Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 31 2013 - Matthew 20:29-21:22 – They received their sight and followed him

Matthew tells us of two blind men sitting by the roadside as Jesus passed by on his way to Jerusalem. Presumably these men took up this position daily so that they might beg for money or food from travellers going into or out of Jericho. They were always listening out for passers-by. On this day they heard a crowd coming out of the city. They must have begun to enquire what was going on from those on the fringe of the crowd and were told that Jesus was passing by. At this they began to shout for Jesus, the Son of David, to have mercy on them and nothing would persuade them to be quiet. The crowds found them an embarrassment and wanted to shut them up. But Jesus had time for them and asked them what they wanted him to do for them. They asked Jesus to give sight to their blind eyes. In response, "Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him" (Matthew 20:34).

The gift of sight enabled these men to follow Jesus. They no longer needed anyone to take them by the hand and lead them. Now they could see the road clearly. More than that, they could see Jesus and they did not want to let him out of their sight. So they followed him along with the crowd.

I’m intrigued by the story of these men. Did they continue to follow Jesus all the way up the steep and dusty road from Jericho to Jerusalem? Did they hear as Jesus sent off two of his disciples to fetch a donkey for him? Were they part of the crowd that accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem, stripping off their cloaks and laying them on the path before Jesus? Did they take delight in running off to nearby trees and cutting off branches to roll out a green carpet for his entrance into the Holy City? Did they lead the shouts of the crowds declaring, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Were they among the first to answer the question from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Who is this?” with their assertion, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”?

And where were they a week later when the crowds cried out for Jesus’ blood and even the closest of his disciples abandoned him and fled? What had they really seen in Jesus? How far were they prepared to follow?

And this is the question for us also: What do we see in Jesus and how far are we prepared to follow? Jesus is the glorious Saviour who fulfils all of the promises of Scripture, but he also confounds human expectations. He is the servant King who came to Jerusalem not as a warrior prince riding on a war-horse but ‘humble, and riding on a donkey’. His kingdom was to be established through his own rejection, pain and death: no cross, no crown; no cross, no kingdom. Nor does he promise that things will be easier for those who follow him. How far are we prepared to follow?

Lord Jesus, help me to see you clearly and to rejoice in your transforming power that has touched my life. Help me also to follow you closely, especially when the road is rough and steep like that from Jericho to Jerusalem. May you continue that good work that you have begun in me that I may not turn back but follow joyfully and faithfully until I enter the Holy City.

Peter Misselbrook