Have you ever taken a road trip? I think there are two types of road trippers—the first are those that have their starting point, ending point and want to get there as fast as possible. This, of course, means few stops and a driving sense of needing to get to the destination. The other road tripper is the one who knows where they are starting and where they are ending but remain open to detours, delays and opportunities along the journey. Which type of road tripper are you?
There is a key moment in Jesus’ journey towards Holy Week that strikes me. They have left the countryside and are heading to the city, Jerusalem. The crowd following Jesus know that the destination is Jerusalem as fellow pilgrims are making their way to the Holy City for one of the prescribed festivals of Judaism. Along the way, in the Jordan Valley, they traverse make their way through Jericho. They still have quite a way to go to arrive at Jerusalem and the crowd is functioning in the ‘let’s get there and make great time!’ model.
In the midst of their urgency, they hear two men daring to distract them from the mission at hand—getting to Jerusalem. The crowd wants them silent so they can keep moving, but they simply won’t be quieted. Read Matthew 20:29-34.
The cry of the oppressed, the poor, the disabled, and the least resounds in these 2 blind men—“Have mercy on us, Lord!” They are in deep need and the crowd seemingly didn’t want to hear of their plight let alone stop to grant mercy to them. Instead of passing by, Jesus stops the caravan and engages them. I can just hear the complaints—“You’re wasting time, Jesus!” “Oh, just ignore their crying” “We have other more important things to do…we have a schedule to keep!”
Yet Jesus only hears their plight. Remember his mission statement from Tuesday? “…to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind…” In this moment, when the crowd wants to ignore the pleas, Jesus pauses and has compassion on them. Their lives are changed, they join the caravan, and they head to Jerusalem. I wonder, are we sometimes in such a hurry that we become immune to the needs among our fellow sojourners?