“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.” – Luke18:35-39.
Several chapters after the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son, there is a story of a blind beggar in Luke chapter 18. (Luke 18:35-43)
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. He wondered what all the commotion was all around him. Someone told him that Jesus was going by. The beggar was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of His fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah. The challenge was getting the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as He made his way out of town. The text does not say this, but these were not helpless, feeble cries for help. The beggar was loud and insistent, so much so that the crowds became annoyed with his emotional outburst. Instead of helping him, they rebuked him and told him to shut up. They didn’t want him disturbing the status quo.
What would we have done if we were there that day? There is so much hurt, pain and suffering in this world, that we can become anesthetized. We keep our focus on where we are going and not on all the people who are hurting around us. We’ve all got important things to do, and let’s face it, keeping my head above water and providing for my family takes most of my energy and focus. I simply can’t worry about a beggar yelling on the side of the road. He is but one person in need on the road I am traveling.
At this point, Jesus was headed for Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. Within the next few days, He would face betrayal, arrest, torture, and crucifixion. Yet He stopped. Jesus Christ is never too busy. You may think that in the larger scheme of the entire universe you aren’t very important. But the fact is you are of such importance to God, that when you call out to Him, He pauses to help you. As we have talked about this week, every person matters to God.
What if Jesus did not hear the blind beggar? What if he walked by? What if he never met Jesus again? This was the day of his salvation. So he shouted and shouted. He found the words and the arguments. He wouldn’t be stopped. The people who told him to pipe down knew nothing of his guilt and need of forgiveness. These people knew nothing of the misery of the blind world in which he lived. He’d never seen the blue sky or the shining stars at night. He’d never seen the face of his mother. So why should he be silent because he was annoying everybody.
Do we hear the cries of the blind beggars in our lives? Do we have empathy? Are we willing to get involved because they matter to God and they matter to us?
- How well do we hear the cries of the beggars in our lives?
- What can we learn about the blind beggar’s faith by the evidence of his actions and his words?
- What do these stories tell us about approaching Jesus with our problems?
- What can we do this week to increase our passion for those far from the heart of God?