Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” - Matthew 20:31
It’s a funny thing… healing. In order to heal, you have to first admit to some sort of brokenness; the need to be healed.
That’s uncomfortable for most of us. We don’t want to admit to brokenness; we don’t want to face the reality that there are parts of us that aren’t quite whole. While we definitely are responsible for some of the brokenness in our lives - failed relationships, financial hardship, simply the consequences of our foolish decisions - there are some things we never did choose.
You didn’t choose your parents' divorce. You aren’t the reason that person walked out of your life. You didn’t choose for that loved one to die. You didn’t ask that person to abuse you. You didn’t welcome depression into your life.
Whether the brokenness is consequential or incidental, much to our disapproval or disappointment, it does exist.
The blind men in Matthew 20 didn’t seem to have a problem proclaiming their need to be made whole, in their case, regarding their physical sight. In fact, they boldly proclaimed their “brokenness” twice. The first time they said, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” the crowds hushed them. So…they said it again - louder this time.
Look at the words they chose…
“Have mercy on us…” To have mercy, is to forgo making them experience what they actually deserve. God had mercy on Israel throughout the Old Testament. They deserved His wrath, He withheld it. These blind men are asking for something that they are simultaneously admitting they don’t deserve. And they make it clear that they know exactly who they are asking for it.
“O Lord, Son of David!” Son of David is the prophetic reference to Jesus Christ. These men are boldly, in the presence of a crowd of people who are telling them to be silent, asking the Son of God to have mercy on them and heal their blindness. They’re acknowledging who He is, and where they stand in regards to who He is in this short, yet powerful, statement.
Take a second to read the verses for yourself in Matthew 20:29-34. Please.
There’s an incredible amount of humility in them. There’s faith in them. There’s brokenness here.
Can you hear the brokenness in their voices coming through the page? Because I can. I can hear it in the words they use, and the boldness they speak with as they say again, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” over the voices of those trying to silence them. And notice what happens after they do. Jesus asks them what they want; just a straightforward question, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The men answer that they want their eyes opened.
I wonder… do we go to God with the same brokenness? With the same understanding of who we are in regards to His greatness? With the same faith in His power? Do I? Do you?
Can I humble myself enough to say Have mercy on [me], O Lord, Son of David? To admit to my condition and that I am not deserving of, yet completely dependent upon the loving touch of His healing hand? Can I? Can you?
Those are questions worth pondering, my friends, because look at how the passage ends:
“So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” (v34)
They asked. They came to Jesus truly broken and in need. Jesus had compassion and healed them with no hesitation; opened their eyes and they followed Him.
They followed Him.
These verses painted a “picture” I’ve seen before in a very new way. Is it possible to follow Jesus without such brokenness and humility? I’m not so sure that it is. I’m not so sure that we can walk in step with Him, following His footsteps for our lives without the heart these two blind men had. David would support that thought in Psalm 51:17 -
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
They were aware of their condition. They knew who they asked for healing. They knew their position in regards to who He was. They knew He could do it. And they were humble - broken - enough to boldly ask, even in the presence of others. They did all of this to be made whole.
Jesus responded to their hearts with the healing they were desperate for; He took their brokenness and made them whole. They didn’t take the healing and run - that’s how we know their hearts were genuine.
They responded to His compassion by following Him.
Let that be our story, too.