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Luke 18:35-43 – A Blind Man

As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem – the last leg of the journey to Jerusalem since Jesus began the journey in 9:27. A blind man is begging by the roadside who becomes aware of a crowd passing by. Upon hearing that it is Jesus of Nazareth, the blind man cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Amazingly this blind man begging beside the road is the first person since Gabriel in the nativity narrative to recognize Jesus as the son of David. His wisdom is evident in his knowing who Jesus is and knowing the correct response – crying out for mercy. While others simply see Jesus from Nazareth, he sees Jesus the Son of David. Sometimes a physically blind man sees with physically seeing people are blind.

Like Zacchaeus, whom Jesus will encounter in the next story, the blind man faces physical and social obstacles to encountering Jesus – and like Zacchaeus the blind man persists in seeking after Jesus. The blind man is rebuked as the disciples had rebuked those bring their children to Jesus. The careful reader though remembers that Jesus had on that occasion said that the kingdom belongs to those who are as little children – dependent. And could there be anyone more dependent than a blind man who needs to be led and begs?

The more he is rebuked the more he cries out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” – persistent enduring faith so valued by the Lord. Jesus stops for the blind man as he will stop for Zacchaeus. The blind man is given his sight. The now-seeing man responds to his new sight by following Jesus and glorifying God.

The previous periscope had Jesus speaking of his forthcoming passion (suffering to the cross). The disciples had not understood because it was hidden from their sight. The answer to spiritual blindness is to have one’s spiritual sight restored by Jesus. Jesus’ healing of the blind man is intended to be a sign that he is the one who does this work. As with the blind man, we cry out to the Son of David for mercy and having received our sight we follow the savior. In John Newton’s words: “I was blind but now I see.” If you see then thank the Lord and follow him.