Wednesday April 29, 2020
29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 There 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!” 31 The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” 32 Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.Matthew 20:29-34
Two blind men were sitting together on a road outside of a city, and called out to be healed by a traveling prophet and preacher, who we now know as our Lord, Jesus. The crowds that were with Jesus shouted at the two men to keep quiet – they viewed the men as a nuisance. Why?
- Why were the blind men sitting outside of the city?
- Why were they by themselves without anyone to help them?
- Why were two blind men together at all?
- Why was the response of the crowds to keep them quiet, rather than to listen to them?
The blind men were likely not family members, and yet they became like family to one another because of their shared affliction of being blind. As blind men, they were seen as being punished by God for a sin that they committed, or a sin their parents committed, and as such, they were not seen by the people as men they should help, but men who they should exclude and silence.
And so, these two men stick together because they may have no one else, and then they hear the commotion of a large crowd coming their way, and they heard the name “Jesus” being a person that is being addressed as being present. Remembering others who’ve passed by talking about this Jesus before, they decided to call out to this healer that they heard so much about. For yes, they were seen as cursed by the crowds, but surely Jesus would have mercy on them, and heal them, just as they had heard he healed others.
On that day, these two men who were considered cursed, and they had possibly even considered themselves cursed, but they were then healed by a man who the people believe was sent by God in some way. Their world changed that day in a dramatic way because they not only could see again, but they no longer just had each other – they had a whole other family.
I love how the Gospels continually point out these moments where Jesus goes against the cultural norms in order to help people in need of saving, hope, healing, acceptance, and love.
I also love that this story points out that people who are afflicted usually help one another.
In college, I volunteered with a church near the school to go out to a place called “Tent City” in Bristol, PA where a homeless community was formed because they had no where else to go, and they decided that it was good to at least live together. In this camp, there were many men and women, and they were divided into two main sides: one side was younger, and were more okay with drug use, and the other side tended to be older and they were just there to survive and be together without drugs. Nevertheless, though the eaders of these respective sides had disagreements, they still respected each other enough to work together to make sure that everyone had enough supplies.
Our group was not there to provide physical aid, as the community there had many other groups donating to them that they didn’t really have an idea for how we could help them physically. So what we did was go there just to speak with them, laugh with them, tell each other stories, and if they asked for it, we prayed with them and had a bible study. The leaders of the church did much for this community and others through helping them find work, get help, and providing community dinners, but our little group of volunteers were only there to provide them with something that they were missing on a another human level – connection, conversation, and inclusion from those outside of the camp.
A lot of us are missing connection, conversation, and inclusion from those outside of our homes right now. We find ourselves feeling understood and validated through groups for parents during quarantine, through funny memes/pictures that point out the little frustrations of this time, through shared opinions on how to move forward, and through many other ways.
And all of us are together, sitting on the road of our uncertain present, calling out to God to change the way we experience life, to bring back to us the senses of community, hand shakes, and hugs. To bring to us the reunion of family members that we are currently estranged from. And to bring us into our churches that we are currently not allowed to enter.
But at least in our longing, we are together through out shared prayer.