Someone Worth Stopping For
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes” vs. 34
In Line At The Post Office
There is a story about a sweet little old lady, Jane, who made frequent trips to the local post office. One day when she got there, the line was pretty long of people who were waiting to ship packages and needing the assistance of the clerks. Jane only needed stamps, so a helpful observer who was behind her in line asked, “Why don’t you buy them on-line? You can get all the stamps you need and you won’t have to stand in line.” Jane said, “I know, but the computer can’t ask me about my arthritis.”
There is something that machines can’t give us; that need we have for human contact and to know that someone really cares. In our passage today, we are going to look at some men who felt that they didn’t matter to the people around them yet Jesus sees their need. We are going to look at Matthew 20:29-34 this morning. If you are able, please stand as we read God’s Word.
Read Passage – Matthew 20:29-34
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
The Need For Attention
The placement of this story is very deliberate. In the previous passage, there is a power play going on in the ranks of the disciples. In fact, it’s a pretty interesting thing that the mom of two of the disciples comes to Jesus and says in verse 21:
“Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Matt. 20: 21
This issue is that some of the disciples were looking to be important in the kingdom of God and wanted seats of prominence. But…they get their mom to come and ask for them. It’s likely that the other disciples wanted the same thing but these guys get their mom to be the point person. Maybe so they could try to say it was their moms idea or maybe they thought Jesus would be swayed more by a proud mom than some self-serving men. Either way the plan backfires. First, the other disciples are upset about this but secondly because Jesus tells they and their mom that he can’t do what they are asking him to do.
They are missing what Jesus was all about. They are thinking about being in prominent leadership positions and Jesus wasn’t about that at all. In fact, he was all about everything opposite of that.
The Attitude Adjustment
What the disciples needed here was an attitude adjustment. Jesus ends this last story by explaining to them what he is all about. He ways in verse 28:
“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28
Jesus ultimately was a servant, a servant of God. His attitude was that of being a servant and his idea of being in leadership was that of a servant leader. We think we want notoriety and recognition and yet those ultimately never satisfy. The only thing that ultimately satisfies is having God’s attention and his approval. Jesus got that. He wants the disciples to get that and so he uses this opportunity to not only tell the disciples that, but he lives it out in the story we are looking at today.
Jesus Shows Us How to Serve
They don’t see it yet but as they are walking along, leaving Jericho, not the Jericho of the Old Testament, that one had been destroyed and covered up with dirt but this Jericho is built right near where the Old Testament city was, there are two blind men sitting most likely at the city gates begging. They heard that Jesus was going by (verse1) and they seize the opportunity to call out to him. They think it is their opportunity but it is actually Jesus opportunity to reinforce to the disciple what is looks like to have this servant leadership attitude.
This passage points out four things that Jesus shows us about how to serve others and God.
He Was Attentive and Listened
First, he was attentive and listened. Notice what is happening here, verse 30:
“Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” vs. 30
This scene is really pretty crazy when you think about it. There probably is quite a bit of commotion just because Jesus is there and people are wanting him to heal and do miracles. But then there are these two guys are calling out to try and get Jesus attention. They have to yell really over the crowd noise. The crowd rebuke them. Rebuke means they chastised them. They talked to them in an angry and critical manner. We are not told what they said but it wasn’t just to be quiet. They chastise them in a harsh way. So what happens? They two guys start yelling louder. This situation is escalating. It’s crazy. It’s a zoo. These people are probably screaming at each other and the crowd is probably yelling at these men to shut up.
Ex. Ever been in a situation where one person is telling another what to do and the more they talk the louder they get and before you know it they are yelling at each other. This is that same thing.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus could hear these guys through all this? You know, listening is an important trait to Jesus. And to God too! The word listen is used over 400 times in the Bible. That doesn’t even include the times the word “hear” is used. Many times you read the words we see in Matthew 11:15 in the Bible:
“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matt. 11:15
Jesus understands what it is like to be busy, to be pulled in a million directions and the danger of getting caught up in the moment and missing what is really important.
Ex. The child that is pulling on their mom’s leg and saying “Mommy, mommy, mommy, etc.” and not getting a response.
A great thing to remind ourselves is that need to listen and not to miss an opportunity that God might be bringing into our life.
