Jesus is moving towards Jerusalem and all the events of next week. He is approaching Jericho and a blind man sitting by the side of the road, hears the crowd passing and asks what’s happening. “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” How poetic.
Jericho is where the Israelites entered the Promised Land. Perhaps you remember the song, “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho…and the walls came tumbling down…crash.” As kids we loved to sing it. Rahab, the harlot, hid the spies whom Joshua sent, followed instructions and her family was saved in that battle. Now centuries later, not Joshua but Jesus is passing and a man who is physically blind pleads for mercy when he hears about Jesus’ passing. Physical blindness and spiritual blindness seem to meet by the roadside. The man, while blind, is not deaf or stupid. When he hears the news, he ignores the shhhhushing of the crowd and yells out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” He uses a royal title and asks for a royal gift – mercy and his vision. He knows who Jesus is and he knows who he is, blind.
Today we do not need to sit by the side of the road and wait until someone tells us Jesus is passing. He is here with us. In the midst of the crowd ushering Jesus on his journey, Jesus heard the cry of the man by the side of the road! It is so easy to think God must be focused on Ukraine or the Middle East or the sick or the hearts of kings he holds in his hands, but this little story reminds us that Jesus is not just that guy born in Nazareth but he is the “son of David,” our Lord. He hears our cries.
So what do we want? Stuff? Or is our plea for mercy and sight? As we start our day today with prayer, imagine yourself sitting by the side of a road or freeway. Problems are flying through your life but Jesus is standing there asking, “What do you want me to do for YOU?” Blessings as you enter that conversation with him. That blind man saw, praised, and followed. We are following Jesus into Holy Week next week. May this be a special time for all of us so that we see more clearly and love more dearly. Blessings!