26 November 2011Matthew 20:29-34
"Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" (v. 30)
This passage is a brilliant example of Jesus and his complete
power, as well as his complete compassion for the men involved. It
tells us that these blind men are not on their own - there is also
a large crowd of people passing around them as Jesus goes past. We
can recognise the situation where they cry out for help from Jesus,
but the crowd don't consider their problems worthy enough for Jesus
to be concerned. Whether Jesus hears them shout, or notices the
crowd rebuke them, or simply senses that they are there and in
need, he ignores the crowd's protests and asks the men what they
are hoping for. They respond in a fairly general way with the
request to have their eyes opened, and Jesus takes this in the
literal sense, giving them sight, which they then use to follow
Jesus with the rest of the crowd.
It's a great story, partly because of its simplicity: men cry out, Jesus hears their requests, and does exactly what they ask. No need for further discussion then? Well, perhaps not, but I think we can learn something by again putting ourselves in one of the three possible roles in this drama. We can think of the men, who are so desperate and in need that they lose all inhibitions and won't be shouted down. Also, we can consider the crowd, who believe that they understand what Jesus wants without ever engaging with him. And finally, Jesus himself, who in plain terms, asks for clarity of the request, and deals with it equally straightforwardly.
This gives us one negative, and two positive examples:
- These men who are suffering know that it is only God himself who can help them, and so they do everything they can to speak to God. They don't worry about how they look, or about finding other solutions; they head straight for the top.
- The crowd assume that they understand it all, but miss the point entirely.
- Jesus never assumes anything about someone, but listens and then acts.
For me, these are real lessons in prayer; examples of what
to do, and what not to do, and how we can be expected to be dealt
with; being open to Jesus who always listens. On this occasion the
men are granted their request, but even when we are not given what
we hope for, we must be aware that Jesus has listened above all
other noise, and made the correct decision.
What do you hope for when you pray?
Are we interceding before God with the correct expectations? If not, what do you think our expectations should be?