Matthew 20:29-34 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?"33 They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
This is an actual account of events; however, it also parallels with our spiritual blindness. Let’s consider the parallels:
Matthew 20:29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him.
This crowd was not made up of all followers of Jesus. We can conclude this because crowds always seem to follow Jesus, but on one account His teaching was “difficult to hear” and it says that “many of His disciples quit following Him”:
John 6:63-66 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
We can safely conclude that a crowd that would follow Jesus would be made up of believers, non-believers, those confused about what it means to be a believer, and those pretending to be believers.
As Jesus was leaving Jericho, as the blind men cried out, who do you think was most annoyed?
Many of us can recall times where we have said to someone, “I want to figure out the meaning of life” (or something similar) and the person quickly gives there take on “life’s meaning” which is usually a worldly philosophy of some sort. The interesting thing is, it is said with the demeanor of, “…so quit worry about it.”
Even well-meaning people can attempt to silence your “crying out”. For example, I remember asking my dad years ago what the “whole religion thing” was all about, and he said, “you’re a good person, that’s all you need to worry about.”
The parallel is so clear – I was spiritually blind, trying to seek spiritual sight, and the person in this world that loves me most unknowingly gave me the worst possible instruction – he basically said, “BE QUIET!” just like the crowd told these two blind men.
Matthew 20:30-31a And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31a The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent,
The “crowd”, the world, rebukes those seeking true spiritual sight all the time. I think the main reason is, on a subconscious level, most non-believers know they are on the broad road to destruction and they don’t want anyone getting off that road. I remember when “our crowd” was drinking and partying quite a bit, if someone quit there was always much conviction to the others. I didn’t recognize what it was when I was in it, but I have come to realize that it was conviction that I was going to continue to do wrong, while this person was turning to do right.
The pressure from the “crowd” can take on many different forms. It could be someone in a false teaching church that is studying their Bible and becoming aware of the false teaching. They may approach the pastor of that church, or others in the church, to share their concerns – most times this is not received well, they are essentially rebuked and told to be quiet.
The question isn’t, “will I receive opposition when I cry out?” – you will – the question is, will you cry out all the more:
Matthew 20:31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"
This is the “spiritual violence” that is required. Do you think Jesus heard them the first time? I would guess He did – so why didn’t He stop the first time they called out? Maybe He was testing their faith? Maybe He was testing their persistence? Maybe it was so this story would be recorded for us in this way, so we have an example of faith and persistence?
Whatever the reason is, the men didn’t do as the crowd demanded, they cried out all the more. The opinion of the world meant nothing to them – they wanted what only Jesus could give, and they were going to stop at nothing to receive it.
Imagine the revival there would be if people in this country put the same effort into their spiritual sight as they do into their physical sight. Lasik surgery is expensive, you need to miss work to heal, your eyes itch and hurt while they heal, and there is always the gamble of things going wrong, or even losing your sight – but people are lining up to do it. To spiritually see is expensive – it will cost you everything we once thought was most important in our life, we are commanded to make Jesus our first priority, we are commanded to deny self, we are commanded to take up our cross daily. To spiritually see is painful, the Scripture tells us that those who desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
When you consider this reality, in the world’s eyes, isn’t that a strange “marketing strategy”? Consider that Jesus said, “follow Me” – and by the way, when you do, the world will hate you, it may cost you your family, people will mock you, and you will be persecuted.
If this is true, and it is, what logical reason would anyone cry out? The answer can be summed up in Peter’s response when Jesus asked, “do you wish to go away also?”
John 6:67-68 So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
The two blind men continued to cry out, and Jesus stopped.
Matthew 20:32-34 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" 33 They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
Notice that everything after Jesus touched them was immediate. Their eyes were opened so they could see – and they followed Him. Once a person has their eyes opened to the Truth they will follow Jesus.
I was sharing the Gospel with a friend once. This friend is into eastern mysticism and sun gazing. He was trying to get me to consider trying this and learning about it. He thought my response was very narrow minded and self-righteous; I said,
“Chris, if you lost your keys and searched your entire house for them until you found them; after they were found, would you keep looking? It is the same way with the Truth, God has opened my eyes to the Truth, why would I keep looking?”
When Jesus opens your eyes you follow Him, you don’t wonder off and say, “I think I will consider this, or I think I will pursue that”; you follow Him.