Do you want to see?

Pencil Preaching for Friday, December 3, 2021

“Let it be done for you according to your faith” (Matthew 9:30).

Is 29:17-24” Matt 9:27-31

We might wonder what brought two blind men together for mutual support. Perhaps they found themselves sitting next to one another along the road, competing for the same pity and pittance, but still welcoming the companionship because they had so much in common.  What did they talk about?  Were their stories similar—blind from birth or blinded by disease or some accident?  Where are their families, what insights and strategies have enabled them to survive? 

Keen of ear and used to picking up news from the passing crowds, they learn that a preacher named Jesus is passing by and that he has worked miracles in other towns, is even discussed as the promised messiah. If they had been to synagogue on the Sabbath, they would know that the prophet Isaiah foretold that when God saved his people, the blind would see and the deaf would hear. Was this man the promised savior?

As Jesus passes by, they cry out, “Son of David,” a messianic title, and ask for compassion. To their surprise, Jesus stops and begins to question them. "Do you believe that I can do this for you?" (Matt 9:28). As in so many of his healing miracles, Jesus emphasizes that it is the person’s faith that makes the miracle possible. If they really believe and want something to happen, grace will meet them halfway and a way forward will be offered.  But can they accept all the implications and opportunities that will come if their prayer is answered?

 Jesus probes their faith. Do they understand what they are asking for? If they are granted sight, their entire lives will be changed. They will no longer be beggars. They will have to find a new way to live and to support themselves.  But even more, they will have encountered Jesus.  Physical sight in the gospels is always linked to faith, and faith leads to discipleship. How far are these men willing to go?

The adage, "Be careful what you pray for; you might get it," is relevant to this story. Do we really want to see as God sees? Do we really want to leave behind our self-affirming blindness to become disciples of justice and love in a troubled world? Advent prepares us to welcome the light that reveals God's active presence in our lives. Do we really believe that God can do this? If we do, Christmas is about to come true for us.

Pat Marrin

Pat is the former editor of our sister publication, Celebration, and he also served as NCR cartoonist. After retirement in 2016, Pat continues to contribute to NCR with his Francis comic strip and Pencil Preaching. Contact him at

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