He took the twelve aside and said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.” But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 18:31-42)
We can be more blind sometimes than the blindest man Jesus ever healed. Luke’s juxtaposition of the blindness of his disciples and the healing of a blind man was not accidental. Luke wanted to make a point about how sight—understanding—is a gift of God. Jesus could not have been more clear with his disciples about what was about to happen to him when they got to Jerusalem. But still the disciples didn’t get it. They thought the Messiah would kill the Romans, not get killed by them.
Why were they blind? Because they thought they already knew what was going on. They were convinced that they could see, when they couldn’t see at all.
The blind man knew he was blind. So Jesus healed him and told him that his faith had saved him. Not “healed him.” Saved him. How so? His faith had made him seek out Jesus. His only expectation for what the Messiah would do was to end his blindness. His mind wasn’t clouded by any other expectation.
In contrast, Jesus’ disciples were blinded by what they thought they could see: by what they thought they knew of the Messiah. The blind man understood better. We can miss Jesus’ message because we think we know it better than we really do.