A friend of mine has been posting lately about loneliness. This stays with me.
Jesus is leaving Jericho with his disciples. And a big crowd follows behind. With moderate exposure to the Gospels, you get the impression that Jesus could do some pretty amazing things: feed thousands of people, turn water into wine, quiet a storm, drive out demons, bring people back to life. And maybe you reach a point in reading that the miracles become commonplace–Oh. Jesus does another healing.
Or you read on in anticipation: what’s he going to do next?
I step into the scene. Dusty road. Hot sun. Jesus is moving on, and people are following. There are two blind guys. I wondered for quite a while what it was like to be blind: was it a legal blindness? Was it always black? Did they feel like the world was going on around them, without them? Did they feel like, because they couldn’t see, they also couldn’t be seen? Is blindness a metaphor? Were they lonely?
The rush of the crowd approaches and hope rises. These two blind men call out for mercy.
And I don’t know if the crowd was a bunch of Jesus lovers or gawkers, but I do know this: they told the blind men to shut up.
If these blind men could hear the crowd yelling at them to shut up, I’m sure Jesus heard it too. But he also heard the blind men crying out. The scene becomes very small. That crowd is anonymous and blurred out, because now it is just Jesus and two blind men.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“Lord,” they said. “We want to see!” Matthew 20:32-33 NLT.
And when I think of what blindness is, I fill in this restoration with color. To see, and to be seen. To engage in a world around them. To be part of the world around them. To live in community and not isolation. To stop feeling alone. Or lonely. When all these people are yelling SHUT UP, does anyone care?
34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him. Matthew 20:34 NLT.
Jesus gets personal with two people the world would overlook. He feels for them, and touches them. Reaches right out. Who wouldn’t want to follow this man who hears their cries, who notices them, who stopped his journey that day to reach out to them?
Sam’s depiction of a disciple really stuck with me: someone who imitates the teacher.
Jesus, thank you for keeping me in this scene–to have compassion. To reach right out and touch someone. To hear a cry–and acknowledge it! To stop and help. I want to walk with you and learn from you. Thank you that you don’t pass us by when we call out to you, like we’re invisible or don’t matter.