Luke 18:18-43 The Blind Man’s Calling Out


A blind beggar calls out to Jesus as he and the disciples are approaching Jericho. Jesus heals him of his blindness. In this story, Luke is telling us that we can only really see when we come into contact with the divine. Sight is not about our eyes but our souls. True sight is seeing through the eyes of God.

Almost all of Jesus’ teaching have to do with stripping away false sight. Consider the camel going through the eye of the needle. Of all of Jesus’ parables, this is the most like a Zen koan. It is not meant to be explained by the rational mind. It is, in fact, impossible, and Jesus’ tells his disciples that it’s impossible. In order to grasp it, and enter the Kingdom of God, the rational mind must be set aside. Why? Because its rational to worry about the future and hoard our wealth as a security against it. It’s rational to stay right where we are and not wander towards Jerusalem and, possibly, our deaths. It’s rational to fear death which might just mean the extinction of our rational minds. Yet all of this rationality doesn’t serve us. It wants us to feel like we’re in control and presents good reasons to hold onto that control. It will never let us become lost in the wild compassion and wisdom of God.

In these chapters, an understanding of the Kingdom of God and eternal life is intimately tied to prayer. Along with joy, forgiveness, and faith, prayer is one of the four great spiritual concerns of Luke’s Gospel. Whenever the disciples are presented with something that seems impossible or that they can’t understand, Jesus tells them to pray.  At first, it doesn’t seem like prayer is present in this passage, but it is. The blind man’s calling out is a kind of prayer, and his restored sight is a kind of prayer. Prayer is the active dimension of the kind of faith that would allow us to give away everything we own to the poor, and leave everything we know to step onto the road that leads to resurrection. Prayer is a reaching out to the divine, an opening of our eyes to divine sight, an entry into the Kingdom of God. It’s not about our comfort and security, but a forgoing of comfort and security. It’s a kind of freedom from the fear that leads us to seek comfort and security. It is sometimes embarrassing and weird, like calling out again and again in a crowd, making our deepest hopes and needs known to everyone, without embarrassment.