Summary: It would appear that Jesus never asked this question of anyone else in the Gospels. Didn’t He know what these blind men needed?
OPEN: A man walks into a dentist’s office and says, "Excuse me, can you help me. I think I’m a moth."
The dentist replied "You don’t need a dentist. You need a psychiatrist. His office is just down the hall"
"Yes, I know." Says the man.
"So, why did you come in here?" asked the dentist.
"The light was on..."
APPLY: (He thinks he’s a moth… the light’s on…)
Yeah, I know – it’s a dumb joke, But it serves to illustrate something I want to explain this morning.
· This man had a problem – he thought he was a moth
· He was seeking help, but in the process of seeking that help he got distracted.
· The light was on and it drew him away from the place where he might actually get help.
In Matthew 20, Jesus is entering the final week of His ministry. He’s on His way to Jerusalem and will soon be betrayed, arrested, and crucified… the crowds will clamor for His blood and cry "Crucify Him!" "Crucify Him!"
But as of now, the crowds still love Him. They line the streets and clamor for His attention. They’ve come to believe that this Jesus is:
The hope of Israel
The Son of David
The promised King of Israel
Everyone is speculating that He will soon claim His crown, throw off the yoke of the hated Romans and restore Israel to its former glory.
But amongst the crowd are 2 blind men.
Everybody knows them. I mean – they’re always sitting by the roadside begging for alms. They cry out “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 20:30) And the crowd is irritated. This isn’t what they think Jesus is “all about”. Jesus is too important to be bothered by rabble like this.
But Jesus stops and ask these blind men – “What do want me to do for you?”
Now this is an unusual question for two reasons:
1st This is the only time in the Gospels we find Jesus asking anyone what they need done.
2nd You would think it would be obvious what these men needed. They’re blind
Even if Jesus couldn’t have looked into their eyes and seen the cloudiness that is often there in the eyes of the blind, or watched them as they grope about in the ways blind men do… This is Jesus.
He doesn’t need anyone to tell Him what these men were blind. He’s God… He knows these things.
So why ask the question?
Well, it seems obvious to me that He didn’t ask the question for His own benefit (as if He didn’t know what they needed in their lives). So, I’ve come to believe that Jesus asked the question for the benefit of the others who were there that day.
1st – I believe Jesus asked this question for the benefit of the crowds. This crowd is obviously not into helping blind people.
Blind people were a nuisance.
They were a hindrance
They were a distraction to what Jesus’ real purpose ought to be.
And would that “real purpose” be?
* meeting THEIR needs
* building THEIR kingdom
When it becomes obvious, a few days later, that this wasn’t what Jesus had in mind the crowds turned their backs on Him and cry out for His blood.
And so it was intriguing that Jesus didn’t ask the crowds what He could do for them. He asked the blind men.
There are times when the Church forgets why it exists.
There are times when Christians forget what Jesus saved them for.
They begin to think church is all about THEM. They think their relationship with Jesus is totally focused on their needs and their agenda. They are literally blind to what their real needs are… and so Jesus can’t really help them.
It’s so easy – living in this present world - to get distracted by the wrong things. Kind of like that man who tho’t he was a moth. He became distracted by a light bulb. So also, we can be distracted by bright things… like “wealth” “success” or “excitement”
James wrote to the church of his day, warning them against that danger:
“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here’s a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (James 2:2-5)