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To see you must first be blind

As they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And, look and see, there were two blind men sitting near the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, shouted out, stating, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd criticized them so they might be silent but they shouted out even more, stating, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you wish I might do for you?” They stated to him, “Lord, that our eyes might be opened.” So Jesus, caring greatly, touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. Matthew 20: 29-34 
 
“So the last will be first and the first last.” That’s what Jesus said. But can we be confident that that statement is really, really true?

In Matthew’s biography Jesus says this to his disciples around AD 30, “Look and see, we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be given away to the hierarchy there and they will condemn him to death, and will give him away to the Gentiles to be mocked and to be flogged and to be crucified. And he will be raised on the third day.” Therefore the Son of Man was definitely going to be last. He expected to die a criminal. But would he be first – risen from the dead?

Are there many people going that way today – prepared to be last like that? US President Donald Trump? President Assad of Syria? Your boss? The competitors in Strictly Come Dancing?

 
In AD 30 there were two disciples of Jesus keen to be first in his realm – James and John. Jesus refused them. His Father had already made all those decisions. But the other ten were the same. They were angry because those two had tried to be first. 
‘It is no advantage to be near the light if the eyes are closed.’ (Augustine, early Christian writer, 354-430 AD)
Jesus went on to say that this ‘first becomes last and last becomes first’ system applies throughout his realm. In his realm, therefore, our governmental system and the military system of a pyramid of power, will be reversed. The greatest servant is and will be at the top of his pyramid.

What happened next in Matthew’s biography to confirm this? See bold above. Jesus and the twelve were leaving Jericho and a great crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd tried to silence them but they shouted again, all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 

Two blind men? Just like the two disciples, James and John? Which of these four will be first? Which last? Can a blind person sitting on a road ever become first? What’s more the great crowd is telling them to shut it. Although seemingly following Jesus, the crowd doesn’t want to be disturbed by two blind people in their collective walk. 

These two blind men on the roadway knew they couldn’t see anything. In their blindness, however, they had both made up their minds about Jesus - to shout out and not to be persuaded to stop shouting. More important, perhaps, they twice state what they, in their blindness, have truly seen – the identity of the man walking past them on the road, physically unseen by them. 

“Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” “Lord” was the title given by the Jews to their Almighty God who redeemed them from Egypt and gave them the 10 Commandments. There is an inscription dating back to 12 BC to Roman Emperor Augustus which reads, “God and Lord” – but that wasn’t true. “Son of David”, for these two blind men, was a Messianic title – the one long ago promised by Almighty God. 

Jesus calls the two blind ones and says, “What do you wish I might do for you?”  They stated to him, “Lord, that our eyes might be opened.” 

 
These two blind people are such a contrast with James and John. James and John thought they saw clearly – and wanted to be high up. All that these two wanted was to see. When they saw, they were content merely to follow Jesus. “Immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.”
‘When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on his side. If he does not show himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find him.’ (C S Lewis, Literature Professor, Oxford and Cambridge, 1898-1963) 
Where will these two formerly blind people end up – first or last? 

When you meet them one day, will they be last behind you?
 
Sinner Syvret

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