(Disclaimer: I know we cannot help everyone all the time but, how many times do we really listen to see if this is an opportunity God is placing before us?)
This is how we know that Jesus heard the two men, he does something that is really pretty dramatic; he stopped. Verse 32a:
“Jesus stopped and called them.” vs. 32a
He physically changes the momentum and he takes command of the situation. Again, let me set the scene for you. This is just a few days away from when Jesus was to be arrested, beaten and crucified. He knew that. He had to have a lot on his mind. His disciples are in a squabble and about frivolous things. Jesus stops. The disciples might be confused by this. They have places to go, preparations to make, they are busy people and busy with important things, Godly things. They might even be thinking that Jesus doesn’t have time to stop. He stopped.
This is something Jesus did often. He is on his way to attend to a synagogue leaders daughter who has just died and he stops to attend to a bleeding woman. He stops to talk to Zacchaeus, Jesus is on his way to attend to Jairus’ daughter and he stops because a woman who was bleeding touches his robe, etc. Jesus often stopped.
We are busy people; sometimes doing really important things. We might need to ask ourselves about the need to stop. Ever notice the things we don’t have time for but when something dramatic happens we all the sudden have the time to stop or attend to what we said we didn’t have time for before that. This same kind of story happens in Luke 18 and Jesus does the same thing; verse 40:
“Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him.” Luke 18:40
Ex. Spring Training trip. I am a Giants fan and will be my whole life. But you know, when I was at Spring training last week not one Giant would stop and talk with me or give me the time of day. Billy Butler of the A’s was practicing at 1st base and when he saw us standing near him, drops his glove and comes over and signs my hat (show hat) A few minutes later Eric Sogaurd does the same thing and thn looks around and says “Anyone one else, did I miss anyone?” He’s fighting ofr his job and he took the time to sign my hat . Wow!
His Focus Was Them
A third thing Jesus did to show us how to serve is he focused on the men who were blind and their needs. Notice his question to them in verse 32b:
“’What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.” vs. 32b
That might seem like a crazy question but it was a honest one. What is it they really wanted? Money? Food? Help? I find this interesting because a lot of times we assume what people want or need or even more so, we think we know what they need and what is best for them. These guys knew what they wanted and they asked for it.
I hear people tell me they don’t like to pray and ask God for things they need. Why not? God is attentive to us. Don’t make that your only prayer but ask God for what you need.
Ex. I love giving gifts. It brings me great joy to give someone something they really want. It’s really easy to give someone something you think they need. But when you give someone something they really want? There is great joy in that. A servant attitude is to focus on them not on you and make it about them. When you do what you want, the focus is you. Every book in the Bible has a key verse in it. In Mark it is 10:45 where Jesus said:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
There are really two focuses that Jesus had that we need to have as well:
1. God – his will and his desire for our life
2. Others – serving
He had Compassion
And finally, fourth, Jesus shows us how to serve because he had compassion. What he saw touched his heart. In verse 34 we read:
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.” vs. 34
Do you know the opposite of compassion? Judgment. It’s so easy for us to judge when we are called to have compassion. There is not one verse in the Bible that calls us to be critic al and to be judgmental. No, but there are many verses that call us to be compassionate. Here’s one, Ephesians 4:32:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph. 4:32
We don’t usually know everyone story. We haven’t walked in their shoes or even been through what they have. Our call is to compassion.
Ex. Our experience in Walmart on Friday
-In line and we were next
-Saw this woman come from another part of the store
-Demanded that she was next and wanted to be helped
-She had two small kids
-We bit our lip
-Clerks annoyed by her and even when one helped her she demanded the attention of the other clerk as well
-Could have escalated to a shouting match
-We weren’t in a hurry and ended up feeling compassionate for her
Many times I have not acted that way. Many times I probably tried to argue my case that I was first and I should be served. I had to pick this sermon didn’t I?
You’re Worth It
So what does this all come down to. Jesus stopped for two people that others were not willing to give the time of day for. He does that for everyone. He stops for them and he stops for you. You are worth it. So much so that Jesus was willing to be crucified for you and take on your sin. He showed us we are worth it by his actions.
We are to take on the servant attitude that Jesus had. We serve because he served.