Rising Above the Crowd & Refusing to Be Silenced

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specially, today’s passage begins with the thirty-fifth verse of the eighteenth chapter and continues through to the tenth verse of the nineteenth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find two distinct events written and recorded by the beloved physician which aren’t recorded in any of the other gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. As you draw near and approach the words which are found and contained within this passage of scripture you will find Jesus continuing on His road and journey to the city of Jerusalem, and while on the way to the city of Jerusalem He sought to pass through the city of Jericho. If there is one thing that amazes me about the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ it’s the intentionality and deliberate intention and purpose He continually walked in and exercised during and throughout His ministry. If you read the four gospels—even with a cursory glance and surface level interest—you will quickly notice and discover that within and throughout the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ He walked with a tremendous amount of purpose and His actions were intentional and deliberate. You cannot and will not read the four gospels and find that Jesus did not walk with a clearly defined purpose and mission, for everything He did, everything He said, and everywhere He went was according to all He had seen the Father do and all He bears the Father do. We dare not miss the incredible and tremendous significance of this when attempting to read and understand the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for the life and ministry of Jesus was filled with intentionality and purpose, and there was nothing He did, and there was no place He went that was not divinely orchestrated by the divine will and purpose of the Father. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John when you read concerning Jesus how He must needs go through Samaria. What I so love about scripture is that more often than not states that Jesus must needs travel through somewhere or travel to somewhere, it doesn’t give the reason, nor does it provide us with a detailed explanation as to what Jesus is bearing from the Father. Perhaps the one single exception to this is when Jesus speaks of His need to journey unto the city of Jerusalem, for when speaking unto His disciples He described and declared unto them how it would be within the city of Jerusalem where He would be betrayed, where He would suffer at the hands of the scribes, elders of Israel, and chief priests of Israel. What’s more, is that when speaking unto His disciples concerning Jerusalem He states that it would be in Jerusalem where He would be beaten, mocked, spat upon and ultimately killed. Jerusalem is the only exception to this rule, for when speaking concerning Jerusalem the four gospel authors present us with the goal of Jesus’ going to the city of Jerusalem.

YOULL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL WE GET THERE! YOU HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE WHAT I WILL DO! YOU HABE TO WAIT TO SEE WHAG NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE! When you read the fourth gospel of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John you will find it written that Jesus must needs journey through the city of Samaria, although it doesn’t give us the reason why Jesus would need to make His journey through this particular region. The only thing we know about Jesus is that there was a need, a reason and a purpose for His journey through the region of Samaria, and we are left to continue reading if we wish to understand that which Jesus is up to and that which He sees the Father doing in the earth. The apostle John reveals unto us Jesus’ need to journey through Samaria, although He leaves us to wonder as to why Jesus would need to make His way through this region which was avoided by the Jewish people. It I sent until Jesus enters into Samaria and sits down a well that we begin to catch a glimpse of what He was doing and what the Father was up to. It’s when we find Jesus sitting at a well in the region of Samaria that we find Him encountering a woman who came to the well to draw water as she had always fond. Oh please don’t miss this, for although scripture reveals how Jesus must needs go through Samaria, we aren’t immediately given the reason, nor are we given the explanation as to why Jesus needed to travel and journey through this shunned region. Once there, however, we come face to face with the incredible reality of why Jesus needed to pass through Samaria, for He essentially went for this one single Samaritan woman who would come to this well. Undoubtedly He knew this woman came to this particular well, and He knew that she came to this particular well at this particular time during the day. If there is one thing we must learn and understand about us as humans it’s that we are creatures of habit, and that there are a number of things we do and actions we take that are nothing more than us on autopilot. This particular woman had a habit of going to the well at this particular time during the day, and Jesus knew and understood that, and deliberately and intentionally sat down at this well. Not only was Jesus deliberate about traveling through Samaria, but He was intentional about the time of day in which He passed through Samaria, and even about the very well He would sit down at.

As you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that more often than not He was not scared, nor was He intimidated by the needs of men. In fact—much like a firefighter rushes into a burning building to save the lives of those trapped inside—Jesus races and rushed into the places of need without thinking twice. You cannot read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and not come face to face with the incredible and tremendous reality that Jesus made a habit of rushing and racing to the places where the needs were, and did not shy away from, nor back down from such places. We dare not miss and lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the awesome importance of the deliberate and intentional purposes and actions of Jesus the Christ. Before we get into that which is before us in the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke we must first take a cursory glance at that which is found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John. It is in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John where we come face to face with the tremendous and incredible purpose of Jesus the Christ within and throughout His ministry during the three and a half years He served the needs of those who were before and around Him throughout Judaea and Samaria. Beginning with the first verse of the fourth chapter you will find the following words which were written concerning Jesus and His need to pass through Samaria:

“When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And He must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh He to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto Him, How is that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well its deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith. Unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, He will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He” (John 4:1-26).

