Blind visionaries

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If Jesus were asking you, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, how would you respond?

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Bible passage: Matthew 20:29–34

Two Blind Men Receive Sight
 29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Seeing Jesus?
We’re told that a large crowd followed Jesus (v 29). Presumably, they all enjoyed good eyesight; but did they ‘see’ who Jesus really was?

Clarity of vision
In contrast, consider the two blind men. They lacked sight, but enjoyed clarity of vision, for they hailed Jesus with the Messianic title ‘Son of David,’ and pleaded for ‘mercy’ (v 30). Physical blindness hadn’t blinded them to the truth of who Jesus was (the Messiah) and what he was able to do (grant mercy and healing). What are the things that blind us from seeing who Jesus really is? What keeps us from believing that he is not merely able, but eager and willing, to help us (as evidenced by his compassionate question in verse 32)?

Blurring faith
The song goes, ‘I can see clearly now the rain is gone…’ (Johnny Nash). But while the rain is still pelting down, our vision tends to grow hazy. Storms and setbacks in life have a way of blurring faith and dulling hope. Not so for these men. Although their physical disability is aggravated by opposition from this large crowd, they persist in crying out to Jesus with even greater passion (v 31).

Tanya Ferdinandusz


It’s possible to think we’re following Jesus because we are part of the crowd. The crowds merely physically ‘followed’ Jesus (v 29), but the blind men ‘saw’ who Jesus really was and became true followers (v 34). Are you a follower who can truthfully affirm that you ‘live by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7)?

Deeper Bible study

Jesus and the pilgrim crowds were continuing their journey to Jerusalem. They passed through the ancient city of Jericho, with its palms and springs, and were preparing for the arduous ascent to Jerusalem. Luke tells us that Jesus steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). There was purpose in his journey. It was not just for Passover; it was the very reason he had come to earth – the climax of his life. Jesus would not be deflected from his destiny, so were these two blind men going to hold him up? He had a long day of uphill walking ahead. Some of us focus more on tasks than people. Jesus achieved the perfect balance between the two.

The crowd had no patience, but these blind men would not be put off. Against the odds, they took this, the only opportunity of their lives. Their cries increased in volume the more people tried to silence them. Their perseverance showed their faith in this Messianic Son of David. They pleaded for mercy, but when questioned, were quite specific, ‘Lord, we want our sight’ (v 33). The text says Jesus had ‘compassion’ (v 34). This term is never used of human concern. It is divine compassion for troubled people. Even in the midst of his own crises Jesus always had compassion on those in need (eg John 19:26,27; Luke 23:42,43). Immediately, they received their sight and followed him, which probably indicates that they became his disciples (Mark 10:52).

Was this encounter an interruption, or a divine appointment? To get the right balance between the tasks we have to perform and our Jesus-like compassion for people, requires wisdom and sensitivity to the leading of God’s Spirit. We cannot meet every need, but love for neighbour makes demands on us, which we must not deny (Luke 10:25–37). It may be the only opportunity those people have.

Sylvia Collinson

Lives transformed

These verses are full of narrative incident but also of practical lessons and examples:

• The blind men were persistent in their requests. Despite the discouragement of the crowd, and the first cry apparently being unheard, they went on. We should not give up (see Luke 18:1–8). This is not about manipulating God but about demonstrating that we are serious.

• They recognised the power and authority of Jesus as Messiah (v 30). In our multi-faith world, do we hold strongly to the unique nature of Jesus as God’s chosen one?

• They knew what they wanted. It’s important to be clear and specific in our prayers.

• They knew that they deserved nothing. In a world which insists on rights, to recognise that all that we have comes from the grace and mercy of God is not easy (see 2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:13).

• Once healed, they follow. Following is a key concept in the Gospels. Jesus calls the disciples to follow (see Matthew 4:19). This is a call to become his disciples. Disciples are those who spend time with the rabbi, listening, debating, imitating, learning. This is what following in its fullest sense implies. Are we followers with all that this means, or just hangers-on?
• Jesus acts, as so often (see Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; Mark 1:41), out of compassion – a deep, gut-wrenching identification with the pain of the individual. This is a mark of God’s deep love for his world, a love which he asks us to share.
John Grayston

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Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)
John Newton (1725-1807)
John P Rees (1828- 1900)
Edwin O Excell (1851-1921)
Arr. & add. chorus Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio
Copyright © 2006 Songs/sixsteps Music/
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Lord I come
Geraldine Latty
Copyright © 2000 Thankyou Music
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  • Alan Pang | Tuesday, 14 August 2018

    Lord, I too want my sight, What does it take to see with spiritual eyes?

  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Alan, for you, me, and for all of us, I pray that the Lord Jesus will flood our hearts with His light, enabling us to see the hope, the riches and the power that are ours in Him. (Ephesians 1:17-20) Praying today too for all whose vision is blurred with the torrential rain of their circumstances. May that light pierce the darkness and assure them (you) of his gut-wrenching compassion, understanding and care for you.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    I heard a blind lady say that she was glad she couldn't see with her eyes because it meant she couldn't judge people by the colour of their skin or the clothes they wear or how they look. It reminds me of these two men. Remember Jesus said to Peter 'On you I'll build my church' That's the spiritual sight we long for where we too no longer see people in the natural. I think it starts by seeing ourselves as God sees us for He has made us absolutely righteous, profoundly justified and inexpressible pure. See ourselves like that in the spirit and it'll help us see others in the same way.

