Kevin spoke from Luke 18:35-43 TNIV this morning. The last time he spoke was on the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19, but this time we looked at the healing of the blind beggar. There are common themes of mercy and praise in both stories.
We are not told if the blind man required assistance to arrive at his regular place of begging or not, but this was clearly his ordinary way of living. An encounter with Jesus was about to change all that. Any encounter we have with Jesus will change us and we are hungry for more, no matter what we have already experienced.
Clearly, the blind man, when hearing all the commotion and being told that it was because of Jesus of Nazareth, had heard something of this man already, for he addressed Him as ‘Jesus, Son of David’. One commentary reminds us that he was blind and could do nothing to improve his situation. He recognised, however, that the Messiah could do something about him and therefore begged Him for mercy – a change to his normal begging for money and food! He was desperate to catch the ear of Jesus, but was rebuked by people for making such a noise. We need to be people who point others in the right direction and who are not stumbling-blocks. In effect, these people were telling the blind man to ‘sit down and shut up’, but his persistence paid off.
In ice hockey, a play who fouls another is sent to the ‘sin bin’ (a penalty box where a player sits to serve the time of a given penalty, for an offence not severe enough to merit outright expulsion from the contest.) Quite often he will deny any knowledge of the offence and will complain about the punishment until he is told to ‘sit down and shut up!’ If we want something from God, however, we need to overcome opposition that tells us to sit down and shut up and we need to persist in approaching God.
Jesus asked the man ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ (Luke 18:40 TNIV) This profound question cuts through our materialistic longings and reminds us that God is eager to pour out His blessings on us. He is so generous that He frequently asks us this question. The man’s response (‘Lord, I want to see’) shows us that we can be honest with Jesus and articulate to Him all the deepest longings of our hearts. Years of begging were brought to an end by the healing Jesus brought to the man. He received his sight instantly and praised God for this healing, causing others to praise God too. He was no longer a beggar, but was now a follower who opened his heart to the One who had opened his eyes.
When God works in our lives personally, it evokes praise in us. We need to be a thankful people whose response to God’s working in our lives is to stand up and praise!