Just a few short verses before our Gospel reading, in the same chapter of Luke’s Gospel, people were bringing their babies to Jesus that he might touch them. The disciples couldn’t understand. He had better things to do, stop interrupting the teacher! Take your babies and your children and get gone. But this greatly upsets Jesus, because he comes for the children. He comes for the sinner. He comes for those broken and hurt by sin and death. He comes for Ellie and for you. He comes for the blind man and for the disciples and for the crowd. He comes.
Your God is acutely aware of you and your needs…your situation and your suffering. He has seen your affliction, he hears your cries for mercy, he knows your suffering, and he has come down to rescue you. This is what your name is all about: Immanuel, which means God with us. It’s about a God that comes, becomes part of his own creation, and then redeems that which is lost, broken, Deaf, and blind. Everyone one of us, affected by sin, suffering because of our sin, suffering with our sin, under our sin. Every one of us carrying a cross and at the same time living under the weight of that cross, living a life where the devil goes to and fro and back and forth upon the Earth looking for someone to devour.
The man was sitting by the side of the road. His sight had been taken from him. Now he had to beg. Saint Luke doesn’t even tell us his name. He was a second rate man, a nuisance, an interruption, and someone to be ignored. His eyes could not see, but his heart believed. What was hidden from the disciples was revealed to him. What was inconceivable to the crowd, was attainable to him. The disciples did not understand that this Jesus needed to die to conquer death. What did they go out to see? Whatever it was they didn’t see it and this saying was hidden from them. He needed to be killed and on the third day rise again: to give life to the dying and to destroy the power of the devil. What was such a stumbling block to the disciples, to the crowd, to the priests, was the Rock of Refuge for the blind man.
Jesus comes for the children! He wants the blind man and he wants Ellie and he wants you… and he wins you for himself to have forever. He knows that the only way out of eternal death is the CROSS. Thy will be done, Father in Heaven. The will of the Father was the cross. The will of the Father was that every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh would be broken and hindered. Jesus tells his disciples, he tells us, that this is what has to happen. We’ll go up to Jerusalem and everything that was written about the Son of Man by the prophets will come true. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon…and after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. The saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what he said. Moses and all the prophets testified about this one, they had heard him teach and preach about this very thing before. Yet his own disciples did not understand.
And what of the crowds that lined the streets? They stood by the sides of the road to greet him, to see him, to get a glimpse. What did they expect to see? And this blind man’s eyes kept him from knowing what all the commotion was about. What is happening? Why the noice? Why all the people? Thus it starts: The blind man’s annoying interruptions. The people that day had their reasons for going out to see Jesus… but none of them, including the disciples went out to see a crucified and blood spilling, betrayed Savior (A savior that doesn’t restore the kingdom to Israel, instead gives the kingdom to Gentiles and foreigners, to blind people, and deaf people, too. They went out and we go out to have our ears tickled… to see signs and wonders, to hear fancy things).
But when the blind man finds out that it is Jesus of Nazareth, he begins to shout out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” His eyes didn’t work, but his heart believed. Be quiet, the crowd beckons him. Stop interrupting, you’re making it hard to hear, you’re making it difficult for others, too. But all the more, the blind man called out. He called him “Son of David.” In other words, he called him the Messiah! But the crowd would have none of it. Take your interruptions and get gone. Jesus has better things to do than talk to you and we would do better without your endless wailing. But this upsets Jesus because he comes not for the righteous, but for the sinner. He comes for the blind and for the nameless and for the outcast. Jesus stops and commands that the blind man be brought.
What would you have me do for you? —Jesus says. The Greek word for recover sight is “ἀναβλέψω.” It literally means to look up. The blind man asks Jesus for the ability to look up. That I may recover my sight. That I may look up. No one there was looking up. It was an endless game of looking down and in. Luther used a Latin phrase. He said that after the fall we all became “Incurvatus in se” or curved in on ourselves… belly button watchers or naval gazers. When we are incurvatus in se, we are caring about ourselves and not our neighbor and our focus is not on our God.
Look at this blind man’s faith! The Son of David comes to rescue and save. The Son of Mary comes to uncurve his people (to straighten them out) that they may recover their sight and look up and see their God and serve their neighbor. The blind man could not have grabbed ahold of Jesus if it were not for his faith. He could not believe, he couldn’t understand, we can’t get it without the Holy Spirit calling us with the Gospel, enlightening us with his gifts, and sanctifying us in this true and holy faith. You, too and the disciples, the crowds, cannot believe in this Jesus without God coming and finding you and planting faith by his Word preached and by water included in the Word and Command of God. This God comes down so that you can look up to him: ἀναβλέψω.
Jesus knows the blind man’s whole situation. He knows your crosses and your sufferings, too. He declares to the blind man, “Your faith has saved you.” For this Word of God goes deeper than the eyes…it goes all the way to the heart. Yes, the word here can mean, “made you well,” but it more importantly is the word for, saves you. Your faith has saved you.
This is why Jesus has come. He comes to save you. How does he do it? The CROSS. Thy will be done, Father in Heaven. Every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh is broken and hindered on the cross. The Son of David was delivered over to the Gentiles and was mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon…and after flogging him, they killed him, and on the third day he rose. This is your God. He comes down to give life to the full, to destroy the devil, and restore sight. He comes for the children. He comes for you and no one was able to stop him. Look at your faith. This same God comes to you here. The Son of David has mercy on his people with humble means…and mere wood and colored glass, the things of creation become the landing place for all of heaven. God comes down even now, even today that he might fix your eyes on his cross that you would live. Amen.