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    When true sight has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ, the world looks so different; we look up into the face of Jesus. It is His compassion for everyone around that encourages our discipleship and the ‘things of the world grow strangely dim in the light of his beauty and grace.’ Amen. When the way ahead seems blocked then we can call out and listen for Jesus to ask “What do you want me to do for you?”

  • Richard Page | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Thanks WL staff and commentators for continuing biblical teaching and Spirit-filled comments, they have been so much support wisdom and encouragement through my personally difficult times following my oesophagectomy for cancer this May. I have just started my second (of 6) course of chemotherapy, quite traumatic but necessary for a complete cure, for which my family, church and friends are faithfully praying. Thanks to all, but most of all thanks to our Lord Jesus, who as in today's passage DOES answer our prayers, particularly the ones which would seem most obvious for us to ask!

  • Jack Russell | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    My request to Jesus would be "Lord have mercy" and then leave him to do what he chooses. The deepest needs that I have are frequently ones that I am not consciously aware of and it's only circumstances that come up at times that bring awareness to such things even being a need. I have learned from others that I can give more than I can give which then leads to me experiencing frustration, resentment and compassion fatigue. I was brought up with the "children obey parents" but not so much the "Parents don't frustrate your children". Habits can be hard to break and authorities, systems and structures whilst needed for a functioning thriving society come with hierarchies and with hierarchies comes tyranny. The challenge in participating with recovery of sight for the blind (including spiritual insight) and to enabling release from oppression is to ensure that in doing so, you don't then become a blind tyrant yourself.

  • Angus Paterson | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    There is no doubt Richard that the same Jesus who heard the voice of the 2 blind men ,and had compassion on them, and healed them , has not changed, He is the same yesterday/today/and forever.He sees and hears you crying out to Him in your current situation,He stops at your door to listen,He has the same compassion, and power, to rebuke the disease in your body and we come along side you this morning as loving members of Gods family asking Him to touch you and totally heal you and make you continually aware of His everlasting arms underneath you as you go through your chemotherpy , may the side effects be totally suppressed

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    I love this daily, concentrated time of focus on the Word Of God. Time and again, Jesus sets the prisoner free. These two were given so much more than sight! They joined the disciples and went forward. The Lord who did that has given so much to me, but I rely on Him too, because I try too much to do things in my own strength. Richard, thank you for being up front with your illness. Going through it, knowing that it is a refiner's fire, is all very well, but even in the hottest fire, we know there is another in the furnace! That's the witness of Shadrach,Meshaw and Abednego

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Fat finger again! Apologies to the three in the burning fiery furnace!

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Perhaps I should pray for a slim finger!

  • Ken Sykes | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete---as complete as God's knowledge of me. (1Co 13:12) - Bring it on Lord!!

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    I have just watched on my News channel the horrific collapse of the bridge in Genoa Italy and heard the voice of a man shouting to God. Oh Lord you are there, comfort the suffering and help the dying, be with all those who are calling out to you.Jesus pitied our case, and he died for our race,To save a lost world he was slain;But he rose and now lives, and his pardon he gives Unto all who will call on his name.

  • Ruth Lewis | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    ANGUS, I will agree with you in Prayer for Richard. I know God is a healer and we as His children, in obedience to Him live by faith and not by sight, as it says in 2nd Corinthians 5:7. I truly have had to do this about a month ago when my daughter Christina who is 38 years old had a heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital where her heart stopped. The precious nurses and doctors worked on her to get it started again. I live about 14 hours away in a car and needles to say I couldn't rush there. We waited and Prayed in faith. My 2 older sons were there and kept in contact with us by cell phone. The Lord answered our prayers and they were able to bring her back. She was in the hospital about 3 weeks and she has been home now for 2 weeks, and will be home for another week if her heart doctor deems it necessary. While in the hospital they put a defibrillator in her heart.She has lupus also. In the Bible, Luke 8v48, Jesus told the lady with the issue of blood "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." I kept hearing those words of Jesus, and it made me push the doubt out of my mind as it tried to seep in. I knew it was the devil trying to shake me lose from my faith, but as scare as I was, I wasn't given in to fear. She was my baby daughter, but she was also God's daughter too. There were so many people praying for her that gave me confidence that all of our prayers would be answered. God answered our prayers!!! There is Power in Prayer with it's partner faith.

  • Ruth Lewis | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    RICHARD, My daughter in law had breast cancer. Notice I used the past tense Had. She had to go through the routine with the chemotherapy and all, but after all of the treatments she went through, the cancer is gone. She is back teaching school to the little children. Again, there were so many people praying the prayer of faith that the devil couldn't get his foot in to discourage us. We remained in faith. He is the exact same God that healed the blind men and the Lady in Luke. "Be it done to you according to your faith"!!! I know the WL family will be praying for you!!!

  • Shona McLennan | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Amen, ANGUS.

  • Ruth Lewis | Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    ALAN, It takes faith. Heb.10 v 38 says “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” There is another Scripture in Hebrews that says, "without faith we cannot please God'. Then we have my favorite one in Hebrews 11v1. I named my oldest daughter from that Scripture, Faith!!! I already had 4 sons and really didn't want anymore

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