The Scriptorium

Portent of Light

There's more than just a healing going on here. Matthew 20.29-34

Matthew 20: Calvary in Sight (6)

Pray Psalm 142.5, 6.
I cried out to You, O LORD:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.

Sing Psalm 142.5, 6.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Hear my cry, Lord, I am low! They are strong who seek my soul.
Jesus frees from every foe; He will keep and make me whole!
Lord, You are my Refuge strong!
O receive my plaintive song.

Read Matthew 20.1-34; meditate on verses 29-34.

1. Where was Jesus at this time?

2. What did the two men want Him to do for them?

Only Matthew mentions that two blind men appealed to Jesus as He was leaving Jericho (cf. Mk. 10.46-52; Lk. 18.35-43). Mark tells us that one of them was the son of Timaeus; we don’t know anything about the other, except that he was there with Bartimaeus and was healed as well. This is not a contradiction, just a difference of perspective in reporting. Peter, who seems to have been the primary source of Mark’s gospel – which Luke relied on – may have remembered only the blind man with a name. Matthew, on the other hand, includes them both.

The mention of Jericho strikes me as significant. The last-mentioned place in Matthew’s account is “the region of Judea beyond the Jordan” (Matt. 19.1), that is, on the east side of the Jordan. Jericho was on the west side of the Jordan, a city that had been rebuilt at the cost of the builder’s firstborn son (1 Kgs. 16.34; cf. Josh. 6.26). It was thus a symbol of conquest, death, and rebirth. Jesus, like Israel before Him, would have crossed the Jordan to pass through Jericho. As He left that city, He gave sight to two blind men who besought Him earnestly for mercy (vv. 30, 31).

With His focus squarely on Jerusalem, Calvary, and His rising from the dead, we might have thought Jesus was too otherwise occupied to be bothered with two blind men. A “great multitude followed Him” out of Jericho; doubtless, many of them were crying for something from Him. But, filled with compassion for two men who acknowledged Him as “Lord” and “Son of David”, Jesus opened their eyes, just as He would open the tomb and give Light to the world in just a few days. He had conquered the devil (Matt. 4.1-11). God the Father, Who had led Him to go through Jericho, would now offer His firstborn Son for the salvation of the world. And as Jesus gave sight to blind eyes, so He would give life to all who call upon Him as Lord and King, and earnestly beseech Him for mercy.

And we note that, when the mercy they sought was received, “they followed Him.” As should we all.

1. What is mercy? Why do we need mercy and grace to help in our times of need (Heb. 4.12)?

2. What is the significance of calling on Jesus as “Lord” and “Son of David”?

3. How does Jesus give Light to the world? What is our role in this?

In touching their eyes, the Lord Jesus also touched the eyes of the mind of the nations. He was giving to them the grace of the Holy Spirit. For Christ’s touch gives the grace of the Holy Spirit. Those nations, when they were enlightened, followed him with good works, never abandoning him afterward
. Anonymous, Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 36

Let Your Light shine through me today, Lord Jesus, as I…

Pray Psalm 142.1-4, 7.
Pray that God will guard you against all temptation, and free you from everything that keeps you from seeing and serving Him.

Sing Psalm 142.1-4, 7.
Psalm 142.1-4, 7 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
With my voice, O Lord, I cry – hear my plea for mercy, Lord!
My complaint mounts up on high, bringing You my troubled word:
Refrain vv. 5, 6
         Lord, You are my Refuge strong!
         O receive my plaintive song!

When my spirit faints away, You my falt’ring pathway know.
Where I take my journey they traps have hidden to my woe.

Lord, look to my right and see: None takes notice of my plight.
Is there refuge left for me? Is my soul out of Your sight?

Out of prison lead me, Lord; thanks and praise to You shall be.
Righteous men armed with Your Word Will Your grace bestow on me.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore