But as Darrell Bock indicates, our “need for mercy is often associated with sin, and sometimes mercy is needed because the plight is particularly desperate.”
In its fullest sense, mercy is the love of God for sinners, the grace by which he rescues us from our lost and sorry condition. Mercy is what David asked for when he prayed: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” (Ps. 51:1). Whether he realized it or not, when the blind man asked for mercy he was asking Jesus for something more than his sight; he was begging for his salvation.
Richard Phillips points out that the various miracles in Luke show us the deadly and disabling effects of sin: “Leprosy shows sin’s corrupting power and condemning presence. The lame show sin’s debilitating power. The dead proclaim the wages of sin; the demon-possessed show the destructive domination that is always the result of our bondage to sin and to Satan.”
Someone once asked Helen Keller, “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?” She responded by saying, “Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”
The trusting aspect of faith was graphically illustrated in the ministry of John Paton, for when Paton
first went out as a pioneer missionary to the New Hebrides islands, he found that the natives among whom he began to work had no way of writing their language. He began to learn it and in time began to work on a translation of the Bible for them. Soon he discovered that they had no world for “faith.” This was serious, of course, for a person can hardly translate the Bible without it. One day he went on a hunt with one of the natives. They shot a large deer in the course of the hunt, and tying its legs together and supporting it on a pole, laboriously trekked back down the mountain path to Paton’s home near the seashore. As they reached the veranda both men threw the deer down, and the native immediately flopped into one of the deck chairs that stood on the porch exclaiming, “My, it is good to stretch yourself out here and rest.” Paton immediately jumped to his feet and recorded the phrase. In his final translation of the New Testament this was the word used to convey the idea of trust, faith, and belief.
Faith is resting on Jesus for salvation. Or, to use the most famous definition of all, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). There is no better example than the blind man by the Jericho road, who was certain of what he did not see!
Will you see Jesus? Do not let him pass you by! Imagine how tragic it would have been if the blind man in Jericho had heard Jesus walking by but never cried out to him in faith. Unless the man had raised his voice at that very moment, he would have missed his chance to see Jesus, and he would have been lost forever. Now Jesus has come your way. Will you call out to him in faith? Jesus has to be believed to be seen; if you believe in him, you will see him, and by his mercy you will be saved.