When you read the words which are found within this particular portion of Scripture you will not only encounter and come face to face with the reality that Jesus needed to pass through Samaria, but you will also find Jesus wearied from His journey. It was because He was wearied of His journey that He decided, and perhaps even needed to sit down, and He deliberately and intentionally chose Jacob’s well which was located within the region of Samaria. The disciples had gone into the city in order that they might buy food and meat for them to eat, which left Jesus all alone sitting at the well within the region of Samaria. What is so interesting and unique about that which we find within this passage is that the apostle John doesn’t initially and immediately give us any inclination, nor any clue as to why Jesus needed to pass through Samaria. The only thing we know is that Jesus needed to pass through the region of Samaria, and that once He arrived in Samaria, He was tired and weary from his journey. The only other thing we learn about Jesus and His initial coming unto Samaria is that He was weary from His journey, and sat down at Jacob’s well. It was there at Jacob’s well where Jesus encountered a woman from Samaria who perhaps regularly and routinely came unto this well in order that she might draw water from the midst of it. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the incredible and tremendous significance of Jesus coming unto this well, and even passing through Samaria, for both were deliberate and intentional actions of Jesus on this particular occasion. It was true that Jesus must needs pass through Samaria, and it is also true that Jesus needed to sit down at this particular well, for it was at this particular well at this particular time during the day that Jesus knew this woman would come unto the well. In fact, I am convinced that the timing of Jesus sitting down at the well is incredibly important, for if it weren’t, the apostle John would not have included it. If you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture—not only will you notice that Jesus must needs pass through Samaria, and not only did Jesus sit down by jacob’s well, but it was also the sixth hour. I firmly believe that the apostle John mentioned the fact that it was the sixth hour in this particular portion of the gospel, for it revealed and demonstrated the reality and fact that it was at this hour when this woman would usually come unto the well to draw water from the midst of it. I have stated it before, and I will state it again, that we are in fact creatures of habit, and there are a number of things we do and actions we take which are done purely out of habit. This would also include the specific time of day when we perform certain actions, and do certain things. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the fact that the apostle John wrote concerning the sixth hour, for it reveals unto us that it was at this hour when this woman normally came unto this well in order that she would draw water from the midst of the well.

Building upon the reality of Jesus’ tremendous need to journey through and pass through Samaria we must turn and direct our attention back to the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel of Luke, for it is within these two chapters where we encounter Jesus who is steadfast in His journey unto Jerusalem. What is unique about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is that while He was on His way to Jerusalem, He must needs pass through Jericho, for there was something He needed to accomplish on the way to Jericho, and there was something that needed to be done within Jericho. What I find to be absolutely incredible about this particular portion of Scripture is that not only was there a work which needed to be done while traveling along this particular road to Jericho, but there was also a work which needed to be done in the city of Jericho itself. If you begin reading with and from the thirty-fifth verse of the eighteenth chapter you will come face to face with the fact as Jesus was coming nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging. I feel the great need to pause right here and wonder what this sight was like, for in the two years I have worked in the city of Boston, and in the year I worked in the city of Philadelphia, I have never seen a blind man or even a blind woman begging. I have seen countless men and women sitting on the sidewalks, and sitting on stoops of buildings begging for anything to help them make it through the day, but I have never seen a blind person begging. In all reality, I don’t have a framework for a blind person sitting along the side of the road begging for any amount of money to help them within and during the day. Even as I am sitting here I am trying to picture in my mind one who is blind sitting by the side of the road begging and not knowing who those are that pass by him along the way. Even as you read this particular account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that this man did not know who it was that was passing by until he asked what all the commotion was around him. This blind man heard the multitude passing by and passing before him, and he did not know what it meant until he asked and discovered that it was Jesus the Christ who was passing by before him. In all reality, I am trying to picture walking through and walking down the streets of Boston and seeing one who is blind sitting along the side of the road, or sitting on a sidewalk and begging for food and/or money. On this particular occasion, and while He was on His way to Jerusalem, there was a certain blind man who was sitting by the road going toward Jericho, and this blind man was begging as he had perhaps done on a regular and continual basis. What we discover within this passage of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful picture of this man who was not only blind, but he was also begging by the side of the road—begging as he had always done day after day, and perhaps even night after night.

