Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
Bible Background: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all report Jesus healing one or more blind men. “Recovery of sight to the blind” (a quote from Isaiah 61) is part of Jesus’ inaugural sermon. He claims that as part of his mission. There are different healings, at Bethsaida, at Jericho, and the most interesting account in John 9.
Digging Deeper: 1. Loss of vision was a great hardship in the time of Jesus. There were plenty of causes, few options, and no real ‘safety net’. That God’s Servant (highlighted in Isaiah 61) would be able to give sight to the blind, was a greatly anticipated hope that Jesus would fulfill.
2. Jericho is the location of this scene: it’s between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and is truly a desert oasis town! It’s one of the oldest inhabited cities on earth.
3. There are two blind men sitting by the road (where beggars would sit). They cry out to Jesus for “mercy”. The crowd tries to shush them. They will not be silenced! Where the crowd does not show any compassion, Jesus does. Who are those who cry out today, only to be shushed by ‘the crowds’? Who is in need of compassion who isn’t getting it?
4. Jesus asks the two “What do you want me to do for you?” That may seem obvious. But the question allows them their ‘voice’. It is, after all their lives. The gift of sight would indeed be a wonderful thing! But it would also change (perhaps the only) way of life they had known! Jesus shows respect by not assuming he knows what they need. When we encounter people in need, are we tempted to rush to a solution? Or is their wisdom in taking time to hear their ‘story’ and how they see their needs or wants?
5. Jesus touches them. They are healed. They follow! (And by this time, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and to the cross…do they realize what they are getting themselves into?) Remember that blindness is still afflicting too many people around the world. Pray for efforts to preserve and restore sight, and that those efforts may reach all in need.
6. Typically on the 1st Sunday of Lent, we read the Temptation of Jesus from Matthew 4 or Luke 4. (That’s part of where we get the 40 days of Lent-which do not include Sundays in Lent! Each Sunday is still first and foremost a mini-celebration of Easter!) There’s a great article in Living Lutheran this month on what all this means.