Why did people follow Jesus? There is an example in Matthew 20, “there were two blind men sitting by the roadside” (verse 30) who cried out when they were told Jesus was passing by, “Lord, have mercy on us, ‘Son of David’”. To call him ‘Son of David’ meant they acknowledged him as the Messiah. “Jesus called them and said, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’” With what sense of potential wonder would they have replied, “Let our eyes be opened” (verse 33)?
Jesus reacted – “in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight”. And what did they do then? They “followed him” (verse 34). This was in contrast to others; nine of the ten healed lepers did not even return to express their gratitude (Luke 17:15-18), and when the people came to see the madman whom Jesus healed “clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid … and they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region” (Mark 5:15,16). The loss of the pigs dominated their thinking. What dominates ours?
Our world is full of spiritually blind people and others with the leprosy of sinful godless ways; just a few are like the Ephesians, who, Paul said, have had “the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance” (1:18). But few have such “eyes” – Peter wrote of those who “have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed” (2 Peter 2:14).
Two days ago in Matthew 19 we read the answer of Jesus to the “man who came up to him, saying ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (verse 17). But eternal life is not achieved by a ‘one off’ good deed is it! This man was wealthy, and he needed to get rid of that in which he trusted, so Jesus told him, “… go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (verse 21).
That was not the answer he was looking for “he went away sorrowful”. What answer are we looking for? Hopefully we have found that answer and are among those who “followed him” making our lives count in some meaningful ways, according to our abilities, in the way we follow him.