The more I sit and think about the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture, the more I can’t help but think about this blind man begging by the side of the road, and how long this man had been blind, and how long he had been begging for food and/or money. I know what it’s like to watch and pass by men and women who have sat along the streets of Boston on the sidewalks and stoops of buildings, and I am trying to picture in my mind what it was like as Jesus and the multitude passed by this blind man. Perhaps one of the most intriguing realities about this particular encounter is that an entire multitude passed by this blind man, and would have passed by him without even thinking twice about doing so, and even Jesus Himself might very well have passed by this certain blind man. In all reality, I believe within my heart that Jesus the Christ knew within Himself that this blind man was sitting beside the road, and knew that he would be there when He passed by on this particular occasion. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus was very much aware of the presence of this blind man sitting beside the road going toward Jericho, and knew what the Father wanted to do. It’s interesting and worth noting that despite the fact the entire multitude would have just passed by and ignored this blind man sitting along the side of the road, this blind man heard that the commotion and multitude was because of Jesus, and was determined to capture the attention of Jesus the Christ. As you read the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture you will find that when the blind man heard that the multitude and commotion was due to Jesus passing by, he immediately began crying out with a loud voice, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Please pay close attention to this reality of this blind man’s cry, for although he sought to cry out in order that he might capture the attention of Jesus the Christ, the crowd and multitude who was passing by and heard him crying out unto Jesus beckoned and desired that he would be quiet and would silence his cry. This is quite unique and powerful when you think about it, for there is something about the cry of desperation that cannot be silenced. What’s more, is that there is something about the cry of desperation that seems to offend those who hear it, and those who can’t understand the tremendous power of such a cry. As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, you will find that this blind man began crying out unto Jesus the Son of David to have mercy upon him, and desired that he might capture the attention of Jesus. What’s more, is that when the crowd who walked with Jesus heard this blind man crying out unto Jesus they tried to silence him—they tried to silence his cry of desperation. In all reality, there is no indication as to why the multitude and why the crowd would desire that this blind man would have silenced his cry and would have stopped crying unto Jesus the Christ, but we know for certain that they perhaps did not want to hear and listen to it, and wanted to continue on with Jesus the Christ.

There is something incredibly powerful about this blind man, and that is not only that he began to cry out unto Jesus as soon as he recognized and heard that the commotion was because of Jesus, but even though the crowd desired and sought that this blind man should be silenced, he cried out all the more. What’s more, is that you almost get the sense that Jesus might have very well passed by this blind man while traveling on the way to Jericho, and it wasn’t until this blind man began crying out that things began to escalate, and escalate real quickly. In fact, if you read this passage of Scripture you will find that Jesus didn’t immediately respond to the cry of this blind man, but He immediately responded when the crowd tried to silence the voice and cry of this blind man. I firmly believe with all my heart that there is a tremendous amount of significance in this, for it reveals and demonstrates something incredibly important about those who would wish to silence the cry of desperation being poured out from the hearts and souls of those who are in a desperate place. This certain man was not only blind, but he was also blind and begging, and sitting alongside the road going toward Jericho. This blind man was sitting alongside the road that ventured into the city which had such great historical significance, for it was in the city of Jericho where the walls of Jericho fell before the children of Israel after six days of marching around the city once in silence, and marching around the city seven times on the seventh day, and on the seventh time crying out and shouting with a loud voice. It’s worth noting within this passage that Jesus did not respond to the blind man crying out for mercy, however, when Jesus heard the crowd and multitude seek to silence this blind man, and try to silence his cry of desperation and mercy, Jesus could not remain silent, nor could He remain inactive. Upon hearing the crowd seek to silence this blind man, Jesus immediately stood and commanded the blind man to be brought unto him. I happen to find this to be absolutely amazing, for it reveals something which might very well wreck our theology of God, and even our Christology of Jesus the Christ. We would like to think that Jesus responds to our cries when we immediately cry unto Him—even in desperation—and yet through this particular encounter we come face to face with the reality that Jesus didn’t immediately respond to the cry of this blind man. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus heard the cry of the blind man, and perhaps even waited to see if those present before and around Him would bring this blind man to Him. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus heard the cry of this blind man and perhaps even thought and hoped that His disciples would have brought this blind man into His presence in order that He might show Him mercy and restore His sight. The truth of the matter is that neither multitude, nor even His own disciples took the blind man by the hand and brought Him into the presence of Jesus.

