Matthew 20:31 ‘Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David’

February 19, 2017 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

This Week’s Focus Passage: Matthew 20:31

‘Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David’

Here we have before us, in this passage, a witness of the saving power of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the Son of God. Give attention to the testimony of these blind men on the Jericho Road:

And as they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them that they should hold their peace: but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. And Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and straightway they received their sight, and followed him.  —Matt. 20:29-34

If we were to attempt to draw a picture of the scene set in front of us through the Spirit-guided pen of Matthew, what are the items that would first and foremost attract our attention? What is it that catches our eye; what is it that perks our ear? We can imagine ourselves traveling in the company of Jesus coming out from Jericho among a great multitude. As we make our way alongside this Rabbi, our sight first takes hold on two pathetic blind beggars sitting along the side of the way. What was it that they saw? Obviously, they saw nothing, for they were both blind! But, then, what did they hear? Matthew informs us that, they heard that Jesus was passing by. How does one hear that a particular individual is passing by; just what would that involve? Did they hear His footsteps? Did they hear Him talking with His disciples? What exactly what it that they heard that compelled them to cry out, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David?

That which has been denominated ‘the triumphal entry’ does immediately follow this account, in both Matthew and Mark, of these two blind men. And what is it that we hear being proclaimed by these multitudes—very likely the same people following Jesus coming out from Jericho—those that were cutting branches and spreading garments in the way for the entering of Jesus into Jerusalem? Would it not be extremely likely that they were crying out in the very same words?

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.             —Matthew 21:9-11   

It is surely not unreasonable, nor necessarily anachronistic, to expect that same group had sounded out the same exclamations in the hearing of these two blind men. Thus they would have heard that this One passing them by was the long expected prophet. They would understand that the cries equally involved ascribing to Him the names of Lord, and thou son of David. Just because they were physically blind is no reason to assume that they were spiritually so. We may not presume that, while destitute of physical sight, they were destitute of spiritual sight. It is abundantly reasonable to imagine that they heard much over their years, perhaps, of sitting by the way side. They may have been fully cognizant of the promises given Israel. They may have been, with old Simeon, looking for the consolation of Israel. They might have heard tell of Anna, a widow of great age. They could have, in some manner, even heard her as she spake of him to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

These things may have found some root in their minds so that when the Lord passed by, and they heard the cries of the people, these things were brought to the surface so that they realized that this was the One; the Promised One.

Their minds and hearts were so agitated that even when the multitude tried to silence them by rebuke, they could not be silenced, but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. Why could they not be silenced? Why did they continue to suffer the rebukes of the crowd and continue crying unto Jesus? Is it not profoundly to be seen that something had happened to them? All the information that they had received over many years had been silent within them, but when the Savior of the world came passing by, they could no longer hold their peace, but must cry out, addressing Him in the terms which they had been hearing, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. It is equally apparent that while they revivified the teachings of years, more was needed. They must ask in faith whatever they were going to ask of Him. When they cried unto Him, the very next response of Jesus that we are apprised us was declared in these most remarkable words, And Jesus stood still.

Are these not most remarkable words? A sinner cries out, and the Savior hears. Something had transpired in that brief interval of time. May we not believe that what happened was that the Wind blew where it listed? The knowledge of the promised Messiah, stored up for so long, lying dormant in the minds of these blind men was, it appears, quickened by faith, the gift of God. It was surely a true faith that recognized that this One passing by was the Promised One of Simeon and Anna. He was Isaiah’s Lamb being led to the slaughter. These men may have heard the gospel pronounced by the disciples of Christ through some means or other, or not. It is the memory of many of us—especially those converted in later years—how that we heard reports, through a godly grandmother, or it may be, some preacher at a summer Bible camp, that lay dormant in our thoughts for many a year, who knows, until one day, Jesus walks by and we feel our hearts stirred within us, and we only know that we must cry out. We had discovered something in our hearts that was never there before; it was faith. And Jesus recognized the cry of faith, for it was His Holy Spirit that had put that faith there through His sovereign regenerating power. And now we know only this; that once I was blind but now I see.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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