35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth* is passing by.’ 38Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 39Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 40Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ 42Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ 43Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
After telling the disciples for the final time that he would be crucified, Jesus traveled on down the road towards Jerusalem. As he came near Jericho, there is a blind man begging by the side of the road. The man hears the commotion and asks what is happening. He is told that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. The man shouts “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He had obviously heard of Jesus, and of his healing of the lame and giving of sight to the blind. But he has also come to believe in this man – he is the Son of David, promised in the scriptures. That is what he calls Jesus, acknowledging him as Messiah; the blind man seeing what the sighted people around him cannot.
Furthermore, his plea expresses faith – if Jesus shows mercy to him he will see. And the more those around him try to silence him, the louder he shouts! Jesus stops, and asks that the man be brought to him – and he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus could see that the man was blind, but this man needed to tell Jesus what it was that he needed, what would change his life. We need to tell Jesus what we need – and to do that we have to recognize what it is we need, not what we want, or what would be nice, but what we need; and then we have to pray and tell Jesus about it. He asks the question – and waits for an answer, “What is it you want me to do for you?”
The man replies, “Lord, let me see again.” He is certain that Jesus has the power to do this – what was impossible before is suddenly possible, in Christ Jesus. And Jesus says, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” The man’s faith is exhibited in his certainty that Jesus can make him see. Immediately, the man regains his sight and follows Jesus, glorifying God. And all the people who had seen him sitting beside the road begging, and now see him glorifying God, also glorified God.
Before this, most of the people whom Jesus healed were sent back to their homes and villages – but now, this man follows Jesus. In gratitude to God, he follows Jesus. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem; he will need the support of his followers. Do we follow Jesus all the way to the cross?