As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!’ 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.
Sitting by the roadside sounds so passive, so helpless. I suppose they were there to beg, dependent on other people’s generosity, trying to catch the crowds of folk who would be going into or leaving Jericho. Even so, they’re firmly connected to what is going on, and when Jesus comes by they know about it – and who he is. Which is more than a lot of the folk around them. Maybe it’s years of having folk walk on by as they beg that gives them the courage and tenacity to keep shouting. Even when told bluntly to shut up.
And they are rewarded when Jesus asks for them to be brought to him. He gives them his full attention, treats them and their needs with respect, and gives them what they ask.
I wonder how quickly we give up when our prayers aren’t answered the way we want? Can we find reassurance and encouragement in this passage to keep shouting for Jesus’s attention to our needs? And when he answers our prayers, do we trot off back into our own lives – or like the two men in this story, do we respond by following him?
Loving, caring Lord Jesus, Help us trust that you hear all our prayers, Know and respect our needs, And will always answer with whatever is best for us And in line with your loving and holy will. Enable us to persist, trustingly, in prayer. Amen.
Dorothy Courtis, lay preacher and elder, Wortwell Chapel