It’s kind of fascinating to think about Jesus’ teaching style.
(I know, at least half of you just rolled your eyes.) So maybe reflecting on the pedagogical theory of Christ isn’t your idea of a good time on a Saturday night–I get it. 😉
But have you ever considered the way he responded to people?
First, I think we have to appreciate the fact that all the people who came to him were looking for him to do something for them. Oftentimes, there was a never-ending stream of paparazzi following him around, pushing past each other to reach him and to bring him their requests. (Several of them toting a demon-possessed child or friend with a terminal illness, no less… imagine those work conditions.) That’s kind of frustrating. At least I would be frustrated. Jesus never seemed bothered by it.
His closest friends, despite the best of intentions, let him down again and again, prompting Jesus to continually rephrase and repeat himself again and again.
Add to that, the fact that the Pharisees were all talking smack about him and very publicly prodding him with questions intended to trap him. No pressure.
Sure, he was God, but he was also human. He must have been tired. Tempted toward discouragement. And yet, one day in Jericho, he was on his way out when two blind men shouted after him, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 20:30). The crowd around them basically told them to shut up (which might give us a bit of insight into the status of these men in town), but they only shouted louder.
Jesus could have ignored them. (I mean, come on, you can’t reach everybody. You’ve been working hard without any breaks, the Pharisees have been busting your chops, you keep trying to tell the dozen of your closest friends that you’ll soon be brutally murdered, willingly, and resurrected soon after for their sake but they’re just not getting it… and this blind duo is little else than a burden on their community.) No one could have blamed him if he were to just keep going. But, of course, Jesus is not us. Verse 32:
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
This is strange to me. Isn’t it obvious what they want? Why would Jesus ask?
Could it be that he asks because we don’t ask ourselves? It’s all too easy and common for us to get so consumed with what we want (or, to those of us who are brutally honest with ourselves, too busy complaining about what we don’t have) that we lose sight of why we want it.
But here, the Great Teacher, who had no reason outside of his own loving compassion for these men that nobody else saw to act, hears them. Sees them. Stops. Asks.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Is it possible that he was drawing an answer out of them that even they didn’t realize? Physical sight was an obvious deficit, but what about spiritual insight? A clearer view of the world that advertises shallow answers to deep questions. Superficial fulfillment for supernatural aches.
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”
Even in healing, he is teaching.
In truly seeing for the first first time, they became aware of their actual need. For him.
What do you want God to do for you? It’s an interesting question to consider; and one he welcomes us to ask–and never tires of answering.