The Sighted Seek and Follow by Pastor Paul Becker
May 21, 2023 ~ Matthew 20:29-34
Look to Jesus and see Him the way two blind men saw Him. Our sermon series in Matthew continues, and we are nearing the time when Jesus will enter Jerusalem to willingly and lovingly offer Himself to God as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of God’s people. While on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples passed through Jericho. A crowd of people followed Jesus. Their motivations aren’t revealed in this story. Still, we can deduce from other stories that some people were attracted to His rising celebrity as a miracle worker and teacher or potential as a political figure against the Roman occupation. Two blind men heard that Jesus was approaching their station along the road upon which Jesus walked. They cried aloud to Jesus, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
Calling Jesus the “Son of David” was a profession of faith in Him as more than a miracle worker, teacher, or political figure. The blind men proved that they were spiritually sighted. Though physically blind, they saw Jesus as the promised Messiah of God’s Word in the Hebrew scriptures. The scriptures reveal that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David. Jesus declared in Revelation 22:16 that He is both the descendant AND root of David. Jesus pre-existed David. Jesus is outside of the confines of time. Jesus is God!
The crowd told the blind men to shut up, but they refused to comply because they knew God was near. The blind men shouted louder, “LORD, HAVE MERCY ON US, SON OF DAVID!” We live in a culture that demands compliance with its worldview and assertions about God, morality, and truth. As Christians, we are tempted to shout back at the world when it demands that we be silent. The blind men teach us two essential strategies: keep your focus on Jesus and cry out to Him more loudly. Be cautious about shouting back at the world.
Jesus directs His concern toward those who keep their focus on Him. In Jesus’ day, blind people were often reduced to begging. They were people to be pitied, forgotten, or treated as a nuisance. Unlike the crowd who dismissed the blind men, Jesus focused on them and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” His question was personal and direct. It dignified them as people having worth. And most importantly, his question acknowledged their professed faith in Him!
When burdened in body, mind, and soul, we must cry out loudly to Jesus. How do we do that? Certainly, we can cry out to Him in private prayer. But another way is offered to us in the counsel of God’s Word. In short, the Church is the bride of Christ. Scripture teaches that the groom and bride are one. In essence, the body of true believers is one with the presence of Christ. In practical terms, we are counseled by James in this way: Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14) Here is a sanctifying question to help us grow humbly in faith: When we are burdened in body, mind, and soul, can we abide in God’s counsel to ask for prayer and anointing?
Faith opens our eyes to see Jesus, focus on Him, and call out to Him in prayer and through the church. This is how the sighted follow Him.