When you read the words which are found within this passage you will find that as soon as Jesus heard the crowd and multitude seek to silence the voice of this blind man, He stood where He was and beckoned that this blind man should be brought unto Him and into His presence. Please pay close attention to this tremendous and incredible reality, for it brings us face to face with the fact that although it might seem that Jesus would not and did not respond to the cry of this blind man, He could not help but respond to the crowd and multitude which would seek to silence the voice and cry of this blind man. Oh, I can’t help but get the strong sense within my heart and spirit that there are men and women among us in this generation, and men and women among us in the house of the Lord who are like this blind man sitting by the side of the road begging for mercy, and begging for help from those who would pass by and those who would pass before them, and when they hear that Jesus is passing by, or when they hear that Jesus is present in the building, they immediately begin crying out for the Son of David to have mercy upon them. What’s more, is that such individuals might not immediately receive any type of response from Jesus the Christ as it pertains to their need and their desperation. This blind man clearly sought and desired mercy from Jesus the Christ, and even cried out in desperation for Jesus the Christ to have mercy upon him, and yet it seems as though not only might Jesus have passed by, but also Jesus did not immediately respond to His cry for mercy, and His cry of desperation. It wasn’t until the crowd sought to silence him that not only did he cry out all the more, and perhaps even louder than before, but also that Jesus called for him to come unto him. This is actually quite remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about and consider it, for not only do we find the blind man crying out all the more, and crying even louder when those before and around him sought to silence him, but we also find Jesus responding to his willingness and desire to cry out all the more, and all the louder—this despite the fact that those before and around him sought to silence him, and tried to silence his voice of desperation. Oh that we would recognize and understand that it is very possible that there are men and women before and all around us who would wish to silence us, and who would wish to silence our cries of desperation, and our cries for mercy from the Son of David. There would be those before and around us who would seek to silence our voices, and we are faced with the tremendous decision whether or not we are going to raise our voices all the more, and whether or not we are willing to refuse to be silenced. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we will refuse to be silenced, and whether or not we will refuse to allow others to dictate how we respond and how we react to Jesus the Christ present in our midst, and present before us. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we will listen to those around us who would seek to silence us, and would seek to silence our cry of desperation in the presence of Jesus.

This blind man heard and understood that all the commotion was due to Jesus passing by, and although He could not actually see Jesus, he did the only thing he knew to do—cry out with a loud voice unto Jesus to have mercy upon him. BLIND BUT STILL HAVE A VOICE! BEGGING BUT STILL HAVE A VOICE! It’s worth noting that this man was blind, and yet despite the fact that he was blind, he still had a voice, for he used his voice all the time to ask for help from others. Undoubtedly this blind man did not yell or shout out to those who passed by before him on a daily basis for help and for mercy, but when he heard that it was Jesus who passed by, his begging transitioned to a cry. WHEN BEGGING TRANSITIONS INTO A CRY! WHEN CRYING TURNS INTO A SHOUT! What I so love about this blind man is that despite the fact that he was blind, he still had a voice, and he was determined to use the one thing he had in order that he might capture and lay hold of the attention of Jesus the Christ. This blind man could not see Jesus, and yet when he heard that the commotion before and around him was because of Jesus, he cried out with a loud voice unto Jesus to have mercy upon him. This is absolutely and incredibly important, for it demonstrates and reveals the reality that although there might be a need within our hearts and lives, and although we might be in a desperate place, there is one thing that we still have, and that is a voice. This man was blind, yet he could hear, and it was his ability to hear that caused him to raise his voice and cry out unto Jesus to have mercy upon him. I absolutely love this particular reality, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that although this man was blind, he could still use his voice to cry out before and unto Jesus the Christ. This blind man was determined to use his voice to cry out before and cry out unto Jesus the Christ, and he would not be silenced—even though the crowd and multitude would seek to silence him. This blind man initially cried out unto Jesus to have mercy upon him, and when he began hearing the crowd and multitude seeking to silence him, he proposed to cry out all the more, and to cry out even louder than before. What tremendous perseverance and determination within the heart and soul of this blind man, for despite the fact that the crowd and multitude sought to silence his cry, he was determined and purposed not to be silenced. He was determined to have Jesus the Christ hear His cry—and not only hear His cry, but also show and demonstrate mercy unto him. Although the crowd and multitude would seek to silence him, and although the multitude would seek to silence his voice, and silence his cry, this blind man would not be denied, and would receive the mercy of Jesus the Christ within his life.

