Slash & Burn Meets Heal & Restore


March 16, 2016

By Matthew Crebbin.

Scripture: Luke 18: 35-43 (NRSV)

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.

REFLECTION:

We don't know the bible. More to the point, we don't know our many scriptural stories which often inform one another. I think that Luke was counting on us who hear the story of Jesus and the Blind Beggar of knowing another story from scriptures.

The blind man yells out "Jesus, Son of David. Up until now Luke had little interest in this title. But this story reminds us of a story told about David in Second Samuel. King David was marching towards Jerusalem to retake it from the Jebusites. The Jebusites taunted David by telling him that the blind and the lame would stop him. So David, the ancient king declared his disdain for those who would hinder him. "Whoever wishes to strike down the Jebusites, let him… attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.' Therefore it is said, 'The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.' " (2 Samuel 5: 7-8)

When David came to take Jerusalem, the blind and the lame were seen as an impediment to him - in fact they would not be a part of his community. They would be set on the outside - unwelcome to enter into David's palace. For David, those who were unclean or in his way would be destroyed. They were to be hated. David's operative style for victory was "slash and burn."

No doubt many in the crowd around Jesus thought that this was how he would "take" Jerusalem as well. Even now there are those who see Jesus more as 'David the Destroyer' than as one who comes as the 'Merciful Prince of Peace.'

Rather than striking down or stepping over the blind man, Jesus calls to him and heals him. He offers compassion with no expectation of anything in return. In this moment, Jesus demonstrated what was at the heart of his movement and central to the way of transformation. Jesus would not slash and burn, but would heal and restore. He would not divide and conquer, but unify and embrace. Even after Jesus released him, we are told that the healed man "followed him on the way." The one who was once an outsider - became a part of Jesus' community.

This lead-in story from Luke tells us much about the One who will soon head into Jerusalem with a sea of leafy branches and cloaks spread before him. This is the Hosanna who comes into Jerusalem and announces the in-breaking realm of God that is founded on mercy and compassion.

PRAYER

Holy and gracious One. Grant that as we celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, that we might become more fully a people who heal and restore. May we not only welcome the Hosanna who comes into our lives but also embrace those ignored on life's roadside. May Your realm of mercy transform all who follow You on the way. Amen

Spirited Wednesday: March 16, 2016 , by Matthew Crebbin.