They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."Matthew 20:33(NASB)
Jesus had set his face as a flint to go to Jerusalem because He knew that the hour of His death had almost arrived. He was the Lamb of God, Who was to be both the Passover Lamb and the Sin Offering for payment for a fallen creation. He had an important appointment in Jerusalem, for He was to give His life as the ransom price for many, but His journey took Him through Jericho because He knew that two blind men needed the goodness and mercy He had to offer. He had come to open blind eyes, bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and give light to those who dwell in darkness. He had come as the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, and the Living Water of Life eternal.
A large crowd was following Jesus as He and His disciples passed through Jericho, en route to Jerusalem. As the excited crowd was leaving the city, two blind men who were sitting at the roadside, realised Who was passing by. No doubt they had heard talk of the Man from Galilee who had performed some amazing miracles. No doubt they had heard that some considered Him to be their long-awaited Messiah, and as they sat there in the prison walls of their own blind darkness, they must have realised this was their opportunity to be set free.
Maybe they were aware that this was the One of Whom it was said: "The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them." And so both men cried out and continued to cry, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us," even though the crowd told them sternly to be quiet. Maybe these men had hoped that one day this miracle worker would pass through their town. Maybe they had even rehearsed together what they would say to Him if He ever came to Jericho. And so on this momentous day, they both continuously cried out at the top of their voices, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
When Jesus heard their cry He stopped, stood still, and called to them and asked, "What do you want Me to do for you?" Jesus did not need them to tell Him of their need, He knows what we need before we ask Him, but the Lord wants us to admit our need to Him. He wants us to recognise our own inability and acknowledge our weaknesses before Him, for His strength is perfected in and through our weaknesses. He gives strength to the weary, not to those that rely on their own strength. And they said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."
Here were two men who recognised their need. Maybe they were simply speaking of their physical need, but maybe they understood that before them stood the promised Messiah of Israel, the Shepherd of the sheep Who would give to His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Maybe these men understood that here was the One Who would supply all they needed according to the riches of God's amazing grace, and Who would shine the light of the knowledge of God into their hungry hearts, guide their feet into the way of eternal peace, and open their eyes to see the truth of the knowledge of God: "So Jesus had compassion on them and touched the eyes of His two countrymen, and restored their sight."
Not only did these two blind men realise their need of Jesus, but they were willing to ask Him for what they needed, and to keep on asking. Maybe someone had told them about the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus said, "Ask, and keep on asking and it will be given to you." Maybe they understood the important principle that James would impress upon his readers, in the future: "You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason." Not only did these men recognise their need and asked for what they needed, but they took advantage of the situation in which they found themselves; they did not allow Jesus to pass by without calling out to Him for mercy and grace.
Jesus was making His final journey into Jerusalem, the City of David, to fulfil all that the prophets had spoken about Him. Here were two Jewish men who would cry out for mercy to 'Jesus, the Son of David' and feel the warmth of His merciful kindness. There is no question that God knows the heart, and the Father must have sent His Son to meet the need of the two blind, Jewish men who had come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Son of David, the King of Israel Who would save His people from their sin. And we read that when Jesus healed them, they too followed Him. I wonder if these same two Jewish men who received their sight would become two faithful witnesses to the truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that in Him are the words of eternal life.
Many people, both Jew and Gentile, remain in a spiritually blinded state since Israel rejected Christ's offer of the Kingdom and crucified their Messiah when He came to His own people, 2000 years ago. Today is the dispensation of grace when all who believe on the Lord Jesus will be saved. But a day is coming when God will finish the work He started through Israel, the scales will fall off many blinded, Jewish eyes, and Israel as a nation will cry out for their Messiah to save them, just as the two blind men in Jericho cried out to Jesus as He walked towards the Cross. Let us pray and keep on praying that God will open many eyes to the truth of the gospel of grace, and praise God that a day is coming when all Israel will be saved and call on the name of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the Bible, the wonderful truths it contains, and the many lessons that we can learn from its pages if we only have a teachable spirit and a desire to know You more. Open my eyes to the lessons You would teach me, and I pray that I would recognise my need of You and be humble enough to acknowledge my need and ask for Your mercy, grace, and help. Help me not to miss any opportunity to learn of You or to help others to come to a deeper knowledge of Jesus. Thank You that He was willing to go to the Cross on my account, and thank You that there is no one who is outside Your gracious offer of salvation. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.