Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell the story. On the road to Jericho sit two blind men. Mark and Luke focus on one of the men in particular. Mark tells us his name is Bartimaeus.
The day for these two men began as all of their days must have begun. They were led by some kind soul to their usual spot on the roadside to beg – the only form of social assistance in those days.
They expected a few coins perhaps, or a crust of bread. They found something far better than they were expecting.
There’s a name for this sort of thing – serendipity.
The Serendipity Singers back in the sixties probably had a reason for calling themselves by that name.
The word has a neat sound. Serendipity is the making of pleasant discoveries by accident. The word was coined by the English author, Horace Walpole, in the 1700’s. He got the idea from a story called “The Three Princes of Serendip” in which these guys were constantly discovering new things by tripping over them while they were looking for something else.
There’s a sort of divine “serendipity” throughout the Bible too.
Father Jacob sends his sons to far off Egypt for food during a famine – and he gets back his long-lost son, Joseph, in the bargain.
Saul goes looking for the lost donkeys of his father and finds himself anointed as the first king of Israel.
David takes a few care packages to his older brothers on the front lines and ends up saving the day in a showdown with Goliath.
The women go to Joseph’s garden early on a Sunday morning to embalm a body but find instead an empty tomb and a living Lord.
In all these cases, it was divinely “serendipitous.” Marvelous things were found while people were up to something else – but these things were surely not accidents.
In hindsight, perhaps you recognize a lot of this divine serendipity in your own life. You intended to go into one career but ended up finding something even more interesting. You asked a clerk to help you find something in the store and ended up finding a partner for life.
These two blind men must have told their serendipitous story many times in the years that followed – how they were taken to their usual spot on the road through Jericho – how they heard the noise of the crowd, how they asked what was going on, how they were told: “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” how they called upon Christ in their trouble, how He delivered them, how they honored Him for the rest of their lives.