“And when He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.’ And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ And the multitude sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.’ And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him” (Matthew 8:1-4; 20:29-34).
The Pursuit of Jesus Two curious references in two stories of Jesus’ healing miracles might provide a window into the desperation required to seek Him successfully. In the first, a leper approaches Jesus and expresses supreme confidence in His ability to heal him. When Jesus touches the leper, he is immediately healed. Yet, that Jesus tells him not to tell anyone seems odd, especially since great multitudes were following Him. How did this leper, whom law relegated to the fringes of society, manage to get so close to Jesus? A variety of explanations is imaginable, but Mark (1:35-45) provides a plausible one. There, this account is bracketed at the end by the observation that the multitudes so crowded Jesus that He had to remain in unpopulated areas (vs. 45) and at the beginning by the fact that Jesus’ popularity also required Him to rise early to seek privacy for prayer (vss. 35-37; cf. Lk. 5:16). It is possible, then, that the leper followed Jesus and the crowds at a distance, awaiting an opportunity to approach Jesus when He was alone. If so, he might have followed Jesus for days, watching Him and learning His habits. As a result, He would have discovered that Jesus’ practice was to rise early, before anyone else awakened, to seek isolation for prayer. In such a scenario, the leper might have noted the house in which Jesus retired and kept a lonely vigil through the night, watching the door from which Jesus would emerge. Then, he would follow, and approach, Him in his desperate quest to be cleansed of his leprosy. Another curious element lies in the story of Jesus’ healing of two blind men. Matthew says that this incident occurred as Jesus was exiting Jericho, but Luke says it occurred as He was entering (Lk. 18:35ff). It is possible that the writers condensed their accounts, so that one relates how it began and the other how it ended. Under this scenario, the blind men would have enquired as to Jesus’ identity as He was entering Jericho. Perhaps their cry failed to get Jesus’ attention before He disappeared into the city. Yet, the blind men did not give up but, confident in their faith that Jesus could heal them and desperate to be relieved of their blindness, would have known the gate Jesus would have to exit Jericho to continue on His way to Jerusalem and would have made their way to it to await Him and make another, more vigorous effort. If so, the faith which moved them to renew their efforts, blessed them with success. This scenario not only relieves an apparent conflict but also makes a more vivid picture of the measures to which resolute faith will drive individuals who desperately desire to be relieved of their blindness. While it cannot be known whether these possibilities are what actually happened, it is certain that any who would be healed of spiritual sickness and blindness must seek Jesus with the same kind of desperate and determined faith which granted success to these men.
HOME HOME MEDITATIONS MEDITATIONS HYMN SCRIPTURE
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“And when He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.’ And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ And the multitude sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.’ And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him” (Matthew 8:1-4; 20:29-34).
The Pursuit of Jesus Two curious references in two stories of Jesus’ healing miracles might provide a window into the desperation required to seek Him successfully. In the first, a leper approaches Jesus and expresses supreme confidence in His ability to heal him. When Jesus touches the leper, he is immediately healed. Yet, that Jesus tells him not to tell anyone seems odd, especially since great multitudes were following Him. How did this leper, whom law relegated to the fringes of society, manage to get so close to Jesus? A variety of explanations is imaginable, but Mark (1:35-45) provides a plausible one. There, this account is bracketed at the end by the observation that the multitudes so crowded Jesus that He had to remain in unpopulated areas (vs. 45) and at the beginning by the fact that Jesus’ popularity also required Him to rise early to seek privacy for prayer (vss. 35-37; cf. Lk. 5:16). It is possible, then, that the leper followed Jesus and the crowds at a distance, awaiting an opportunity to approach Jesus when He was alone. If so, he might have followed Jesus for days, watching Him and learning His habits. As a result, He would have discovered that Jesus’ practice was to rise early, before anyone else awakened, to seek isolation for prayer. In such a scenario, the leper might have noted the house in which Jesus retired and kept a lonely vigil through the night, watching the door from which Jesus would emerge. Then, he would follow, and approach, Him in his desperate quest to be cleansed of his leprosy. Another curious element lies in the story of Jesus’ healing of two blind men. Matthew says that this incident occurred as Jesus was exiting Jericho, but Luke says it occurred as He was entering (Lk. 18:35ff). It is possible that the writers condensed their accounts, so that one relates how it began and the other how it ended. Under this scenario, the blind men would have enquired as to Jesus’ identity as He was entering Jericho. Perhaps their cry failed to get Jesus’ attention before He disappeared into the city. Yet, the blind men did not give up but, confident in their faith that Jesus could heal them and desperate to be relieved of their blindness, would have known the gate Jesus would have to exit Jericho to continue on His way to Jerusalem and would have made their way to it to await Him and make another, more vigorous effort. If so, the faith which moved them to renew their efforts, blessed them with success. This scenario not only relieves an apparent conflict but also makes a more vivid picture of the measures to which resolute faith will drive individuals who desperately desire to be relieved of their blindness. While it cannot be known whether these possibilities are what actually happened, it is certain that any who would be healed of spiritual sickness and blindness must seek Jesus with the same kind of desperate and determined faith which granted success to these men.
HOME HOME MEDITATIONS MEDITATIONS
Click on this image for slide show.
HYMN SCRIPTURE