Jesus approaches the town of Jericho, with a crowd all around him. At the side of the road a blind man calls out: 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me'. The crowd tells him to shut up, but the man shouted out all the more ...
Jesus stops, and asks for the man to be brought to him. Jesus asks a simple question: 'What do you want me to do for you?'. Of course the blind man wants to see - and that is what he asks for. Jesus commends his faith, and says: 'Receive your sight'. Immediately the man is healed, and starts following Jesus calling out praise. The crowd also join in praising God.
The story is simple enough, but includes some gems. The blind man is rejected by the crowd, but although blind he is the one who calls Jesus by his royal title: 'The Son of David' - clearly the man can see something others couldn't! He also persists through the crowds' indignation.
Again we ask ourselves what does this story tell us about God / Jesus? And what does it tell us about people?
Jesus stops for him, and calls him over. Many times in the crowd Jesus seems to stop for the one. Yet what happens next is an even bigger principle: he asks him what the man wants. Of course to the crowd it is obvious what the man needs, and yet Jesus asks the question. This is the first principle of community development: ask people what they want rather than assuming. This enables us to do with people rather than do stuff to them.
The man does want to see, and Jesus commends him for his faith. Of course Jesus could have said 'I have healed you', or 'I have the power to heal you', but instead Jesus says 'Your faith has healed you'. This is the second principle of community development: affirming people and recognising that everyone has something positive to contribute. No matter how how needy, how rag-tag ... people can bring stuff.
The man starts following Jesus, and is full of praise. The praise is infectious and the crowd join in too! This is the overflow effect - our praise can rub off on others. When there is a move of God, it ripples out. Let us celebrate what God is doing, and let it overflow to others.
So we then ask ourselves what does this story tell us we ought to do? And who are we going to tell?
Finally before we leave Jesus and the man with restored sight we should consider a great irony in the story. The man starts off blind, and in this poor state was forced to live by faith. In fact by faith he can 'see' more than the crowd - that Jesus is the royal Son of David, bringing the Kingdom of God and thus the power to restore all things. From this episode he ends being able to see visually ... and hopefully will continue to follow Jesus. For us who already have our visual sight in good working order, however, we struggle to live by faith ... preferring to put what we see ahead of our belief in King Jesus.
Let us, even with our visual sight in tact, learn to live by faith and not just by sight!