When Jesus began his public ministry in his hometown of Nazareth, he defined God’s agenda in a quote from Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind.” (Luke 4.18)
Jesus answered John the Baptist’s questions with these words: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” (Luke 7.22).
Jesus, have mercy on me!
As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, a blind man was hopeful that he would be included in the throngs of people who were healed by Jesus.
— Luke 18.35-39 – As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
These four verses are filled with important truths, concerning God’s relationships with humans.
(1) Faith and Hope: The beggar’s heart must have leaped with hope when he heard that Jesus was passing by.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he was not to be denied.
The old hymn describes the desire and hope of the beggar, and also of countless millions over the centuries.
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
An encounter with Jesus will transform everything in our lives.
(2) A Perfect Prayer: The prayer of the beggar has been incorporated by the Orthodox Church in what is called the “Jesus Prayer.”
The “Jesus Prayer” stems from the prayer of the beggar, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” It combines the words of the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18.13).
The form of the “Jesus Prayer” that I use is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
When I don’t know what to pray, which is often, I use the “Jesus Prayer” to express my heart-attitude toward God.
I also frequently end my day before sleep by praying, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
(3) The Expendables: The people at the head of the line did not have time for blind beggars.
On January 9, 10 adults and 9 children died in a Bronx fire. At the same time, the drama of an unvaccinated tennis star and the death of a famous actor took place.
For a day or two the “expendables,” the victims of the Bronx fire were in the news. By my calculations, the tennis star and the actor received far more television air time.
The powerful persons at the head of the line may have been some of Jesus’ 12 disciples. No matter who they were, they wanted the beggar out of the way.
Like the little children (Luke 18.15-17), this man was seen as a loud nuisance.
Stop the Parade
The beggar was not expendable to Jesus. Readers of Luke’s Gospel can anticipate Jesus’ reaction, given the way Jesus welcomed marginalized persons throughout his ministry.
— Luke 18.40-43 – Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, let me see again.”
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
The act of healing enabled the beggar to return to his community. Instead of staying in Jericho, the man became one of Jesus’ followers.
I believe that this man followed Jesus to Jerusalem. I think he was a part of everything that happened to Jesus in Jerusalem, the Day of Pentecost, and the birth of the church.
His faith allowed him to become a follower. His spiritual and physical sight was restored to the glory of God.
Please take a few minutes to listen to Rudy Ross and me talk about this slice of life from Jesus’ ministry. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.