From Jericho to Jerusalem

by Tom Wacaster

Take a minute to read the story of the two blind men whom Jesus healed on His final trip to Jerusalem (Matthew 20:29-34). There is a remarkable beauty in this story, and if we are not careful we will miss it. Was it Matthew’s intention to record just one more miracle among so many others? Why this one? Why here in a passage that has just focused our attention on the pending “cup” that Jesus must drink? Let me take a minute and set the stage for this miracle. Before we look at the men, let’s take a look at our King. Keep in mind that He was headed to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Around Him were the disciples, faithful yet lacking in understanding of all that was occurring, but still loyal. We see the “great multitude” that followed Him; all making their way toward the Holy City for the triumphant entry in a few short weeks. Along the way they encounter these two blind men. These men are sitting by the way! Sitting, begging, listening, hoping. How long had they been blind? How long had they been dependent upon others for the crumbs that might be thrown their way? Matthew does not tell us; he only tells us that when they were aware that Jesus was drawing nigh, they cried out. Yet in their desperation, the multitude rebuked them. The more these two men cried, the more the crowd rebuked them; and the blind men cried all the more: “Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David” (vs. 30-31). How easy it would have been for Jesus to pass by these two men, consumed in His own thoughts, with His face toward Jerusalem. Instead, Jesus stops, “and stood still, and called them” (vs. 32). I do not think this miracle was placed here arbitrarily. In this moment of compassion our Lord, our King if you will, corrected the false notion that the disciples had of the Kingdom, as well as their mistaken idea of what true greatness in that Kingdom consists. True greatness is not found in some administrative position in some great corporation. It is not honor bestowed because of some special ability or achievement for which you are recognized. Dear reader, if you want to see what true greatness is, spend some time on this little road outside of Jericho, and watch a King stop in the midst of His busy schedule, and demonstrate true compassion to two men who were in great need.

What about us? In our busy schedule, with errands to run, schedules to keep, and meetings to attend, how do we compare to our King; a King Who never forgot the importance of caring for others. The late Roy Orbison produced a holiday melody many years ago that touched the hearts of so many. I want to lift one stanza out of that song for your consideration. Imagine now yourself on that Jericho Road, with a busy day, and an even more busy week before you. And now you come across two beggars; not indigents, not lazy bums, but two men in genuine need. What do you do?

Should you stop? Better not, much too busy!
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly.
In the distance the ringing of laughter,
And in the midst of the laughter he cries!

If we are not careful we will read the story of these two blind men and view it as just one more miracle. But when we take the story in its context, what an amazing portrait of our Lord emerges on the canvas of life for our serious and sobering consideration.

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