To the crowd, they were unimportant, overlookable: just a couple of blind guys who sat by the side of the road every day. It was probably their usual spot, on the road that led to Jerusalem. With so many travelling for Passover, they probably expected a good “haul” that day.

They probably didn’t expect to be healed.

Matthew 20:29-34.

I’ve written many posts about Passion Week, when Jesus was so close to the cross He could probably already taste blood in His mouth, when the coming crisis would change everything for more than the twelve who followed Him most closely. But the days before the Triumphal Entry were already tense. Jesus had tried three times to warn His disciples of what was coming. The third and most recent (Matthew 20:17-19) was in the same chapter as today’s study.

Jesus repeatedly stopped to
care for others along the way.

Clearly, Jesus knew where He was going and what was coming. Luke says he “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51), or as the NKJV puts it, “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” As determined as He was to face the coming trial, Jesus repeatedly stopped to care for others along the way. I began to notice this when I wrote about Zacchaeus last year. So this year, as the calendar marches through Lent into Passion Week, then the crucifixion, let’s look at some of those precious last miracles and situations. Would you have been as patient and generous as Jesus in such days? I wouldn’t.

Our two blind guys heard the crowd coming. I don’t know how they learned it was Jesus.

When they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  –Matthew 20:30

These two guys were
hollerin’ at Jesus!

Locals in the crowd were used to these guys, and they just knew Jesus needn’t be bothered with them. They told the guys to be quiet, but our two guys didn’t listen. Were they typically submissive to anyone who walked by? Or were they rebels, intentionally subverting whatever they were told? I don’t know. But on this occasion, at least, they ignored the scolding of the crowd.

They shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  –Matthew 20:31

There’s a hillbilly word for what’s happening here. It’s holler. These two guys were hollerin’ at Jesus! Seems disrespectful, doesn’t it?

But Jesus responded. This part is weird to me. Jesus asks them what they want. (See: Whatddaya want?) Umm, isn’t it obvious? Of course, they want to be able to see.* But He asks anyway, and they answer as we would expect.

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  –Matthew 20:34

Compassion…a touch…immediately.

They first thing they
saw was Jesus’ face.

Jesus must have been some distance away. He stopped, turned toward them, walked over as the crowd parted, and touched each of them. I imagine one under each hand. They would have sensed His hand coming toward them, yet they held still. When Jesus lifted His hands from their faces, the first thing they saw was His face. What a moment to share with the Son of God!

The two formerly-blind men stood up and joined the crowd following Jesus up and out of Jericho, toward Jerusalem. I wonder how far they went with Him. Was it all the way to Jerusalem? Or did they realize after a couple of hours that they should probably go tell their families what happened? No one knows.

Three points stand out to me here.

  1. It’s okay to holler at Jesus.

Our two guys needed to get Jesus’ attention. Because of the crowd, they had to shout to be heard. These days, Jesus can always hear us—even when we don’t speak aloud. But there is so much noise in our lives: phones, media, people, work obligations, etc. All these things end up crowding between us and Jesus. If we must shout so we can hear ourselves call out to Him, that’s alright. He won’t get offended.

In the same way, we can’t let anyone tell us to stop calling out for Jesus. Well-meaning church-goers, our own common sense, false prophets all may say it’s time to stop praying. The noise in our lives may distract us from praying. But these guys hollered until they got Jesus’ attention and an answer. We can keep at it, keep praying, until there’s resolution. And we can holler if necessary.

  1. Our words don’t need to be fancy or creative.

Our two blind guys weren’t afraid to repeat themselves. They acknowledged Jesus position and authority, then stated their request in terms of his character.

Lord: a title of honor used for fathers, masters, government leaders, land owners. (A picked up a Bible dictionary at a used bookstore this weekend. Can you tell?)

Son of David: a recognition of Jesus’ ancestry, but also a Messianic title. They couldn’t physically see Jesus, but they understood that the Messiah had come.

Mercy: undeserved love. They knew they didn’t deserve Jesus’ attention, but they asked for it anyway.

Start with Who you know Jesus to be, follow it with what you want Him to do for you. It’s a simple but effective “formula” for prayer.

  1. When he responds, our only reasonable reaction is to follow.

Jesus paid attention, demonstrated mercy, and healed our two blind guys. In reaction, they followed Him. When He saves us, our only reasonable reaction is to follow Him.

It’s about being with Him, being close to the power and mercy, enjoying the presence. They (and we) could never repay Jesus’ generosity. All we can do is stay close to Him and obey out of delight.

On hollering, praying, and reacting: What two blind guys can teach us about Jesus. A #NotAboutMe Bible study for #Lent, via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

How do you call out to Jesus? I know I need to “holler” more—because it helps me focus on Him, not because He can’t hear me. But sometimes all I have is a tear-filled whisper. Still, I’m thankful for these blind guys, who weren’t afraid to draw Jesus’ attention. What about you? I would love it if you leave a note in the comments below.


*It’s easy to assume we know what someone wants becomes they are impoverished or have special physical/mental needs. Of course, they want to be like us. Right? No. Sometimes what a person truly wants isn’t obvious. When we ask, we grant dignity to the person and probably learn something ourselves. To read: When Helping Hurts, by Stephen Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

6 thoughts on “On the Way to the Cross: Who’s Hollering?

  1. Such great wisdom here. It stopped me to imagine Jesus face being the first thing I’d see if I were born blind. Wow. I love that it’s okay to hollar at my Lord, to repeat myself (Luke 18:1 insists I do) and to simply pray the formula you shared, identifying Who He is and what I need Him to do for me. Love this!

    Liked by 2 people

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