After our Lord preached His famous Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of Matthew begins to paint this very beautiful collage of miracles that Jesus performs throughout all of the villages. The striking feature of these miracles is that they come in all shapes and sizes, showing the world that in all things, God is in control.
Jesus heals a leper by His touch, reminding us that diseases and physical ailments do not stand a chance. He heals the centurion’s servant from a distance, showing that he doesn’t even need to be present in order to make people well. Jesus calms a raging ocean, reminding us that even the violent forces of nature obey His command. He drives out the Demons from the Demoniac, proving that even the Devil flees at the sound of His Voice. Our Lord raises Jairus’s little girl from the dead, proving that even death itself runs and hides from the Glory of God!
When we read through all of the miracles that Jesus was apart of, how can we not have tremendous peace on our lives, knowing that God is truly in control of EVERYTHING in this life? The problem is that, despite knowing this reality with our minds, it doesn’t always translate into our hearts. Even knowing God is in control, we still don’t change the way that we think, act, and live on a day to day basis.
Just for a moment, imagine a world where every man, woman, and child truly lived as if God was in control. Life wouldn’t be as complicated as it is in the fallen world. We would all live like children, without a care or a bother in the world…knowing that we had a Father Who loved us and was in control.
In order to help the world reach that kind of faith, we have to first allow our own hearts to be immersed in reality. The Blind Men that were healed by Christ in Matthew’s Gospel provide for us an example of how to receive our sight!
To set the scene for us, Jesus had just raised a little girl from the dead, and was not being followed by two blind men, who after pleading with our Lord for mercy, were healed and received their sight. In these four verses of Matthew (9:27-9:29), we are shown the three things that are necessary for us to begin to see the world differently.
The Blind Men “Followed After Christ”
You would think this would be pretty obvious! In order to be with our Lord, you have to follow Him! But imagine how difficult it must have been for these men to follow after Jesus. When you are unable to see, your sense of security comes from knowing your surroundings. You have to know where the steps are and where the buildings are placed. Yet these men stumbled out of their comfort zone in order to approach Christ, because that is what disciples do!
I think there are times in our own lives where we don’t like to step out of our comfort zone in order to follow our Lord: “I come to Church on Sundays…I don’t hurt anyone…I pop open my bible every once in a while…I think I’m good.” Rather than continuing to follow, we expect Jesus to follow us, and this kind of relationship is completely upside down.
Christ does indeed meet us where we are at, but then He leads and we follow. We come to more services than we are used to. We practice obedience through fasting. We increase our spiritual reading and our prayer rules year by year. We reduce the amount of time spent arguing or getting fired up on the internet, and instead meditate on the Glorious of God in our own life. Our Lord Says: “Come…follow Me!” …and like the Blind Men, that is what we do.
Struggle to Say the Jesus Prayer
The Jesus Prayer is the most powerful prayer we have in Orthodox Christianity. It is an appeal for mercy, and we echo the words of the Blind Men in today’s Gospel, who cried out: “Jesus…Son of David…Have Mercy on Me!”
We could spend an entire year’s worth of Sunday Homilies preaching about this incredible prayer, which acts as a crying out not just from our lips, but from our hearts! Practicing this prayer every single day is how we meet and surpass every obstacle in our life. Our protection, our strength, and our faith is empowered simply by calling on His name through this prayer. Practice it every day!
Faith and Confidence in His Power
Jesus asked the blind men: “Do you believe I am able to do this? Do you have confidence in me to do what you are asking?”. Their response was very simple: “Yes Lord…”
These men had not seen our Lord’s Power with their physical eyes, yet through their prayers, they still believed in Him, because they had something that we so often lack in our day and age:
THE PERFECT SIGHT THAT COMES FROM FAITH.
Faith is the hardest thing for us to maintain in everyday life, because we are living in a culture of denial of God. We get excited when we hear a government official end a speech by saying: “God Bless Us…and God Bless the United States of America” because we hear the name of God mentioned by a leader of society. Are we grateful for that? Yes! But how low are our expectations of society that we get excited just hearing his name mentioned in public?
It is so important for us as Christians to fight against the currents of fallen society, and to not let our family and friends forget about the power of God and His presence in the World. Why do we do this? Because we know from experience what happens when society becomes blind and loses its faith.
Why is there such division amongst our nation? Because when we can’t see God in society, we forget that His image lives within each and every one of us.
Why are suicide and depression rates as high as they have EVER been in our country’s history? Because without God, there is no hope or purpose to existence.
Why do we have such anxiety about the effects of a world-wide pandemic? Because we have forgotten of God’s Power, and have lost faith in the fact that in all things, He is in control.
We have lost trust that whatever happens to us is for the benefit of our soul and for our salvation.
Always remember, faith is essential, trust is necessary, and confidence in God’s Love for us is non-negotiable, if we are to survive the waves that the fallen world throws at us.
Let us all continue to imitate the blind men from the Gospel of Matthew, and follow after our Lord, calling His Name through prayer, and gaining the faith and confidence in His Love for all mankind…Amen.