15 November 2010Luke 18:35-43
"Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.' Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God" (vv. 42-43)
Here is a well-known story, perhaps so well known that the
extraordinary insight into the grace of God and the courage of
human beings can be missed. Stop for a moment and wonder
Remember that blindness not only made life difficult for the person and indeed their family, but also was seen as a consequence of behaviour. People got what they deserved. Remember also that he wasn't just a blind man but someone who begged for a living because he was blind. His blindness was not only a difficulty he lived with, but also the only way he had to live. His begging was possible because of his lack of sight.
In the light of this, it is worth noticing how unhappy the crowd were with the man and his shouting. After all, he deserved his blindness and the misery of others is always embarrassing. In particular listen carefully to Jesus' question in verse 41, "What do you want me to do for you?" It might seem an obvious question, but it wasn't. Being a blind beggar must have been a hard enough life to lead. Being a healed blind beggar would be a lot harder and who would give a job to a man whose only skill was begging?
Given all this, the blind man's answer is wonderful, moving, brave and challenging - "Lord, let me see again" (verse 41). Jesus understands the cost of this answer, and knows that it is the man's faith that has made the change possible. It is a faith in an unseen future for a man who knows all about the difficulties of not being able to see. It is faith in a person who offers love and respect to another, someone at the bottom of the social heap, poor, dependent, sitting by the roadside of life. It is faith that letting go of certainties, certain only of the grace of another, will lead to good and not evil.
How do other people's desperate needs make us feel?
What do we want Jesus to do for us?
In Prisons Week, where might we be imprisoned but fearful of release?
For the courage to be made well; the patience to live with our difficulties; the grace to let others know what is best for them.