The healing of the blind man is a quintessential story of healing in the Bible: it’s all there, and told with such simplicity, brevity, and yet comprehension. It makes a wonderful story to meditate on using the lectio divina.
Imagine that you are in first century Israel, living near Jericho, that city symbolic of God’s people entering into the Promised Land. Only the Promised Land for you is invisible and does not seem particularly flowing with milk and honey because you are blind. Because of the lack of economic opportunities present to you in that day, you are compelled to make your living by sitting by the side of the road and begging. You do this day after day, and every day is just the same as the last one. All you normally hope for is enough coins to be thrown your way so that you can eat that day.
But you have developed a keen sense of hearing, and today you hear a great multitude approaching. You don’t know what it means but you are excited because multitudes usually mean more coins and more food.
You ask, and someone has told you that it is Jesus of Nazareth passing by.
Jesus of Nazareth! You have heard the name and heard the wonderful things this man had done and taught. Jesus of Nazareth!
You don’t know what to expect, but you believe that this man can help you. You even dare to hope that He is the promised deliverer of Israel. You’ve heard he has healed others, and maybe . . . .
You cry out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
No response from Jesus. If fact, several people from the crowd tell you to be quiet. “Don’t disturb the Master. He has very important work to do today, and He is in a hurry to reach Jerusalem where some more important things must happen. Get out of His way!”
But this is not Jesus speaking. You don’t believe He would speak this way, and you cry out even more loudly, sensing your one opportunity for Him to touch you walking away.
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
You don’t even need to tell Jesus what you want. You know that He can see your blindness.
And then silence. The multitudes have gotten quiet. Why have they gotten quiet?
You sense a Presence near you in that silence, and then “What do you want me to do for you?”
It is Jesus, and you know that He can heal you if He desires to. Holding nothing back, you speak without hesitation, and yet still with a little frog in your throat. You want to yell it out so that no one can miss it, this your great burden, but it comes out a quiet and humble voice in spite of your deep desire. “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”
And then you hear: “Receive you sight; your faith has made you well.”
Many contradictory emotions compete within you to be the first one expressed, but they are all trumped by something stronger than them all.
You see a man standing before you. You see a Man standing before you and behind Him a multitude. You believed that God could heal you, you imagined it for years, but now that it has come, it is far more glorious than you had dared hope, and there is only one thing to do.
Without even thinking, in just a second after the shock of sight had seized you, you leap to your feet and stand beside Jesus, glorifying God for what He has done. You follow Jesus because all you want to do is to stay near Him and thank and praise Him all the days of your life. Others begin glorifying God, too, when they see what God has done for you.
It was worth the wait!
That is something like what the blind man’s experience may have been like. It’s good to enter into his life and try to feel and see what he must have felt and seen. But we must all go one step further and realize that this blind man’s healing was not only for his sake but for the sake of the multitude – and that multitude includes us.
In a very real sense, you are that blind man. Born blind at birth, you cannot see God. Though in the earth that God created good, you are like a blind beggar making a living from day to day but knowing that surely there must be more.
And then Jesus comes into your life, and you ask Him to restore your spiritual sight that you may see Him and be healed. Amazingly, He does just that!
The truth is that even after Jesus has restored our sight so that we may see Him again, we often begin to lose our sight (and other spiritual senses as well.) And so every day we must cry out to Jesus to come to us and heal us. Every day Jesus is walking by us, but too many times we don’t notice and don’t cry out for Him. And we slowly go back to being blind.
You are that blind man today, and you need again to beg for your Daily Bread and for whatever else it is that you know you should ask for. When Jesus comes your way today – and He will come, even if you don’t recognize Him – cry out to Him in faith. Ask Him to restore your sight once again so that you may see Him and know Him. Having heard your prayer of faith, He will heal you once again.
Point for Meditation:
1. In what ways are you spiritually blind and need the Master to heal you?
2. What things in your life require the Lord’s healing? Imagine yourself in His presence, asking for those things with humility and faith.
Resolution/Prayer: Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner! I know that I am still too blind and that I cannot see You the way I should. I ask You to restore my sight again this day and every day. As You visit me today, I cry out to you for my deepest need, knowing that You can heal me if You are willing. Lord, as You visit me with Your Presence and the hope of healing, let me not depart until I have remembered to glorify the Father and vow to give praise the remainder of this day.
© 2013 Fr. Charles Erlandson