What I so love about these two passages is the tremendous determination of the blind man, as well as a man by the name of Zacchaeus. If you transition into the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find that Jesus eventually entered into the city of Jericho, and within the city there was a man by the name of Zacchaeus who was the chief among the publicans. This man who was the chief of the publicans heard that Jesus was passing by and desired to see who he was, but could not because of the press that was before and around Jesus. What’s more, is that Scripture reveals that Zacchaeus was a man of little stature, which essentially means that he was a short man compared to the press which was before and around Jesus the Christ. Despite the fact that he was little of stature, and despite the fact that he was the chief among the publicans, he was determined to see Jesus who he was. What I so love about this man within the city of Jericho is that he was determined to see Jesus, and would not be denied this privilege and ability. Luke writes and records how Zacchaeus ran ahead of the press in order that he might climb a sycamore tree that he might rise above the crowd in order that he might see Jesus and who he was. RISING ABOVE THE CROWD & CRYING OUT OVER THE THE CROWD! What is so absolutely incredible and remarkable about what we find within this passage of Scripture is that not only was the blind man unwilling to be silenced, and not only was the blind man willing to raise his voice above the call to be silent and quite, this man named Zacchaeus was determined to rise above the crowd and not be limited by his size and height. What we find within these two passages of Scripture is not only a blind man who was willing to rise above the voices of the multitude, but we also find a short man willing to rise above the press and rise above the crowd in order that he might see and behold Jesus. Please don’t miss and please don’t’ lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for there is something above a willingness to rise above the crowd, and something about our willingness to rise above the press which would seem to limit our view of Jesus the Christ. Zacchaeus was the chief among the publicans, and yet he had a desire within himself to see Jesus and to see who he was. When he realized that he couldn’t because of the press, he decided to do the only thing he knew to do, which was run ahead of the press and climb into a sycamore tree. In all reality, who would have thought that climbing a sycamore tree would have been useful in seeing Jesus the Christ, and yet this man within the city of Jericho was willing to climb into a tree in order that he might see Jesus and see who he was.

As I sit here and consider the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture, we not only come face to face with a man who was one of the publicans, but we also come face to face with a man who was the chief among the publicans. This is actually quite significant, for there is something about being the chief of publicans and something about being the chief of sinners that is incredibly attractive and appealing unto Jesus the Christ, for in the New Testament gospel of Luke we find Jesus entering into the home of the chief of the publicans within the city of Jericho, and in the second book which Luke wrote—the book of Acts—we find Jesus the Christ encountering the chief of sinners along the road to Damascus. If you turn and direct your attention to the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy you will find him writing and declaring that it is a trustworthy saying that Jesus Christ came to die for and save sinners of whom he was the chief. The apostle Paul viewed himself as the chief of sinners because he persecuted the church, and yet Jesus in His mercy chose to redeem and save this chief of sinners. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that in the New Testament gospel of Luke we find Jesus entering into the home of the chief of publicans, or the chief of sinners, and later even declaring that salvation had come unto him and to his house, but in the New Testament book of Acts we find Jesus encountering who would consider himself to be chief among sinners because he persecuted the church. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus was willing to enter into the house of the chief of the publicans knowing the perception the Jews and religious community had concerning the publicans, and He was even willing to encounter one who viewed himself as the chief of sinners along the road to Damascus. How absolutely remarkable and wonderful it is to think about Jesus as being willing to enter into the home of the chief of sinners—and not only enter into the home, but upon hearing the declaration of this man, pronounced and brought salvation into that home and into the life of this man. What’s more, is that Jesus would bring salvation into the life of Saul who viewed himself as the chief of sinners because he persecuted the church of Jesus the Christ. Within this passage of Scripture we not only find Jesus willing to bring salvation to one who was willing to rise above the crowd in order that he might see Jesus and see who He was, but we also find Jesus restoring sight unto a blind man who refused to be silenced. Perhaps the greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to rise above the crowds in order that we might see and encounter Jesus, and whether or not we are willing to rise above the attempt to others to silence our voice when we cry out unto Jesus to have mercy upon us. Are we willing to rise above the crowd which surrounds Jesus in order that we might see Him, and are we willing to rise above the attempt of those before and around us to silence our voices and to silence our cries? How we answer these questions can and will dramatically shift and alter our lives, for there must be a willingness within our hearts and lives to not only rise above the crowds in order that we might behold Jesus, but there must also be a willingness within our hearts and lives to refuse to be silenced—despite the fact that others would seek to silence our cries. RISING ABOVE THE CROWD AND REFUSING TO BE SILENCED: A TALE OF PERSEVERANCE

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