As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34 NRSV)
This is such a beautiful story, one that offers a few meaningful insights for me. First, as Jesus passes by the two blind men, they begin calling out to him, “Lord, have mercy on us!” They don’t just say, “Help us to see!” Instead, they ask only for Jesus’ mercy. His act of mercy could have been anything- alms, food, forgiveness, or assistance in other ways. These men seemed to trust that the mercy of Jesus would provide exactly what they most needed (even if their sight wasn’t restored).
Jesus then asks the men, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus can see that they are blind, and the logical assumption would be that they want to see. But Jesus chooses to ask the question; he lets them determine what they would like him to do for them. This serves as a good reminder for us. We cannot always assume that we know what people need from their outward appearances alone. We are wise to connect with them on a heart level first, and to give them the opportunity to best discern what they need.
Finally, it is interesting that the men say, “Let our eyes be opened” instead of “Restore our sight” or “Help us see.” Granted, these words all have the same essential meaning. But I love the image of eyes being opened. When we can fully open ourselves- our eyes, our heart, our mind, our life- we become free to receive what God would like us to receive. Instead of straining to see the things we hope to see, we just open our eyes and let God reveal what God would want us to see. This thought seems so lovely to me.
We are now almost to the third week of Lent, and so the question Jesus has for us can serve as a Lenten check-in time. How are you doing on your Lenten journey so far?
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Are you able to trust in the mercy of Jesus to provide exactly what you need? What one thing would you like Jesus to do for you today? In what way might you need to have your eyes opened? What inner need or longing is deep within your heart, hidden under your seemingly obvious needs?
What do you want me to do for you?