He Stood Still

A cropped painting by Carl Bloch of Jesus healing the blind man

What do a man filled with many demons, a woman with an incurable hemorrhaging condition, and two blind men sitting by the wayside have in common? Each one brought Jesus to a standstill. Ordinarily this would seem inconsequential. Out of the thousands that Jesus touched and ministered to during His time here on the Earth, why would these individuals have any more significance than the others? Because they had such faith that Jesus could deliver, heal, and rescue them that He specifically stopped and reached out to their need.

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit…But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For He said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit. And He asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many. And He besought him much that He would not send them away out of the country…And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea…And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him…And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:1,2,6-10,13,18,20).

Obviously, this man wanted to be free of them but could not do so himself, or Jesus would not have come and stood still before him.

Jesus did not have to stop at this place. He could have kept going, since it was out of His way. Or He could have ignored this man, and gone into the village nearby and reached out to its inhabitants instead. But God, His heavenly Father, had told Him to go there and deliver this man from the control of these demons. Obviously, this man wanted to be free of them but could not do so himself, or Jesus would not have come and stood still before him. As a result, this man became a great evangelist among his own people proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ deliverance.

Later on, there was “…a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His garment. For she said, If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, Who touched My clothes? And His disciples said unto Him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched Me? And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. And He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:25-34).

A woodcut image of Jesus, with a crowd of men behind Him, extending His hands toward a woman (with an issue of blood) on her knees with her hands held out to Him

This woman was plagued with a condition that caused continual bleeding for twelve years and nobody could help her. Now, probably near the end of her life, she had heard about Jesus and believed so much in Him that she felt that she only had to touch a part of His clothing and be healed. It was this great faith in Him that made Jesus stop and give her complete victory over her incurable malady.

Then “as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20:29-34). These, though physically blind, had likely heard and knew of the wonder-working power of Jesus. They had such faith in what He could do that they were not going to be silenced and let Him pass by until He heeded their call. “And Jesus stood still,” acknowledging their trust in His faithfulness and ultimately, without hesitating, He restored their vision.

He is always waiting for us to place our total trust in Him and His faithfulness. His death on the cross made it possible for anyone anywhere to place their confidence in Him and to be able to cry out to Him in their need.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus was walking among us today, ready to hear our pleading, and waiting for our desperate call? Well, actually, He is here with us right now, but not in a physical form. He said, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He is always waiting for us to place our total trust in Him and His faithfulness. His death on the cross made it possible for anyone anywhere to place their confidence in Him and to be able to cry out to Him in their need. Jesus’ desire is for us to love Him and put all of our faith in Him completely.

A black and white photo of a woman with hand resting around neck looking up in contemplation with a blurred white cross in the background

These examples demonstrate what can happen when we look to and place our reliance on Him. If there had not been an earnest desire for deliverance within the demon-possessed man, Jesus would never have stopped by that region. If the woman healed from the issue of blood had given up, or continued trying to find someone to make her well, she might have died first. The blind men would likely have still been blind until their death, if they had not persistently called out to Jesus in faith. Is our belief in Him today at a level like these individuals that caused Him to stand still? Or does He continue to walk onward because we do not believe and cry out to Him? May our prayer be like the words of the old hymn:

Pass me not O gentle Saviour,
Hear my humble cry.
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

[Image credits: Featured image (where applicable) waldryano/pixabay; Carl Bloch/public domain; T. DeWitt Talmage/public domain; Keem Ibarra;unsplash]