Stop for the one …

“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”  The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.”

Matthew 20:29-34 ESV

There was a crowd that followed Jesus as He left Jericho. The 2 blind men could not be among the following because of their handicap. They probably had no friend or relative concerned enough to bring them to Jesus for healing. When they heard Jesus was coming their way, they desperately shouted out for Jesus, hoping they could get Jesus’ attention and mercy to heal them. The crowd rebuked them and tried silencing them. 

Jesus had a following whenever He went. There could be different kinds of people in the following crowd – those who were curious, those with a need to be healed, those who were engaged by the religious leaders to spied on Jesus. Today we also have people who called themselves followers of Jesus – believers who go to church, those that engaged in lots of church programs and activities, some with needs of healing, some looking for place to socialise and some aspiring to get something out of “doing” church. Of course, there are those who genuinely commit their lives to live as the disciples of Jesus.

A part of the following did something that was not consistent with the behaviour of someone who follow Jesus – they rebuked the two blind men and told them to keep quiet. What went in the minds of such following? They are just interested in keep moving with Jesus with the “activity” of following. Isn’t it familiar that churches and believers today just want to keep “doing” church every weekend oblivious to the needs around, not just in the unbelieving world but within church itself. Most churches do “out-reach” but neglect the “in-reach”.  A zeal to “keep moving” blinded them from the most vital ministry of meeting needs, spiritual or physical.

Jesus stopped. He stopped for the 2 blind men, attended to their needs and restored their sights. A demonstration of the good shepherd that went after one lost sheep, and stopped the journey with the other 99 sheep! Jesus was aware of needs in the midst of a busy journey. Busyness did not take away His concern for people. Are those of us who claimed to be Jesus’ followers doing the same? Has busyness, even in church programmes and activities obsess us so much that we do not understand the very essence of ministry is to “sniff” out needs around and attend to them in love? Jesus rebuked the church of Ephesus on its loss of first love – the love for God which is to be demonstrated in the love for people. It’s time to “stop” and evaluate on the agenda, mission and motivation of our individual or a church’s ministry. Don’t miss the point and be sincerely wrong! 

Reflection Pointers:

  1. If you are someone who is determined to follow Jesus, take time to evaluate what it means. It is not just “doing” church and just got immersed in tons of “ministry” programs and activities. It is taking time to know people and their needs, pray with them and offer to help them in ways possible in love.
  2. Or if you are a busy church leader who is engaged in a frenzy of activities, stop and examine the motivation and objective of your involvement whether it is in alignment with Jesus’ focus and emphasis to attend to needs.