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Friday, March 18, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 18:18–43  

A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.” But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God. (NRSV)

The story of Jesus, on his way to Jericho, stopping to heal the blind man, can be viewed in two very different ways, the first being a person in need has the ability to hold Jesus for ransom, and the second being that of a transactional agreement between two people.

Why do I say this man is holding Jesus for ransom? Ransom and transactional are scary words, but they stand to define how I see our relationship with Jesus. Nothing negative, just my view. The man calls out to Jesus, even yells over people shushing him. He demands his healing. The blind man is pegging on the mercy of the Son of David, that Jesus, because of his divinity and patronage, would do so. When Jesus says, “What do you want me to do for you?” the blind man does not give flowery verse, nor does he beg. He simply says, “Lord, I want to see” to which Jesus responds, “Your faith has healed you.”It’s that simple. Jesus had something the blind man needed: healing. When given what he asked for, he worshiped the Lord, transaction done. This story is one of give and take, where both sides benefit.

Lord, I give you thanks, for all the things I held you ransom for, for all my wants and needs that have gone unsaid but you have heard. Lord, help me to understand that mercy can be my faith, and I can be healed of my self-inflicted blindness. Help me to shout louder than those who wish to see me silenced and to call out to you when I need you the most. In your loving name I pray. Amen.

Written by Tisha Mason, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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