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In these verses we have a touching picture of an event in our Lord’s history. He heals two blind men sitting by the wayside, near Jericho. The circumstances of the event contain several deeply interesting lessons, which all professing Christians would do well to remember.
For one thing, let us mark what strong faith may sometimes be found where it might least have been expected. Blind as these two men were, they believed that Jesus was able to help them. They never saw any of our Lord’s miracles; they knew him only by hearsay, and not face to face. Yet, as soon as they heard that he was passing by, they “cried out saying, ‘Have mercy on us O Lord thou Son of David!’
Such faith may well put us to shame. With all our books of evidence, lives of saints and libraries of divinity, how few know anything of simple, child-like confidence in Christ’s mercy and Christ’s power. Even among those who are believers, the degree of faith is often strangely disproportionate to the privileges enjoyed. Many an unlearned man who can only read his New Testament with difficulty possesses the spirit of unhesitating trust in Christ’s advocacy, while deeply-read divines are harassed by questionings and doubts. They who, humanly speaking, ought to be first, are often last, and the last first.
For another thing let us mark what wisdom there is in using every opportunity for getting good for our souls. These blind men “sat by the wayside,” had they not done so, they might never have been healed. Jesus never returned to Jericho, and they might never have met with him again.
Let us see, in this simple fact, the importance of diligence in the use of means of grace. Let us never neglect the house of God, never forsake the assembling of ourselves with God’s people, never omit the reading of our Bibles, never let drop the practice of private prayer. These things, no doubt, will not save us without the grace of the Holy Ghost: thousands make use of them, and remain dead in transgressions and sins. But it is just in the use of these things that souls are converted and saved: they are the ways in which Jesus walks. It is they who “sit by the wayside” who are likely to be healed. Do we know the diseases of our souls? Do we feel any desire to see the Great Physician? If we do we must not wait in idleness, saying, “If I am to be saved, I shall be saved.” We must arise and go to the road where Jesus walks. Who can tell, but he will soon pass by for the last time! Let us sit daily “by the wayside.”
For another thing let us mark the value of pains and perseverance in seeking Christ. These blind men were “rebuked” by the multitude that accompanied our Lord: men told them to “hold their peace.” But they were not to be silenced in this way: they felt their need of help, they cared nothing for the check which they received. “They cried the more saying, ‘Have mercy on us O Lord thou Son of David.’
We have in this part of their conduct a most important example. We are not to be deterred by opposition or discouraged by difficulties when we begin to seek the salvation of our souls. We must “pray always and not faint” ( Luke 18:1 ); we must remember the parable of the importunate widow, and of the friend who came to borrow bread at midnight. Like them we must press our petitions at the throne of grace, and say, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me” ( Genesis 32:26 ). Friends, relatives and neighbors may say unkind things and reprove our earnestness; we may meet with coldness and want of sympathy where we might have looked for help; but let none of these things move us. If we feel our diseases, and want to find Jesus, the Great Physician—if we know our sins, and desire to have them pardoned—let us press on. “The violent take the kingdom by force. ( Matthew 11:12 ).
Finally let us mark gracious the Lord Jesus is to those who seek him. “He stood still and called” the blind men; he kindly asked them what it was that they desired; he heard their petition and did what they requested. He “had compassion on them and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight.”
We see here an illustration of that old truth which we can never know too well—the mercifulness of Christ’s heart towards the sons of men. The Lord Jesus is not only a mighty Saviour, but merciful, kind and gracious to a degree that our minds cannot conceive. Well might the apostle Paul say “that the love of Christ passes knowledge” ( Ephesians 3:19 ). Like him, let us pray that we may “know” more of that love. We need it when we first begin our Christian course, poor trembling penitents, and babes in grace; we need it afterwards, as we travel along the narrow way, often erring, often stumbling and often cast down; we shall need it in the evening of our days, when we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” Let us then grasp the love of Christ firmly, and keep it daily before our minds. We shall never know, till we wake up in the next world, how much we are indebted to it.
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