when it says that he was rebuked and silenced by those who were in the front of the crowd. This is even more significant when we think about the circumstance. These people who were walking with Jesus all had their sight. They were not blind beggars sitting by the road waiting for people to pass by. They had their sight. They knew all about Jesus. They had probably seen His miracles with their own eyes. Yet they told the blind man who was asking for help to be silent.
This points us to some greater realities:
- Sometimes it takes weakness to really call on God for help.
- Sometimes those who claim to follow Jesus do not actually know Him or understand Him.
- Sometimes blindness is actually a disease that affects the heart and not the eyes.
Sometimes it takes weakness to really call on God for help.
This one is quite obvious to anyone who has ever had true need in their life. Sometimes God allows very difficult situations in our lives. At these times we are likely to moan and complain and wish that life were different. But have you ever wondered why God might allow these hardships and trials? Is it possible that our lives would be blessed beyond belief if we could allow these tribulations to guide us to the Lord? It certainly seems that this was the case for the blind man. He was at rock bottom with nowhere to look but up. Sometimes all we can do is beg God. That turns our weakness into power because it puts our trust in Him instead of ourselves.
Sometimes those who claim to follow Jesus do not actually know Him or understand Him.
This is a very important point for all of us. Even those of us who are faithful, who attend church every week and even read the Bible every day. For those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ, simply saying it or going through the motions doesn’t make it so. The group who followed Jesus should have known that He loved the poor and the downtrodden. Instead of lifting this man up and bringing him to Christ, they tried to silence him. This is a clear sign that we can know about Jesus but not know Him. It is a sign that we can be followers of Christ without actually following Christ at all. If that was true for people who knew Christ in the flesh, face to face, imagine how much more true it is of those who have only learned about Him through the Bible and word of mouth!
What matters isn’t that you claim Christ as Lord and Savior. The Lord tells us that “many will cry out, Lord Lord!” and He will say to them “Depart from me you workers of iniquity.” Simply knowing about Jesus isn’t enough. The New Testament challenges us to have the heart and mind of the Lord. Instead of always thinking about things according to my understanding, I’m forced to leave my comfort zone and try to figure out how the Lord would act. That is not true only when dealing with the poor or the pregnant or the unbeliever. It is true when I’m dealing with my church family or my own family or even the various church groups like the women’s group or parish council. What I want needs to come into line with what He wants. This leads us perfectly to the final point.
Sometimes blindness is actually a disease that affects the heart and not the eyes.
All of these people walking with Jesus had their sight. Yet it was the blind man who had vision. These folks could see everything with their physical eyes. But the blind man could see everything through a faithful heart. It was his faith that made him cry out to the Lord. It was his faith that allowed him to boldly ask for healing. The truth of the gospel reading is that this man could see better than almost everyone present with the Lord. While he could see with his eyes of faith, the others were quite blinded. They didn’t see the blind man in need. While they ignored and brushed him aside they found that the priorities of the Lord were quite different from their own. He had true vision. He could see what really mattered. That wasn’t only true in this instance, but throughout His life according to the gospels.
The Lord Jesus has a vision of the kingdom and His kingdom is not of this world. His will is to do the will of the One who sent Him. If we don’t have a vision for the kingdom or the will of God, we are basically going through our life blind. We will be able to see with our eyes, but we won’t be able to see the things that God would have us to see. The Lord says to each of us, “stop trying to see the world with your eyes, I want you to see the world through my eyes!” Imagine that! If you could see the world through God’s eyes, would you?
That option is available to each and every one of us. Through heartfelt prayer by the grace of the Holy Spirit it is possible to remove the blindness of the heart. God wants this for each of us. He wants to replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He wants to add spiritual vision to our physical vision. Do you want to see through God’s eyes? All you have to do is ask. As the Lord Himself said “Ask and it will be given to you.” May we be given true vision like the blind man! And Glory be to God forever AMEN.