Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Let’s face it, there are people in our life that are just nuisances. They stop us in the hallway when we are late for an important meeting. They call us as were sitting down to eat. They interrupt us on vacation, ask things of us that seem presumptuous and generally irritate us. Like the blind man at the side of the road in Jericho, they are a distraction to the more important things in life. When our schedules are full, our goals are challenging and our time is limited, we go through life with blinders on. And as we do, the last thing we want is someone calling out our name from the side of the road. Someone who is needy. Someone who will demand our time, our energy and a little of our self. Can we really afford to stop and serve? Can we allow people to take bites out of our schedule like this? Can’t we imitate the disciples who told this man to shut up?
To me, the key to this text from Luke 18 is the last sentence. “And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” Think back to your day yesterday. Can you identify something you did that resulted in people giving praise to God? You probably didn’t heal any blind people yesterday, but that is not the point. The result of Jesus’ healing touch was not only recovery of sight, but a changed life that transformed a blind man into a follower of Jesus. And all who saw it joined him in glorifying God.
We live in a culture that is spiritually blind. There are people moving around us on every side who in desperate need of the healing touch of the Savior to open their eyes. He uses us in our daily walk to be his hands and feet for this work. When we take the time to stop, engage, challenge, love, and invite, we have the opportunity to see the blind receive their sight. When they do, their new life will inspire those around them to give praise and thanks to God. Now that’s a pretty great way to spend our day.
I believe we could look back over the last week and to see spiritually blind people who have called out to us from the side of the road. They are there all around us if we will have ears to listen. When the Holy Spirit allows us to hear them, he will give us the courage and conviction to stop, love them and share with them the words that can open their eyes and set them free.
When Jesus heard the man crying to him from the side of the road, Luke tells us that “he stopped.” What will stop you today? What words will cause you to turn your head, look in a new direction and engage?
I believe we would be amazed and ashamed if we could be led to see the number of opportunities we encounter each day to impact the lives of the people around us. We don’t need to wait and look for an “open door” – which usually means someone literally needs to beg us to tell them about Jesus before we dare utter a word. So here is the challenge. Pray that today God would give you the courage to share your faith with one person. That’s right, ask God to let you hear someone in your life calling from the side of the road out of their spiritual blindness. Ask God for an encounter where you can be used by God to open someone’s eyes and set them free. Be careful, because if you pray it, he will do it. So trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to give you the words to say at the right moment. Unless you pray this prayer, you will never hear this cry for help. Once you do, and when you respond, you will realize the joy that comes when the blind see and everyone around them gives praise to God.
Gracious Lord, I thank you that when I cried out to you in my need and in my pain you heard me, called me to yourself and healed me. When you found me, I was that blind man at the side of the road. Thank you for your love and compassion for me. And now you call me to live in this world as you did. Lord, I am intimidated by the thought of sharing my faith with the people in my life. I know so many people who are spiritually blind, but I have never heard them asking to receive their sight. I know it is because I have never listened. Or perhaps at times I have even asked them to be quiet. Forgive me for that Lord. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and so by the power of your Holy Spirit I ask that you would give me eyes to see and ears to hear the opportunities you bring into my life every day. Help me be a blessing to others and share with them the freedom that I have in you. In the name of Jesus Christ, the one who sets us free. Amen.