Summary: In this message I look at some of the blind spots we have in regard to our faith.
The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies will always be known as one of the great failures in sports history. As they came to the last few weeks of their season they were in first place. Then they lost a game , then another, 10 games in a row and they blew it. But they also had some every memorable moments including a perfect game.
But perhaps the most remarkable moment of their entire season occurred after a game, not during it. Clay Dalrymple, a pitcher was asked to assist a blind girl who had requested a chance to walk out on the field. He took her to home plate where she reached down and felt the plate. Then they walked to first, 2nd and 3rd bases before ending up at home plate once again.
While Dalrymple was showing the girl around the bases he never noticed that their were still quite a few fans remaining in the stadium and they had stopped to watch he and the girl. He was so involved in helping her that he didn’t realize people were still there watching. But when the two of them finally reached home plate, the ball park just exploded. He was shocked by the applause. When he looked up thousands of fans gave him a standing ovation. Later Dalrymple told a Sports Illustrated reporter that it was the biggest ovation he had ever had.
Listen to what Max Lucado writes about one particular man who was blind. For 51 years Bob Edens was blind. He couldn’t see a thing. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. But at age 51 a skilled surgeon performed a very complicated operation and for the first time Bob Edens could see. He found it to be overwhelming. “I never would have dreamed that yellow is so “yellow.” I don’t have the words. I am amazed at yellow. I can see the shape of the moon and I like nothing better than watching the sunrise and set. And at night I look at the stars in the sky. I could never have known how wonderful everything is.
How many of you have ever had to place a blindfold on and have a friend lead you somewhere. It is not the best position to be in. Yet that is exactly what it is like for thousands of people who are born blind. Imagine what that would be like.
Here was a man completely without sight forced to sit by the roadside and beg each day. In his day there was no other way for him to make a living. Suddenly he hears a crowd coming. Sometimes in the gospels one of the writers will give us some details the others do not. This story is found in 3 of the gospels and it is Mark who tells us this man’s name. It is Bartimaeus. The others do not.
Jesus is on a mission here. He is headed to Jerusalem. People are following him and more and more people are joining the crowd as they travel. The caravan is growing. Come and see. Come and see what this man can do. Jesus is approaching the city of Jericho. This is an incredible encounter that takes place here and the Bible tells the story in 4 stages. The first stage is his blindness. V. 35. Blindness was actually a fairly common problem in Palestine. In the city of Lydda the saying was that everyone was either blind or had only one eye. In Jaffa history records that in a town of 5000 people, 500 were blind.
There was a religious stigma against those who were blind. We see this especially in John 9 when another man who was blind was healed the disciples asked Jesus, Rabbi who sinned this man or his parents causing him to be born blind. There was somehow the thought that those who were blind deserved their blindness due to sin in their lives. That is was the consequence of either their sin or the sins of their parents.
So here he sits, Mark tells us he was wearing an old garment; this told people he was a beggar. And I am sure he felt there was nothing he could do to change his life. 2nd Corinthians 4:4. You and I are spiritually blind and there is nothing we can do about it either. We can’t change it. We have one blind spot after another but there’s a problem there-we don’t know we have them. We all have to admit that we are just as blind in a spiritual sense as Bartimaeus was in a physical sense.
Look at v. 36. This man was perceptive. He couldn’t see what was happening but he could hear it. He’s curious. So he asks his question. V. 37 gives us the answer. Jesus is passing by. The person he had heard about was now standing right in front of him.