Finding Strength in Discouragement

“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed Him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'”

Have you ever been silenced by a crowd? We all have! Peer pressure, intimidation, rejection, rebukes…it hurts. It’s scary. These real and strong forces can be hard to stand up to, hard to overcome.

But Jesus has what we truly need. He is what we need. When life is pulling us away from Him, and distractions are….well, distracting, How do we stand firm?

How do we silence the noise to hear Jesus? Let’s follow Jesus out of Jericho with those in Matthew 20 for encouragement…

“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed Him.”

There is a great crowd following Jesus. They have no doubt heard of His power, maybe they’ve even seen Him heal a leper or raise a boy from the dead. Whether they realized He was the Son of God or not, they knew He was special and powerful. They were curious enough to stop what they were doing and follow Him. They each had a need, and they thought maybe, just maybe, He has the answer. I wonder how many realized He is the answer.

“And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'”

Blind men, sitting by the roadside, probably begging for food because they had no other options. They were at the mercy of others and dependent on them for their every need.

Suddenly, they hear the sounds of a large crowd approaching. Perhaps they hear shouting as people rush past them, running toward the approaching crowd, “It’s Jesus! He’s here!” Or maybe someone kneels down on their mat and gently whispers, “It’s Jesus. He can heal you.”

They just know that Jesus is coming near and they are not going to miss this chance! But, The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent…

The crowd following Jesus tells these men to be quiet. What? They know Jesus can heal. Why would they rebuke these men and try to silence their cries of help?

  • Maybe their own needs blind them to the needs of these two blind men.
  • Maybe they want Jesus to focus on them and are afraid these men will be a distraction.
  • Maybe they are simply enjoying following Jesus, and they know if these men call out, Jesus will hear and probably stop. They like being in the crowd, and these men could stop their fun, might end the excitement.

The crowd is focused on following Jesus while missing the reason He came–to love people and save them!

And what do these blind men do, these men who so desperately need Jesus, but are also dependent on the men yelling at them to “Be quiet”?

but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'”

  • When the crowd said, “Be quiet,” they got louder.
  • When the crowd tried to keep them from Jesus, they pushed their way towards Him even more.

We must do the same! 

Beloved, don’t let the crowd keep you from the mercy and love you need. Whatever and whoever is pulling you away from Jesus, stand firm! They don’t have your best interest at heart. Whatever their motivation–pain, fear, loneliness, jealousy, or a host of other negative emotions–don’t let loud screams of negativity cause you to miss the love and hope that Jesus is offering. Nothing–no thing and no one–can keep us from the love of Christ… unless we let it! Don’t allow anything to keep you from the hope and joy that are yours in Christ.

Run hard after Jesus as if nothing else matters! He will take care of the crowd, and He will take care of you. Distractions, hardships, unbelievers…so many trying to silence or stop us from getting to Him. Run all the harder, cry out all the more…He is who we need!

Father, this world is loud and the distractions are constant. Please strengthen me to hear You above the noise of the crowd. Help me stand strong and firm against the forces pulling me away. Give me such a strong desire for You that nothing and no one can keep me from You. I cry out to You for mercy and I thank You that You love me and You hear me. Strengthen me, Lord, to follow You even when it is against the crowd. In Jesus’ mighty beautiful name, Amen.

Be alert

~*~

The crowd was discouraging the blind men from seeking Jesus. That is the opposite of love and friendship! We must encourage each other and push one another closer and closer to Him. What does this look like? In the next post, let’s look at that and we’ll see what it looks like to love others more than ourselves. Until then, I pray abundant blessings for you, and may we both run after Jesus as if nothing is more important…because nothing is!

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