SOMETHING ABOUT JERICHO
Almighty God, creator of the world in which I live, builder of the church through which I serve, I give you praise.
Read MATTHEW 20:29–34
Two Blind Men Receive Sight
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Trust God to open our eyes to see and have mercy on all who are in need.
Some thirteen to fifteen centuries before Joshua Messiah (Jesus Christ), Joshua son of Nun came to Jericho and God destroyed the Canaanite inhabitants.1 Ultimately, Joshua seized the land and Israel took up residence. Now, the new Joshua is in town. He is en route to destroy the work of the forces of evil.2 He will not do this by destroying Romans and subjugating sinners by force, but by himself being destroyed at the hands of the ruling imperial powers, the Jewish elite and Rome. He performs no demonstrations of power as he approaches, enters and continues on his way. He does not go to Herod Antipas’ salubrious winter palace in Jericho and confront the puppet king. He carries on toward Jerusalem with throngs anticipating the moment he will liberate the nation from the Gentiles.
His relentless path to the cross is halted by two desperate blind men, crying out to the Lord and Son of David for mercy. Strangely, they know his identity and his power to heal, not destroy. Impatient to get to Jerusalem and liberation, the crowd demands silence from these nobodies. Nevertheless, they will not be silenced and stop Jesus in his tracks. As with the wife of Zebedee earlier (v 21), he asks what they want from him. They plead with him to open their eyes – and Jesus accedes. Jesus is filled with a gut-wrenching compassion (splanchnizomai) and his touch enables their spiritual sightfulness to flower into physical sight. Despite there being no summons to do so, they become disciples and follow Jesus. We see how Jesus works. He came not to condemn, but to serve and restore.3 We are to be like the blind men, crying out for his healing touch and deciding to follow him. Empowered by his Spirit, we walk in his footsteps, making people whole.
Identify first with the blind men; cry out your requests to God. Identify now with Jesus; follow him along the way of healing.
Lord Jesus, I am reminded again that the values of the kingdom of God are counter-cultural. Your service to the seemly unworthy challenges me afresh as I seek to follow you.
1 Josh 5:13 – 6:27 2 1 John 3:8 3 John 3:17
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.