The blind beggar, from the Gospel of Luke, is sitting, waiting, by the side of the road. He hears the hustle and bustle of a crowd. Though blind, he feels the presence of divinity, and asks what it means. He hears that Jesus of Nazareth, the hope of his salvation, is present here and now. So, he cries out begging from the depths of his being. He begs not for money, nor luxury, nor honors, but crying out, he begs for the Lord’s mercy. The blind man cries: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. The name Jesus means God saves. The title Son of David, refers to the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ, the king of Israel that would deliver His people from oppression. The petition, have mercy on me, is a call for pity, for healing, for transformation.
What faith this blind man has! He knows who Jesus is; he knows what Jesus can do; and he believes in Jesus’s power to completely and utterly change his life from blindness, from begging on the side of the road, to something new, something whole and healthy. If only we could see our own desperate situation: blind, begging, in need of spiritual healing and salvation. If only we had faith in this way, we too would cry out from the depths of our being, “Lord, have mercy on me.” Where would the faith of this blind man lead us?
Notice the members of the crowd. For whatever reason: inconvenience, annoyance, or selfishness; they try to silence the blind man’s cry for mercy, for healing, for salvation. The man knows he’s blind, he knows he’s a beggar, and he believes that the only means to his salvation is present right here and now. The blind man may not have another chance to receive his sight, and so he cries out all the more. He refuses to be silenced by the crowd.
Will we refuse to be silenced by the distractions of daily life? By our own lack of faith and spiritual laziness? By a “nothing matters attitude,” a culture of nihilism that says don’t bother praying, God doesn’t hear you, there is no hope for you, it doesn’t matter? Instead, let us be bold. Let us refuse to stop our prayer; let us refuse to give up hope for spiritual health; let us refuse to assume we can’t be made into a new creation: men and women and children of love and peace and joy. Where would the faith of this blind man lead us?
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