In the days Jesus lived, a blind man might find the road into the new city of Jericho a good place to ask for money.
Jericho had been destroyed by God in Joshua’s day (Joshua chapter six). But, a new city had been rebuilt and became the winter palace for the Hasmonean King Herod.
Matthew 20 tells us Jesus was traveling from old Jericho on the way to Jerusalem when two blind men called out to him. Only one of the men was named in Mark 10:46, Bartimaeus.
“Lord, have mercy on us, son of David,” the blind men cried. Although the crowd following Jesus attempted to silence the two, they cried out even more loudly. After Jesus asked what they wanted, they told him they wanted their eyes to be opened.
Jesus had compassion on them, touched their eyes and they immediately regained their sight (Matthew 20:34). Two companion scriptures in Mark 10:52 and Luke 18:43 tell us these men followed Jesus.
Jesus was a man of compassion, unlike the Pharisees and the priests, though they were supposed to be compassionate (Hebrews 5:1-2), but by Jesus’ day these men who should have had empathy for their brethren really had none. Instead of feelings of love for their fellowmen, all the religious leaders could show was a snobbish sense of self-righteousness.
The love Jesus showed for people should have been a strong signal to the Jews that he was the Messiah, but many people refused to see it. Even the Old Testament spoke of the love of the Messiah for his people (Isaiah 35:5-10; 42:16-19). In fact, Jesus himself echoed Isaiah 61:1-2 in Matthew 11:4-5 when he told John’s disciples almost verbatim what the prophet himself had said 700 years before the birth of the Messiah.
The Jews should have known, but they had closed their eyes to the truth of Jesus’ love.
People alive today — all of us — have the opportunity to open our eyes and see the love of Jesus as he died hanging on a cross for the sins of the world. We should open our eyes and our hearts to see two things. First, we must see the love of Jesus for giving his flesh and blood for our sins. Then, we need to see how terrible sin is because it cost the life of a man who only loved his creation and wanted to save it.
Open your eyes and see what the blind men saw.