I’ve inadvertently been walking through the book of Matthew lately, around the place where Jesus gets ready to head to Jerusalem and be crucified. Yesterday was Jesus reminding the sons of Zebedee (and their mother) that in his kingdom, the first will be last and the last, first. I can see by the bold header that tomorrow is the day Jesus comes to Jerusalem as a King – aka, Palm Sunday.
Wedged in here were this morning’s 5 verses:
[box] As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 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!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.[/box]
Another healing story. They’re everywhere in the gospels. If Jesus wasn’t preaching or teaching, he was healing. A dead girl here, blind there. The lame guys at the pool. The one on the mat that interrupted his dinner party. Part of me wasn’t to surprised to read it and, honestly, my first instinct was not to give it so much thought.
Then I remembered how the Biblical writers didn’t toss out pithy blog posts, unlike yours truly. It was written with a purpose. Even more, things like time-order weren’t always the utmost priority. The way in which something was written gave it as much meaning as the words. So why would Matthew toss in this story, here, about a few blind dudes on the side of the road?
Was it about the place? They were leaving Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover. Because the feast was a big deal, I’m guessing was a large percent of Jericho was also making the trip. Was it about the timing? Right before the big feast. Between a major, major lesson on servanthood in the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ walk to his death.
Or was it his company? “The crowd” is referred to numerous times, even the subject of sentences. The Crowd followed him out of town and was the first to hush the men alongside the road. It was only after making a bigger scene that Jesus heard them and responded. He called over – so they weren’t close. I wonder if he could even see them.
Yesterday’s post stirred up all kinds of unintended thoughts and feelings. What I tried to say couldn’t be heard through the noise of healthcare, personal (or corporate) liberty and my love (and need) of the IUD. It was poorly done on my part. This morning’s reading is what I was trying to say.
On the way to live out the most important act of his life, Jesus didn’t loose sight of how his Kingdom operates. It didn’t come only through big, sweeping events but rather one by one and two by two – and those people either following him or returning to the village to tell others.
I have to wonder if Matthew tossed in these 5 verses because he knew the propensity of Jesus’ followers to get swept up in the march toward the capital, the excitement of a pending Kingdom reign, and we forget to look alongside the road. The largeness of our agenda ahead looms too large that these voices crying out for help – well, we just don’t have time for that. We have Kingdom work to do.
Changing the world is hard work. I’m thankful for the co-laborers in the trenches, each with his or her avenue and platform. In its own way, I believe Hobby Lobby is trying to live out its (their?) version of kingdom work, even if I don’t fully agree with certain aspects. What I was trying to say yesterday was that HL, as well as you and I, need to make sure we’re not hushing the blind on the side of the road who cry out for help in an effort to follow Jesus to the cross.
And perhaps, in this case, that means not leaving women without an IUD.