Interrupting the Program
Don’t you just hate it when someone butts in on your your favourite TV series or sports event to tell you something you probably didn’t really want to know?
The crowds following Jesus had their own agendas as the Lord and His disciples were leaving Jericho one day (Matthew 20:29).
Hearing the hubbub, two blind men sitting by the side of the road, somehow discovered that the Healer they had heard so much about was passing right by them. It was an opportunity that they could not afford to miss.
So they started to yell in the hopes that their voices would be heard over the crowd. But the crowd had its own agenda and didn’t want its “program” interrupted. The people tried to shush the blind men up.
“The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’” (20:31).
Of course, Jesus heard them and responded to their needs.
As I read this story I wondered about how many times we ignore the real needs of other people in order to satisfy our own wants. It doesn’t appear that anyone in this crowd needed to Jesus to heal him or save him or instruct him in the right path to follow. Jesus was leaving town. His business appeared to be finished. They followed Him out of curiosity, to witness any witty repartee He might have with His critics, or just to be able to say when they got home: “Guess who I rubbed shoulders with today?”
They heard the pleas of the blind men—who really needed Jesus—but somehow didn’t realize that the needs of these men took precedence over their own.
A young woman came into my office yesterday. She had called to ask if someone could help her write a letter to her ex-partner’s lawyer. I was tempted to put her off when we spoke on the phone because I was busy with other things. But I obeyed the prompt of the Spirit not to do that. She came. I wrote the letter for her. We talked. From her perspective, she needed a letter. From my perspective she needed the Lord. We talked about that too.
I didn’t solve her problems as Jesus solved the problems of the two blind men. But at least I put someone else’s need ahead of my own agenda. I wish I could say that I am that sensitive to the Spirit all the time—I’m not. But the story of the blind men reminded me that all of us need to listen more closely to voices other than our own. We might be amazed at what the Lord can do when we pay attention to those calls for mercy and let Him interrupt our program.