Monday, February 8, 2016

The Beggar

Luke 18:35-43

There is a man sitting at the edge of a busy road. He is blind, and begging; begging for money, begging for food, begging to be noticed. He hopes that someone will show pity. Not many do.
Then he hears a rustle in the distance. His ears are attuned to the subtle nuances, the quiet symphony of footsteps, wind dances, and tiny motions all around him that other people miss. But this sound is growing and approaching. There are many footsteps and jubilation. A parade? He asks, calls out, “What is going on?” Someone has compassion and obliges his question. “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by” they answer (Luke 18:37).

He recognizes that name. He knows the power behind it. He has heard the stories of healings, of the sick cured, the deaf given back their hearing, the lepers made clean, and the blind able to see. He yells out. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 39).
The people in the crowd, those leading the procession, hear him. “Quit your yelling!” they say. “Don’t you know an important person is coming?” The bothersome beggar in the dirt is cramping their style. They have no qualms rebuking him. He is an annoyance, like hundreds of others, a nobody.
But the beggar disregards their requests. “He shouted all the more” (v. 39). He is focused on one person and one person only: Jesus. He is coming. He is walking right by the beggar’s insignificant inch of highway real estate.
“Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 39) he wails. “Shut up, man!” the crowd answers back. “Have some respect! We don’t have time for your nonsense!”
But the crowd is suddenly halted, because Jesus stops. He stops and looks, he is searching, intent on locating…something, but what? He hears the man, the blind beggar. In the midst of the pomp and circumstance he hears, and he stops, mid-step, interrupting the important proceedings and the rushing forward motion of the crowd. He stops, and stills, and listens. And the man continues to plead, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus, the mercy-maker, does.
“Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord I want to see,’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God” (vv. 42-43).
 The blind man’s yelling turns to open-eyed praise. The people’s scorn, chastisement and words of rebuke, turn to praise too, because they glimpse the miracle first-hand. They see Jesus’s character; witness his heart and the true focus of his ministry. Jesus hears the humble; he cares for the weary, has mercy on the rejected, heals the hurting, and fills those with empty hands.

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