The story that stood out to me the most in today’s reading was that of the two blind men sitting by the roadside in Jericho. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd ordered them to be quiet. Crowds do not often like people who are demonstratively religious. However, this did not stop the two blind men. They shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”
This is a wonderful prayer. This is a prayer that we can pray every day, and at many moments throughout the day, either silently or out loud. It is very similar to the Jesus Prayer taught and practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Church: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Or we can pray even more simply: “Lord, have mercy.”
The example of the blind men leads me to wonder: how badly, how desperately, do we want healing from Jesus? Do we care more about what others think of us? Or do we care most about getting close to Jesus and receiving what he has to give to us?
Then we read that Jesus stood still and called the blind men to himself. Isn’t that amazing? This shows us that our prayers have the power to arrest the Lord, to stop him in his tracks and call him to us. This also shows us the great mercy of the Lord. He did not have to stop and help these two blind men. After all, he was on his way to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. However, in mercy he chose to stop for these two men. And in mercy Jesus will choose to stop for us and heal us, if we cry out to him.
Then Jesus asks the blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?” That is a great question. How would you answer that question if Jesus posed it to you this moment? What do you most want Jesus to do for you right now?
The two blind men, of course, wanted most to be able to see. “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
Then we read that: “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.”
Jesus is moved by compassion for us as he considers our individual situations and the things that unnecessarily limit us and hinder his work in us. He longs to heal us completely and immediately, if we will only ask.
Of course, Jesus does not always heal us in exactly the ways we think are best or that we would like. But he always heals us in the way that is truly for our best good and the good of his kingdom purpose. We must always remember that the ultimate healing is found in death that leads to new life and being present with God face to face.
Notice too that the result of this healing is that these two blind men follow Jesus. They do not just walk away. They do not go back to their old lives. How could they? No, they follow Jesus. They long to be with this man forever who has shown them such compassion and healing power.
I wonder: do we long to be with Jesus wherever he is leading?