Imagine a hospital filled with people who had been instantly and painlessly cured. As word has spread of the amazing wonders done in this place, it begins to overflow with patients who have received the healing they were hoping for, family and friends who rejoice in the miracles, and amazed onlookers who just want to be able to say they were there. It becomes so crowded that when genuinely sick people arrive asking for treatment, the celebrating crowds angrily demand that the sick leave immediately.
Today’s passage describes such a scenario precisely. Jesus had performed countless miracles to the awe of the people in cities, towns, and villages across Israel. He was being followed from town to town by large crowds who had grown fascinated with His teachings on the kingdom. Judging by their response to the pleas of mercy from the two blind men on the side of the road from Jericho, the people who were following Jesus (geographically speaking, at least) were distracted by grand thoughts of political triumph. The kingdom was coming, and they wanted be a part of it. The sick and lowly were not welcome.
Jesus saw things differently, and the blind men didn’t care what the crowds thought. They just cried out louder for Jesus to have mercy on them. Jesus made a point to ask them what they wanted. He didn’t need to ask; He knew they were blind. But amid the insensitive rebukes of the crowd, He gave the blind men a platform to make their request, a considerable gesture of honor and compassion.
At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t need to tell the people to go and spread the news of their healing. This miracle didn’t add to His renown. No, these recipients of Jesus’ grace and love had the liberty to follow Him as new additions to the growing throng of followers. They were no longer blind, and they were no longer outsiders.