Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara Woods-Washington

“As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped, and commanded him 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 receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 18:35-42).

Luke’s tenth use of ‘pistis/faith’ is a triple tradition pericope known as ‘The Healing Of The Blind Man At Jericho’. Variations reveal first that it is not a faith occurrence for Matthew. Unnamed, two blind men cry out to Jesus asking for their ‘eyes to be opened’. And for Matthew, this restoration of sight for these two men was an ‘act of pity’. Mark has named a single man as a ‘blind beggar, Bartimaeus’ who ‘has heard’ that Jesus is the reason for the multitude gathering. For Luke this blind beggar is unnamed and ‘he hears’ the multitude— and inquires as to the reason for it’s gathering.

Needless to say that the best of the best of New Testament theologians see major problems with this Lucan text; with again— void commentary! To be sure some, including Bultmann, suggests it to be a ‘creation of the early Christian Community’ to further the question of it’s historic authenticity. The discussion centers around the use of the title for Jesus by the blind man— ‘Jesus, Son of David’, which has it’s first occurrence here for Luke.

I received the news story by email of WAPT news’ coverage of two Pearl (Mississippi) Jr. High School students being put off their school bus for saying: “Barack Obama is our President!” With ‘video proof’ from the bus, school officials released the statement that the employees ‘over reacted’ and appropriate action is being taken.

Something in this title ‘Jesus, Son of David’ caused an ‘over reaction’! Time and space does not permit here a righteous examination of the ‘Messianic Hope’ contained in the title used by this blind beggar— “Jesus, Son of David”. Only that a man with ‘no sight’, with keen sense of ‘hearing’ knew that something was going on and when he came to know ‘who’ was in this crowd’ he cried out to him with a title that released rebuke. Having previously looked at ‘rebuke/epitimao’ we see that the form used here is most always used by (hu)man. Then, at best, with limited capabilities. In man’s use of rebuke there is the sense of threat, blame, punishment and even superiority— but not without a response from Jesus.

“… but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” I did say that man’s rebuke has ‘limited capabilities’— make you wanna hollar, throw up both your hands! After being rebuked, “he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped, turned to him and said, ‘What do you want me to do for you?”

by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com