Quinquagesima – Luke 18:31-43

Click here for the reading: Luke 18:31-43.

The blind man cannot see the sons of Jesse pass by, but he knows Who Jesus of Nazareth is and what He can do. The blind man cannot be impressed by how people look or how they are looked at by others. The blind man cannot see the things on which the seeing man fixates. The blind man could not see that the fruit in the garden looked wonderful. But the blind man can hear about Jesus.

The Bible’s preference for hearing over sight is a temporary one. Some day we shall see Him and love His appearing, but for now hearing is far better, even as the prophecies of Scripture are more sure for Saint Peter even than the vision on the mountain he, James, and John were granted (2 Pet. 1). When the blind hear, they too believe and cry out to David’s Son.

David’s Son is able to do all things well. He is coming into His kingdom, and the blind man believes in His power to save and to heal. These wonders have still more to follow, but what follows is strange even to His closest disciples. What follows is what He has determined in His heart to do: the suffering and the death He must face at His own people’s hands. Why is this strange even to His disciples?

“Everything that is written about the Son of Man” should have prepared the disciples to receive His teaching and to understand what had to occur – how necessary for the world’s salvation and renewal is His glorious death, how much His resurrection will mean for a change in all things forever. They should have understood what the Scriptures say and what the Lord teaches, “but they understood none of these things.”

For now, these things are “hidden from them.” The knowledge of the Lord and the love of all He teaches and all He is a gift. No one comes by it naturally, and both His work of salvation for us and His opening of our minds and hearts to grasp His salvation are gifts. The Lord does not give or do or teach according to our expectation anymore than He would choose Israel’s king from among the candidates presumed likely to inherit the throne. All His works and all His ways are His own, and He chooses to reveal His Son and all things to us from sheer grace.

So we do not pray to know all and to surpass all others in our knowledge. We do not pray for might and power. He will give knowledge, might, and power in His Spirit as He sees fit and to whom it is His pleasure to give. Instead, we pray to know our blindness and to ask for grace and light. We pray for our eyes to be opened and for our minds to be opened to understand the Scriptures. We pray to receive our sight and for Him not to keep hidden His whole counsel of wisdom, truth, and grace.