In Matthew 9:27-31, we encounter Jesus and two unusual followers:
When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
I call them unusual followers because these two men are both blind and yet are able to follow Jesus. Apparently it is not hard even for these two humans who can’t see Jesus to find Jesus and to follow Him! Why is it that we who have eyesight find it difficult to find Him let alone follow Him? The Gospel really is for us who can’t see Jesus – Jesus calls blessed those who haven’t seen and yet believe.
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:28-31)
The Gospels were written for those of us who cannot see Jesus. We have opportunity to believe in Him through the experiences of others who did see Him.
Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
The New Testament and the Church both exist to give new people opportunity to hear about Jesus, believe in Him, to receive eternal life from Him, and to obtain salvation through Him. But we are not required to see Him, and as becomes obvious in the Scriptures many who saw Him gained no advantage from that experience for only in the resurrection, in the proclamation of the Good News and in the Eucharist did they come to believe in Him. The two blind men of the Matthew 9 follow Christ without being able to see Him. They believe in Him without being able to see Him. They pray to Him even though they can’t see Him. Jesus shows to everyone that you don’t have to see Him to believe in Him.
And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened.
Jesus asks the two blind men if they believe He can give them sight – even though they can’t see Him or see what He does. Jesus responds by really saying, “well, let’s see if you believe it or not.” The issue isn’t whether Jesus can give them sight or not but if they believe he can or not. Jesus puts the onus on them – let it be according to what you really believe. Only because they have faith in Jesus are their eyes opened and they see Jesus.
And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country.
What is it that Jesus wants them to keep secret? That Jesus healed them? That they could now see would become obvious to anyone who knew them. Was Jesus telling them not to boast about their own faith – as if they had the power to heal themselves? Or not to boast about having been favored by God for healing as if they were more righteous than those not healed? In any case they do go forward to tell everyone about Jesus, not about themselves. Now that they can see who Jesus is, they don’t talk to Him, but rather they tell others about Him.
Those two people who followed Jesus when they were blind, no longer follow after Him once they can see, for after being given sight, they go out to proclaim what they know about Jesus Christ the Son of God. Because they now can see they do not have to live where they can physically see Jesus, for now they know who He is.
And Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29)
Martha said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” (John 11:27)
Even if we cannot see Jesus today, we can find Him, follow Him, and pray to Him for mercy. We can do all the same things that those described in the Gospel did and we too can proclaim the Good News about Christ to everyone we know.