Looking Back, Moving Forward

Luke 18:35-43 “Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord, I want to see,’ he replied.”

We eagerly followed our Palestinian guide. He led us to see one of the ancient world’s most amazing sights. One at a time, we filed into yet another courtyard, just outside Jerusalem.

As the line of tourists made their way through the entry arch, a unkempt, unshaven man stood at the door. He was wearing traditional mid-east wraps, carrying a cane in one hand and a beggar’s cup in the other. Thick, black sunglasses allowed him to stare over the heads of the generous givers. His wrapped head nodded repeatedly, presumably a sign of thanks. It was obvious to all that this poor man was blind. Coins quickly filled his cup.

But an interesting thing happened after our group had safely passed. My friend nudged me and pointed. I was amazed at what I witnessed. As the rest of our group looked at a “footprint” of Jesus, this blind man lifted his sunglasses and started counting his loot, slipping the coins quickly into his pocket. And before the next bus could unload, his glasses, cup, and cane were back in place. His head returned to the rhythmic nodding, like a Palestinian bobble-head. As the next group of tourists filed past, the clink of change in a cup could be heard throughout the courtyard.

While traveling on the road to Jericho, Jesus met a man just like this one. The difference was that this man was actually blind. This man could not see ahead to where he was going. He could not see behind to where he had been. He wasn’t even able to see where he stood on that day. His blindness kept him from seeing the well-traveled path and the many people walking past. He certainly couldn’t see Jesus.

While standing at the side of this road with his arm outstretched, coins made their way into his cup and a rumor made its way to his well honed ears. Jesus was coming! And in that moment, tears made their way down his dusty cheeks. He began to cry and at the same time he began to cry out.

He shouted. He yelled. He hopped. He jumped. He had to get the attention of Jesus before he passed by. He must make himself known. He had to be heard! He wanted to see!

He desired to see the world, not just let it pass him by.

He hoped to travel the road, not just sit beside it.

He wanted to make eye contact, not just to hear whispered voices.

Jesus heard the yelling, stopped, and asked him one question, “What do you want?” This was a rather strange question, considering the fact that everyone around was trying to stop the man from shouting his one desire. But Jesus asked anyway. And the answer was obvious. The answer was spontaneous. The answer should be contagious…”I Want To See!”

Jesus does just what you expect. He heals the man. And for the first time in a very long time, perhaps his entire life, the blind man sees.

But now he has to make a choice. What does he do now? Does he lift his sunglasses and count the change in his cup? Does he sit back down in the dirt, stick his arm in the air, and ask for more? Does he continue with the life he already has?

Well, you know the story. The blind-man-who-isn’t-anymore, doesn’t do any of these things. Instead, he joins the parade. He turns to Jericho with the rest of the crowd and dances in their midst.

Like the blind man sitting on the side of the road, we often allow life to pass us by. So many days pass before our darkened eyes. So many years block our view like a shadow and we are oblivious to their passing.

But occasionally we catch a small glimpse of the way life was meant to be. There are times in our lives when we see things crystal clear.

When you’ve realized your children are quickly growing and you want to make the most of every opportunity with them…Your eyes open wide.

When you’ve been declared cancer free after five long years of chemo, testing, and doctors’ visits…Everything sparkles with new hope.

When you’ve just been given a second chance at a failing marriage…Your world is bright with possibility.

But once we see again, we then have a choice to make. Do we count our change or join the parade? Do we go back to asking for scraps or do we live life at its fullest? Do we sit down in the dirt or do we dance with joy?

Dear God,
Open the eyes of our hearts and minds. Challenge us to mourn all the wasted days that have passed. Teach us to be wise in the opportunities we still have today and give us vision for all the possibilities tomorrow holds. As we travel life’s journey, we pray you would help us to see clearly, moving forward with our eyes wide open. AMEN.

copyright 2005 C. Curtis Austin A 2BlackDogs Production

Remember…next week the journey continues as we look at A Brother’s Passion!

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