God is for you, not against you:
People might be against you. Circumstances might be against you. But God is for you.
That is the message that people need to hear, regardless of their background. That is the good news for communities living without hope.
We have been brought into God’s family:
The blind beggar and the tax collector were both excluded by the crowd. The beggar recognises that Jesus is the Son of David: the one who will restore the fortunes of God’s people. By calling the tax collector a son of Abraham, Jesus pushes-out the boundaries: for though the people traced their ancestry back to Abraham, Abraham was called by God to be father of many nations. By calling himself the Son of Man – Adam’s son, or Human Being [Luke’s genealogy of Jesus ends ‘...the son of Adam, the son of God.’ Lk 3:38] – Jesus pushes-out the boundaries even more: we are all children of Adam.
God’s family embraces everyone.
Jesus is passing through:
The crowd are also part of God’s family, but for them Jesus passes through and they miss the moment. He is on his way to Jerusalem, to die, and (though that is not the end of the story) he never passes through Jericho again. The crowd were part of God’s family, but were missing out on the implications of that privilege, the rights and responsibilities. But two men want to see Jesus, and both respond: the beggar who receives his sight praises God, and as a result others join in; the tax collector radically downsizes, in order to meet the needs of others. The beggar follows Jesus on the road; the tax collector hosts him in the heat of the day. For each, their response has a consequence that will take them out of their comfort zone.
Jesus is passing through. Passing through the neighbourhood. Passing through our services on a Sunday. Passing through. So how will you respond?