In the pages of the Bible, and especially in the Gospels, Jesus interacts with people with disabilities and infirmities frequently. One such instance is contained in Luke 18:35-43. In this portion of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus encounters a blind man on the road near Jericho. At first glance, the people around the blind man appear to be helpful. When he asks about the crowd passing by, they explain, “‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’” (Luke 18:37). However, when he raises his voice to cry out for Jesus’ mercy, those around him chastise and belittle him, “telling him to be silent” (Luke 18:39). I love what the man does next. Instead of allowing his voice to go unheard, he repeats his cry, louder. Of course, Jesus did not need the man to raise his voice or even to cry out in the first place; He knew where the man was and what He needed.
Oftentimes, I think we can be like the crowd: initially “helpful,” but when it comes to helping a second time around or someone else getting in the way of something we want, become hostile. The people around us then become an obstacle to getting what we want (or so we think). We need to learn to push other people to the front, to call them close as Jesus did with the blind man. And we also need to learn to allow people to advocate for themselves when they can.
The blind man desired for Jesus to hear his voice, but the people around him tried to drown him out. Fortunately, he had a Savior who didn’t need to hear him to know him. Jesus stops in His tracks to talk to the blind man. He draws him near, no longer allowing him to be blocked by the discouraging crowd in front of him. Although the blind man cannot see Jesus, Jesus sees the blind man. He not only sees him physically, but He also sees the condition of his heart and his pain. Instead of immediately restoring his sight to him, Jesus asks the blind man what he wants. He listens to his desires, “‘Lord, let me recover my sight’” (Luke 18:41), and afterward, He tells him, “‘Recover your sight; your faith has made you well’” (Luke 18:42). Jesus provides a physical healing here, yes, but more than that, He is providing a spiritual healing. He does this through the gentle way He interacts with the blind man, allowing him to explain his desires and wants and drawing Him close. The man, “recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God” (Luke 18:43). This is the ultimate purpose in the man’s physical healing: the glorification of God.
The blind man is filled with a deep joy and a desire to glorify God for bringing him this healing. This miracle has a ripple effect: as others see this man worshipping, it leads them to praise the Lord as well. We all could be more like the blind man, sharing our joys and experiences with Christ with the world. But we could also be more like those who saw the miracle and praised the Lord for it as well. I leave you with this question to reflect on this week, “How can we listen to the stories of others around us and allow the goodness of God in Christ in their stories to pull us into a deeper worship of the God of grace?”