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Patristic commentary

Luke has only one blind man as opposed to Matthew's two, but the difference in meaning is negligible (AMBROSE). Although his physical eyes are closed, he has been opened to the healing presence of Jesus as the Son of David, and therefore the Messiah, whom he pursues with persistence (CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA). It is the title Nazarean that prompts the blind man's persistent cries for mercy, for it is more than a simple notice of where Jesus is from, as it designates Jesus as the miracle-working prophet from Nazareth. The blind man confesses his faith and shows his love for Christ by crying out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." What Jesus acknowledges here is the man's faith in him as the giver of life, and the man's persistent desire to stand in the presence of Jesus, who brings a new creation by giving him sight (EPHREM THE SYRIAN), This confrontation with the presence of Jesus brings the radical great reversal for the blind man; immediately he receives his sight from him who is the true light. Set free from blindness, the healed man also becomes a disciple, following Jesus and glorifying God (CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA).

18:35 Introduction: Blindness

THE LIGHT THAT ENLIGHTENS THE GENTILES. AMBROSE: In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, two men are depicted,' but Luke depicts one. Matthew depicts it as Jesus was leaving Jericho, 2 but Luke as he was approaching the city. Otherwise there is no difference. The image of the Gentile people is in this case one man who through the divine blessing received the clarity of his lost sight. It makes no difference whether the Gentile people received the healing through one or two blind men since, taking the origin from Ham and Japheth, sons of Noah, 3 they set out the two authors of their race in two blind men. EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 8.8o.4

18;36-39 The Blind Man's Cry for Mercy

THE BLIND MAN KNOWS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF DAVID AND MESSIAH. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: The blind man must have understood that the sight of the blind cannot be restored by human means but requires, on the contrary, a divine power and an authority such as God only possesses. With God nothing whatsoever is impossible. The blind man came near to him as to the omnipotent God. How then does he call him the Son of David? What can one answer to this? The following is perhaps the explanation. Since he was born and raised in Judaism, of course, the predictions contained in the law and the holy prophets concerning Christ had not escaped his knowledge. He heard them chant that passage in the book of the Psalms, "The Lord has sworn in truth to David, and will not annul it, saying: 'of the fruit of your loins I will set a king upon your throne.' "5 The blind man also knew that the blessed prophet Isaiah said, "There will spring up a shoot from the root of Jesse, and from his root a flower will grow up."6 Isaiah also said, "Behold, a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."7 He already believed that the Word, being God, of his own will had submitted to be born in the flesh of the holy Virgin. He now comes near to him as to God and says, "Have mercy on me, Son of David." Christ testifies that this was his state of mind in offering his petition. He said to him, "Your faith has saved you." COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 126s JESUS THE NAZARENE. EPHREM THE SYRIAN:

While he was asking who it was, they said to him, "Jesus, the Nazarene." He knew that they were not saying that to him with love. He left what pertained to enemies and grasped hold of what pertained to friends. "Son of David, have mercy on me." They were trying to prevent him, fearing that his eyes may be opened, and the Pharisees might recognize him and be irritated. COMMEN-TARY ON TATIAN'S DIATESSARON I5.22.9

18:40-42 Jesus' Response of Healing

FAITH GIVES THE BLIND MAN LIFE AND THEN SIGHT. EPHREM THE SYRIAN: The Light came into the world to give sight to the blind and faith to those who lacked it. When he approached the blind man, he cried out and said, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." The beggar's hand was stretched out to receive a penny from human beings and found himself receiving the gift of God! "Son of David, have mercy on me."10 He correctly understood that Jesus was the Son of David, David who spared the blind and the lame of the jebusites." What did he then answer him? "See, your faith has saved you." Christ did not say to him, "It is your faith that has caused you to see," in order to show that faith had first given him life and then bodily sight. COMMENTARY ON TATIAN'S DIATESSARON I5.22.12

18;43 Conclusion: Sight

JESUS THE TRUE LIGHT GIVES SIGHT. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: With supreme authority, he said, "Receive your sight." The expression is wonderful, worthy of God and transcending the bounds of human nature! Which of the holy prophets ever spoke like this or used words of so great authority? Observe that he did not ask of another the power to restore vision to him who was deprived of sight. He did not perform the divine miracle as the effect of prayer to God but rather attributed it to his own power. By his almighty will, Christ did whatever he would. "Receive," he said, "your sight." The word was light to him that was blind, because it was the word of him who is the true Light. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 126.13


CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: Now that he was delivered from his blindness, did he neglect the duty of loving Christ? He certainly did not. It says, "He followed him, offering him glory like to God." He was set free from double blindness. Not only did he escape from the blindness of the body but also from that of the mind and heart. He would not have glorified him as God, had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 126.14



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