Nov. 14, 2016

Let nothing shut you down: How one blind man overcame the crowd

"Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you" (Lk.18:42)

The story of the blind man of Jericho is a popular one in the gospels. He stood near the road begging. Then he heard that Jesus was passing his way. He reached out by shouting to Jesus. The blind man's faith is overwhelming. According to the scriptures, "He called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me”. But what did he get? “The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, "Son of David, have pity on me'" (Lk.18:37-39). This episode is both interesting and provocative.

It is interesting because the young blind man was determined to get to Jesus. In the first place, he was not interested in the crowd. He refused to succumb to the pressures of those "in front". He refused to let them stifle his faith. His visual strength is powered by his spiritual alertness. He shouted the louder. He shouted because he knew that God has great interest in him.

On the other hand, the episode is provocative from the point of view of the people’s reaction. They are "in front" (Lk.18:39). Being “in front” here implies that they already left their charity behind. And because they are in front, they feel physically comfortable. They are not interested in the person behind them. They wished he would be quiet because they didn’t feel what he felt. They tried to silence him. It’s all about them and nothing about the poor blind man. “If he liked, let him not see. That’s his business”. This is human thinking. But Jesus is different. He stopped and ordered that the blind man be brought. God stops to take care of his own. He stops to see those behind. His words hold true, “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch” (Is.62:1). The blind man realized the power and love of God, then shouted all the louder.

Does anything try to shut your faith down? What is it that keeps you quiet from calling out to God? I imagine it could be human or spiritual forces. Let me share this story here with you, my dear reader. I just returned from a quick trip to Nigeria (Africa). And precisely on Tuesday night, November 8th, as I arrived at our family house, my brother’s wife had her baby- the same night. The cute baby-girl was waiting for me. About two weeks (ago) to her delivery, my brother called me to complain that his wife was becoming worried and scared. I asked to speak with her. She opened up to me that she was told that she would die in her labor room, that she wouldn’t live to see her baby. My question was, “Who told you?”. She said it was a pastor, then another friend of hers who claimed she saw her in her dream. What an arrant nonsense! I tried to manage my anger. I counseled her against such nasty thoughts and statements. I invited her and the husband to join hands with me over the phone. We prayed for a long time together and recited the Psalm 20. I requested that they go to do a novena mass which I promised to join from where I was. Then I warned her never to communicate with such pastor or her friend again, maybe they would hear of her delivery afterwards. That’s why I was so excited at the timing of her delivery. I went straight to the hospital and took the baby in my hands. I thanked God like Simeon did at the birth of Christ. It was a smooth delivery.

There are some in the shoes of my sister in-law who are being silenced by fake forces. Such persons are intimidated, and made to live in constant fear because of negative and malicious “pastors” and “seers” who destroy marriages and families, especially where there is ignorance. They make their victims concentrate on their malignant powers than concentrate on Jesus. They claim, like the crowd in the blind man’s story today, to be “in front”, to have vision. They shut down their victims from shouting out to Christ. They are fake and perhaps diabolical. They’re “in front” physically but spiritually behind.

The blind man of Jericho is an encouragement today. Christ’s statement to him was, “Have sight, your faith has saved you” (Lk.18:42). As you read this reflection, always recognize the importance of your faith. Faith is your greatest vision. It is your weapon. Others can help strengthen your faith, only you can live your faith. Let nothing shut you down. Shout to Christ. Shout the louder. Don’t look at your pastor or prophet, concentrate on the Master Jesus. Tell him to have mercy on you. He will surely stop by. It is not about the crowd; it is about you. One great blind man's faith moved Jesus than the surging crowd “in front”. Yours will too.