Rev 1.1–4; 2.1–5 Psalm 1 Luke 18.35–end
Today’s gospel reading is an account of the last day a beggar had to endure blindness.
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
I wonder how many opportunities God places before us? Although blind, the beggar (probably called Bartimaeus – see Mk 10:46) was using his other senses to recognise that there was a buzz in the air. Have we got our ears and eyes open to the possibility of an encounter with God? Although the crowd told him it was Jesus of Nazareth, he announced that it was Jesus, son of David. This proclamation was few and far between in the gospels. The authorities hadn’t seen Jesus as the promised Messiah, David’s greater son. Yet this blind beggar on the road (probably between the old and new Jericho), was more perceptive than those sighted people around him.
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Not only was he perceptive, but he was persistent. He wasn’t going to be quiet when the King of Glory passed by. The lesson here is to not let others get in your way of proclaiming Jesus’ rightful place. As we start a series on Sundays on the kingdom of God, remember the true King.
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
The next quality the beggar demonstrated was his petitioning. If asked by Jesus today, “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you ask? A friend of mine used to say, “Be careful what you ask for as you might just get it!”
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
As a result of his faith, he received from God; and his first act was to follow him praising. If Jesus grants us our prayer requests, will we use them to follow him and praise? So, what might you say if Jesus says to you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” The answer will reveal what is in your heart. Such grace to have our saviour promise us, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son”, John 14:13. So be careful what you ask for, it must be in his name and have the potential to bring glory to God. How about sharing God’s answers to your prayer with St. John’s? Then we might follow up with, “When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”
Help us to be aware of your presence, power and protection in our fallen world. Help us to be persistent in prayer and praise, and even if you do not answer in the way we had hoped for, increase our faith and trust in you today. Give us the heart to petition you for mercy on our troubled world, that we and those witnessing your power at work, praise you. We ask in the precious name of Jesus,