(continued from Flat Tire-d part 2)
The greatest parking spot of all time turned out to be a location of shame. After several frustrating minutes, I yanked that jammed jack out from under the van. As I muttered under my breath and dropped the jack to the ground in defeat, it occurred to me how pathetic I must seem. My increasingly dirty kakis gave away my failing as a man. I couldn't even elevate the van and change the tire. In front of everyone passing by, I must have looked like a pitiful fool. Thoughts of "poor guy" or "I'm glad I'm not him" must have crossed some passing minds. And yet no one noticed me enough to stop… to help… or even offer sympathy. I remember thinking, “Is someone going to notice me? Doesn’t someone consider me worthy enough of their attention? Won't somebody please have mercy on me?"
There’s this little scene in the book of Luke, just 20 verses before the story of the blind beggar. People are bringing babies and children to Jesus so that Jesus would bless them. The disciples saw this and thought, “They don’t deserve to have the master’s attention. These little kids should be put away, where we can’t see them, where we can’t hear them, where we won’t be bothered by them. Jesus is for big people, like us.” So it says in Luke 18 verse 16, that the disciples “rebuked” the parents and family members of these little kids.
And the same thing happens to the blind man. As he’s shouted above the noise of the crowd, trying to get the attention of the King of Israel (“Jesus, Son of David, (ebehsan me) have mercy on me!”) the crowd began to “rebuke” him. “Shut up, blind man! The master shouldn’t be bothered by you. You can’t see him and he shouldn’t have to see you! You don’t deserve his attention. Be quiet!” Literally, the crowd told him: “Hold your tongue!”
I was tempted to slip into a feeling of despair and misery as I cranked up the van and pulled off the flat tire. No one cares, I thought. Everyone’s concerned about their own errands and lists and milk and cereal. “I’m all alone in this. A sea of people passing by me, and yet I’m completely alone and a bother to their plans.”
This is the moment where I become impressed by the blind man. Despite the pressure against him, the blind man pressed on. The crowd pushed him down and still he rose up. Luke says the blind man, when the crowd told him to be quiet, actually “shouted all the more”. He continued to shout. Nothing would deter him from receiving Jesus. He did not want Jesus to pass by. So he yelled out again and again and again, “JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!"
These cries for mercy to Jesus are essential to faith. In other places in the Bible people call out to Jesus for mercy. They recognize that Jesus has the power that they need to live and the undeserved love that they need to experience. Jesus attends to each one of them and answers their call and gives healing.
I just wanted somebody to take a few seconds and notice me. Even just a simple recognition, is all I wanted: “So you’ve got a flat tire, eh?” (again, I was in Canada at the time, eh.) I just wanted acknowledgment of my predicament. You know, a “Bummer, that’s too bad. That stinks.” I pulled off the flat tire, and got that heavy, hard, wimpy-looking spare out. Fifteen minutes had gone by and not one person stopped. So I prayed. I called out to God, “Lord, would you notice me; would you help out me out?"
(to be continued tomorrow)
 Mt 9:27 Mt 15:22 Mt 17:15
*"Flat Tire-d" was originally delivered as a sermon 8 eight years ago.