As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met. Right after that, as the blind men were leaving, a man who had been struck speechless by an evil spirit was brought to Jesus. As soon as Jesus threw the evil tormenting spirit out, the man talked away just as if he’d been talking all his life. The people were up on their feet applauding: “There’s never been anything like this in Israel!” The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Hocus-pocus. It’s nothing but hocus-pocus. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil.” (Matthew 9:27-34 MSG)
If ever there was a “bigger picture” view of the Kingdom of God, this passage is it. The blind men came “crying out ” .. they knew who He was. Son of David !.. The coming one.. They had heard the stories.. miracles. People were talking. They hear the crowd, they follow along.. stumbling along is probably more accurate… crying out for mercy. They have heard He can heal blindness.. but will He heal them? Why cry for mercy ? Mercy is what you ask for when you don’t want what you deserve. Why not “heal me!” Maybe they knew instinctively that mercy is what they really needed. Something more than eyesight. In other stories like this, Jesus would stop in the street, right where they were and heal the inflicted person. But not these men. He leads them to his home, invites them in. I don’t think thats an accident.
Blindness is a terrible disease. Blindness from birth carries a certain unique characteristic. Explain light and color to one who has never experienced either. True blindness like this does not know its blind until someone tells them. To have seen and then become blind is a torture all its own. But you do have memory of the places and faces which either bless you with joy or curse you with regret. To those unfortunate souls born blind, they are left with others trying to describe a dimension of their senses that they are lacking. I think it’s entirely feasible for the born blind to resist this knowledge, depending on who is doing the informing. When your eyesight is fine and you are accused of being blind, it takes on a completely new dimension.
Before Jesus heals them.. He asked them ” Do you believe I can do this ?” . He did not ask everybody He healed this question. Why them.. was it a trick question, baiting them to doubt or encouraging them to believe? In a very real way I think Jesus asks us this same question everyday.
What a picture of life.. we stumble along.. following the crowds.. only slightly aware of our blind state..spiritually blind… and then we hear the testimony of others saying ” Jesus heals blind people”. In our culture today as it was in theirs, people who don’t think they are sick, aren’t looking for a cure.
Paul said ” Now, we see through a glass, darkly. But then we will see face to face “. It’s this impaired vision that has my attention. I say, as many others who are Christ followers also say ” I was blind, but now I see ” and I think we do see to a degree. I now see enough to know that my vision is severely impaired. I don’t even know what I don’t know. Another verse says ” when the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness “. When you think you’re right ( when you’re not ) you’re confidence in your own ” rightness” becomes your hindrance to seeing the truth !
When the healed blind guys leave ( which is crazy in itself ) a “dumb” guy shows up. It’s possible he has never spoken a word. Every now and then I say something that makes everyone think I’m stupid. With a little luck I can repair the damage and resume my position as “averagely intelligent “. But this man was assumed “stupid” everyday of his life. Not an easy burden to bear. Trapped in his own prison of speechless thought and endless judgement. Jesus wastes no time with “small talk”, He throws out the evil spirit and the healed man starts talking up a storm. He hears his own voice for the very first time. The Kingdom comes: Grace, Mercy, Healing & Forgiveness. Where death was reigning, Life begins again. Jesus gets a standing ovation ! The crowd proclaims “never before has anything like this happened in Israel ! ” He also leaves Jesus.. and against instruction tells everyone what has happened to Him. Of course he does. If he went back to his home and his people and didn’t say a word that would truly be outside the realm of human understanding. When we are truly healed, we proclaim it.
Its strikes me in this whole story that the greatest detour-ant to being healed of blindness and dumbness in our culture and times is a complete lack of awareness to our own disease. I think how in my own life as a “Christian ” I lived for decades in a self deceived state of ” I am not perfect, but I am ok “. The inner fruitlessness of my life in so many ways should have been the clue to me that something was wrong. I couldn’t see it. Blind and dumb. Here is what I think is happening all the time. We hear or over hear that there is ” something ” going on. Something great is happening. People are being healed !! But most of us don’t think we are sick, so we blow it off. Most of this is going on at the sub-conscience level. We classify ourselves and others. We do so to our own peril. It’s this unrecognized impaired vision that I want healed. But it’s a costly procedure. The first part of the treatment requires earnestly asking God to show you who you really are. A scary and painful request. A deep look in the mirror and choosing not to look away. Without fail, you will see your disease. But at the same time you will see your Healer…. Jesus. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. The heartbreaking reality of seeing your disease is the first step into the light. Its the staying in and walking in that light that brings you to the healer….Jesus. Yes, you will see yourself as you really are and that will indeed be painful.. but with this “eye opening awareness” of your true current state you will see the beauty of His forgiveness and Love for you. This kind of forgiveness is pictured in the living example of Mary Magdalene ( the once demon possessed prostitute ) clinging to Jesus after He was resurrected. Her sin exposed, her demons removed, relationship to God restored, her heart and mind healed and the resulting expression of true adoration. Mary M. kneeling at Jesus feet is the picture of 20/20 vision in a world blind to it’s own disease. This kind of living visual representation of healing and clinging seems to be missing in our modern western church. It exists, but its hidden from view. But the truth remains the same. I believe Jesus is still healing blind and dumb people everyday, everywhere. He is healing me. Anyone who hears the crowd and follows.. stumbling along and into the home of Jesus saying “Jesus, I am blind, will You heal me ?” will hear Him respond: Yes !
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