Saturday 12 November 2016

Bible Book:

“Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.” (vv. 32-34)

Matthew 20:17-34 Saturday 12 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 47


The healing of the blind men as Jesus prepares to enterJerusalem is no mere incidental occurrence. It is an allegory forwhat is happening to his disciples.

After Jesus had asked Peter who Peter understood Jesus to be,and Peter had said that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus had spokenabout his suffering and death (Matthew 16:15-21; 17:22-23; (and part of today'spassage) 20:17-19). Jesus did not want the disciples tomisunderstand what his Messiahship meant. Even though they couldsee by his teaching and his miracles and his authority that Jesuswas the Messiah, they nevertheless had a blind spot. Byconcentrating on the promises in the long-term (eternal) future,they were incapable of seeing what this meant in the short term forJesus (and them).

This blind spot is evident by the disciples' reaction to theevents on the way to Jerusalem and their misunderstanding of Jesus'teaching. Peter tells Jesus that Jesus has got it wrong about hisdeath (Matthew 16:22). The disciples have tried toprevent children being blessed by Jesus (Matthew 19:13). They've seen riches as a proofof blessing by God (Matthew 19:23-25). They've been keen to knowwhat they will get out of following Jesus (Matthew 19:27). And now James and John have puttheir mother up to asking for a special favour (verse 21). Theothers' anger about this (verse 22) indicates that they still havethe same desires for precedence despite all that Jesus has taughtthem (see Matthew 18:1-4). They should not see themselvesas rulers, but as slaves - having a status perhaps even less thanthat of a child (verse 27). A slave only had value for how he orshe could serve others, and Jesus indicates the service to which hehimself submits (verse 28).

Despite all that Jesus has said the disciples are quite blind tothe reason they are going to Jerusalem! It is not only Jesus whowill suffer - his disciples will also share in the "cup" (ofsuffering) which he is about to drink (v. 22).

If only the disciples could be like the blind men who also seeJesus as the Messiah, the "Son of David" (v. 30). The men ask fortheir eyes to be opened, that they may see Jesus as he truly is,and may follow him. And why does Jesus touch their eyes? Because hehas pity and compassion (and anger!) on those who are blind andneed to see clearly.

To Ponder

  • What do you think might be the blind spots of the disciples ofJesus today?
  • Jesus only heals the blind man when they actually tell him whatthey need. What do you think this says about why God doesn'tautomatically sort the world out?
  • What does this passage say to you about what a disciple iscalled to do and be?

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