35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (Luke 18:35-43)
The water in the shower is cold. My son is whining. My daughter is screaming. The car refuses to start. When it does start I get stuck in traffic. I finally get to work and my day is horrible. The weight of the world is on my shoulders. I receive sad news about a former student. News from home is troubling. News around the globe is even more troubling. My day is horrible. “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by”.
How often have I focused on my “suffering” or my bad day instead of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by? It takes the eyes of faith to see the face of Jesus in a bed-ridden grandmother; the wheel-chair bound teenager; the autistic child. Yet in the midst of heartache and brokenness is often where Jesus is found.
For some silly reason I assume that where Jesus is it must be neat and tidy. There must be sunshine and rays of light, not clouds and storms. Trumpets are playing instead of the moans of suffering. Pleasant odors abound, not body odor that smells like moldy French cheese. We forget that Nazareth was the moldy French cheese capital of the world. “Nothing good can come from Nazareth…can it…?”
Yet it is Jesus the Nazarene that is passing by. Perhaps this is why Barimaeus has such confidence. He not only believes that Jesus has the power to dispense mercy, He also has the gumption to believe that He will.
And this is where I show up with my hardened cynicism and lack of faith. The blind guy has no qualms about shouting out the name of Jesus and begging for healing. He is not ashamed. He is not afraid to tell Jesus what He wants and needs. But that annoys me. I want people that are neatly put together that quietly make their requests on tiny little index cards. I don’t like shouting. I certainly don’t like desperation. When faced with such desperation I respond with rebuke and a big fat shhhhh…!!! “Jesus is trying to speak, idiot, shut up with all your suffering and just listen you might learn something”.
The blind man is not deterred. He MUST have Jesus. He is ridiculously desperate and he is not ashamed of that fact. He is screaming for the help of Jesus.
I wonder what Jesus was like at this moment. What did his face look like? What was in His heart? Was He reluctantly healing the guy so that he would shut up and let Him get back to teaching? Is He annoyed by his request? Is Jesus uncomfortable with such desperate emotion?
Be honest do you really expect this to be His answer: “What do you want me to do for you”?
I want to see Jesus like this blind man saw Him. The blind man was not “blinded” by his inability to see. He was not lost in the midst of his suffering. The blind man saw Jesus. Jesus was passing by and the blind man caught a glimpse. He was so desperate and filled with unabashed hope that he could not shut up.
I want to be that guy. I am not that guy but I want to be him. I am not yet fully convinced of my desperation. I would wait until the crowd settled down and try to ask Jesus at a better time. I would mail in a prayer card. I would never risk being annoying in my asking of Jesus. But that is precisely what Jesus wants—annoying, desperate, persistent prayers that expect healing. It’s not wrong to expect Jesus to meet your needs—it’s wrong NOT to.