Time is winding down on the clock and the home team is driving for what could be a winning touchdown. The crowd roars as each play is bringing them closer to the end zone. With just seconds left, the crowd cheers on the home team. The quarterback is trying to call the signals and realizes his team can’t hear him so he waves his arms to the crowd, imploring them to be quiet enough so that he could call his play. It doesn’t matter what happens now, the point is that crowds tend to make a lot of noise, especially at exciting times. All you can really hear is the swell of the crowd. You don’t know if they are shouting for you or against you on the field.
Jesus attracted crowds wherever he went. I’m sure that sometimes the crowd was relatively quiet so they could listen to him, but I would guess that usually the talking and the discussion of his teachings would make it fairly loud. “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’” (Matthew 20:29-30)
Maybe others close by heard what they were saying and laughed. “He won’t be able to hear you. Quiet you fools!” Maybe some in the crowd following Jesus were upset because they were trying to listen to the teachings of Jesus: you know the kinds of things He taught about like compassion and caring for others. As the story continues in the Bible, though, people tried to quiet these two beggars. Sometimes “certain people” can really ruin a good, joyous celebration. I wonder if they would have asked two rabbis shouting for Jesus’ attention to be quiet? In spite of the fact that people thought that Jesus wouldn’t be able to hear those two specifically, or perhaps they thought that Jesus wouldn’t care, Jesus heard those two specifically in the midst of the crowd and cared enough to stop what he was doing and heal them.
We have become more sophisticated these days. We wouldn’t dare shout out about our needs in a worship service. We wouldn’t draw attention to ourselves and our spiritual needs in a crowd. Maybe that’s part of our problem. We have lost that sense of desperation for God that only Jesus can fill. We would rather be quiet and part of the crowd than let the world know that we have problems. Even worse than the world knowing we have needs is the idea that our fellow Christians might find out our needs. Perhaps someone will mock the fact that we have needs. So, we talk with other Christians with our “the world is fine” masks and get in and out of church without anyone realizing our needs. We bravely face the world and tell them that they need a relationship with Jesus while hiding the fact that we have a need ourselves that only Jesus can fill. We don’t want anyone to know that we’re vulnerable. The amazing thing about God and His grace, though, is that He not only hears the public cries, He hears the silent cries and seeks to find ways to bring healing and restore the relationship you’ve had with Him. It often takes a lot longer when we’re too quiet and we then rob others of the chance to help, or to see the miracles of God working in our lives. Perhaps we need to cry out to Jesus more than we have been.
Lord God, I need You. I need You to look inside my heart and clear away my sin. I need to be forgiven by Your grace. I need You to look at my fears and weaknesses and give me the freedom to show that I am needy to a needy world; I need You to bring healing so that others can see Your power.