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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.”—Matthew 20:34 (NKJV)
Have you ever stopped to wonder why Jesus says the things He does? There are times when His words are confusing, and there’s a perfect example of this in the context of today’s verse.
Toward the end of Matthew chapter 20, we encounter two blind men who are sitting by the road near Jericho when they hear Jesus approaching with a large crowd. These men cry out to Jesus for mercy while the crowds insisted they keep quiet.
Suddenly, Jesus stands still, and with the precision of a major-league pitcher, He throws them a massive curveball. Instead of immediately healing them, He asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Given their obvious physical condition, and knowing His reputation for healing the sick and raising the dead, Jesus’ question seems strange—possibly even cruel. But that’s exactly the point: Jesus isn’t interested in what’s on the surface. He digs deeper to reveal the heart of the matter. So He asks them what they really want.
In that day, beggars relied on the kindness of others to sustain them, and Jews were required by Mosaic law to extend mercy to the blind (Leviticus 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:18). But instead of seeking money or bread, these men ask Jesus to meet their deepest need—to open their eyes.
Having uncovered the true desire of their hearts, Jesus was moved to compassion for them and healed them immediately. The Greek word for compassion here is rooted in the word splanxna, which literally means “the inward parts.” It’s associated with internal organs that were commonly believed to be the “seat of affections” in Middle Eastern culture. In other words, after He revealed their longing to be healed, Jesus felt deeply for these blind beggars—all the way to His core, in fact.
In performing this recorded miracle, Jesus not only demonstrates His authority over the physical realm, but also His incredible kindness, His love, and His care for those who sincerely cry out to Him.
And just so we don’t miss it, by showing compassion to these beggars, Jesus also fulfilled His duty to the law, which He promised He would do in Matthew 5:17. What an amazing and compassionate Savior we serve!
DIG: If Jesus were to ask you what you really want from Him, what would your answer be?
DISCOVER: Read Matthew 7:7-12. What does this passage reveal about God’s heart for you and your desires?
DISPLAY: Spend some time in God’s presence this week. Tell Him exactly what’s on your heart—the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between—and listen for His voice. What you hear may surprise you, but you can be sure that His heart for you is good!
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.