Luke 18.35-> (Please comment)

As [Jesus] approached Jericho a blind man sat at the roadside begging. Hearing a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.

They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

Then he shouted out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!”

The people in front told him sharply to hold his tongue, but he called out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Sir, I want my sight back,” he answered.

Jesus said to him, “Have back your sight; your faith has cured you.”

He recovered his sight instantly; and he followed Jesus, praising God.

And all the people gave praise to God for what they had seen.

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6 responses

  1. Passages like these have always been interesting to me because the blind man is the first to see Jesus. THAT is fascinating. Its passages like these that lead me to believe that there is no second coming and that Jesus has always been here. It is us who have to listen, see, and call out to Jesus with all our hearts and he will show us a new sacred time and space.

    So what I get from this is bravery in one’s heart. As a non-believer I can get this message from my family. Why else should I read the Bible? Like I said I am an Atheist and have much respect for believers. Why do people keep coming back to this book and these passages?

    1. Many fascinating issues in this passage, some I hadn’t thought of (but you did!)

      “No second coming” — hadn’t occurred to me from my reading of it — though I too have tended to think: “He hasn’t gone anywhere.” And Friends (‘Quakers’) have traditionally had it that he’s already quite literally “here to teach his people himself,” that some of them felt/saw him at work in their worship meetings.

      I wasn’t entirely consistent, back when I was an atheist. Because I was frequently arguing with God-in-my-head that cooking people for not ‘believing in’ Him was not only unfair, but didn’t sound ‘just’ or ‘merciful’ or anything remotely like. Inconsistency is certainly better than getting stuck in some error or other: You can follow one map in one country and another map when that works better… But I’m not quite understanding in what sense you’re ‘an Atheist’. (?)

      The Jewish Renewal synagogue in Philadelphia — where Anne and I returned often after our Pendle Hill gospels class introduced us to the place — goes over the Torah (1st five books, the ‘Law’ or ‘the Way’, the ‘Books of Moses’ [probably not!]) every year, like other Jewish congregations. It looked like they always found something new to say about a passage. People had questions I could chew on for months… said things that unexpectedly ripened years later. These writings, many of them, are like that.

      “Bravery in one’s heart” is a good thing, certainly. The courage to know where one is blind, and say so, and pray for healing… Having truly nothing to lose, and knowing that. See, I’m guessing that reading this has deepened & expanded your idea of what “bravery in one’s heart” looks like.

      No matter how good an idea somebody has, of how he ‘ought to be’ — The idea is something fixed, rigid, dead. He’s alive. And that’s why it’s not a good idea to worship some virtue, in itself, as if it didn’t connect to everything else…

  2. I don’t believe in a God(s), Deity, etc. I believe in people. Religion as it stands in our world is an awful institution and no amount of community it creates can undue what has happened/still is happening. This is why I don’t believe.

    The excitement you see (I hope you see) in my writing comes from my english-nerd side.

    1. I’d say a lot of religion is awful because many people feel obligated to be awful, and therefore believe things that fit that outlook. (There’s a lot of what the shrinks call ‘projection’ going on.)

      The Romans crucified Jesus because he was disturbing their local client regime, ie the Herodian family, the High Priestly families, the rich Judeans and even the Pharisees they were counting on to keep the rabble in line. [The Pharisees & other elites eventually set themselves in the forefront of the AD 70 revolt when it came. The Pharisees were evidently hoping for national deliverance, the others were perhaps angling for a chance to surrender & work things out… which seems to have been Josephus’ plan (or so he told the Romans.)]

      But the most influential religious leaders probably set Jesus up out of a sincere belief that he was ‘leading the people astray.’ Technically, if that were the situation they were supposed to take him out & stone him — but letting the Romans do the dirty work made them look a lot better.

      But what does ‘religion as it stands’ have to do with God? Humans set up institutions, belief-systems, all that — and then they enslave themselves to what they’ve imagined.

      It’s as if people lived in a windowless building, and drew pictures on the walls, of how they thought things looked like outside. And once in awhile somebody outside would really phone in — but people would check whatever they heard against what was drawn on the walls…

      Note, in this parable: There really is an outside. Some of the drawings even look like it, more or less.

      Jesus was telling us, as far as anyone could believe him, how things really are. (Therefore he was terrifying to a lot of people trying to defend their own ideas about that.)

  3. This passage always makes me think about all the “contradictions” that Jesus seems to teach but with a deep and real understanding one realizes that he does not teach contradictions. For example, you’re not supposed to demand things from Christ or God yet this blind man is rewarded by demanding pity from Christ. It was his faith that saved him and no one can understand that except Christ himself.

    1. Good to see you here!

      I suggest a different way of considering what people call “contradictions.” — We have different sentences which seem to be saying opposite things; and when we see a true meaning for each sentence, that seems impossible.

      If both meanings are true, in the one universe God is creating… then the meanings themselves can’t be what’s contradictory.

      But the words can be. This has to be a mismatch between our language and what we’re trying to talk about.

      From that standpoint, Jesus can teach things that seem like “contradictions” in our language. But if you see through the words to what he means, you’ll find one meaning — which our language simply doesn’t express easily.
      —- —- —-

      I say we know what God does-or-doesn’t want of us — by God telling us in each moment. In words? No. People have heard literal words from God, but there’s a knowing, a recognition whether we’re getting true words or mistaken ones — and only God can make that recognition valid. Only faith lets us trust God to lead us rightly in this process; and we can see that this faith is justified

      not because of who we are, but because of who God is!

      —-
      The blind man, seeing nothing, still recognizes that God demands that he call out, does demand because he needs and God wants him to recognize that need — and to realize that he really can be cured, that he is safe and upheld in his utter desperate insistence.
      —–
      Thank you for helping me say this!

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