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God’s Word for You

Luke 18:40-43 I want to see

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, December 21, 2018

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, I want to see.”

After the blind man said, “Have mercy on me,” Jesus’ question is wide open: “What do you want me to do for you?” He could have asked anything of Jesus; he asked for the obvious. I want to see.

There is no mystical meaning behind his words. He wasn’t asking for philosophical enlightenment, but light itself, at its simplest. He wanted to see the people he spoke to. He wanted to stop bumping his shins on things and tripping over stones. He wanted to have a gift God gives to almost everyone. Had he heard of other times Jesus had given sight to the blind? Whether he had or not (and there is no way we can say that he had), he believed that Jesus was the one who could make him see again. Jesus had told John the Baptist, “He (the Lord God) has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind” (Luke 4:18; cp. Isaiah 61:1-2). By believing this, this blind man showed that he saw what the crowd was blind to: Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.”
43 Immediately he received his sight. He followed Jesus, glorifying God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

The three verbs are very nearly identical, with minor changes in who is speaking and in Jesus’ case an imperative command rather than a statement, but we could have translated:

  “I want to see!”
  “See!”
  “Immediately, he saw.”

This is the last of the great healing miracles Jesus performed in his ministry. True, he healed the ear of Malchus in the Garden on Maundy Thursday (Luke 22:50-51) and some blind and lame people on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:14), but this was the last time where he used a healing as a lesson for his preaching before a large crowd.

Cyril of Alexandria points out that this story is a good illustration of prayer. He says: “Faith sets us in Christ’s presence, and so brings us unto God, for us to be even counted worthy of his words. For when the blind man was brought to him, he asked him, ‘What do want me to do for you?’ Was his request unknown to Jesus? Wasn’t it plain that he sought to be delivered from the malady that afflicted him?” Jesus invited the man to tell him what he wanted so that the crowd could see that he didn’t want money or alms from Jesus (he was a beggar), but that he trusted that the Lord Jesus could cure his illness. Asking Jesus to perform a divine act, he showed that he had faith in Jesus as true God.

Finally, when the man was healed, he followed Jesus “glorifying God.” When people saw this, they praised God, too. When we give God credit for the things he does in our lives, he is glorified, and we are proclaiming him: “Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day” (Psalm 96:2). Give God glory for the things he does, and share the message of God’s salvation with the world.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



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