Summary: We have to (1) "see" with our heart and have faith in God, and (2) ask with all our heart, because without prayer nothing will be accomplished.
Hardships and sufferings are a real fact in life. We see one today in our passage – a blind man. In those times, blindness was far worse that it is today. The blind man was reduced to begging because there was no help or work for such people. You can imagine how difficult it must be for them, when people with good eyesight can find it hard to cope with life.
We may pity this man. But on closer look, I realised that he was probably more blessed than many in the crowd. You see, there were two kinds of blindness in this story. One is this blind man, physically unable to see with his eyes. But there is also another kind of blindness – those of the crowd - who though physically able to see, was spiritually blind to the identity of the One standing before them.
Bartimaeus could not see Jesus with his eyes, but he saw Him with his heart! He saw His true identity. He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” This was a unique title, hardly used by anyone (except a Canaanite woman who had a demon-possessed daughter, Matt 15). In the Gospel of Mark, only he uses this phrase. He recognises Jesus as the Messiah, the coming King, and the descendant of David (Isa 9:7). And if the Messiah, He has the power to heal, according to Jewish belief.
Many around him could see Jesus, but they would not accept Him as the Messiah. They did not really see Him for who He is. If they had, they would not have stopped this blind man from crying out. If they had, they would not have rebuked this man and asked him to be quiet.
This is the first thing we learn – we’ve got to learn to SEE WITH OUR HEART.
It doesn’t matter how much you’re seen. It doesn’t matter how much you’re heard.
The crowd saw many more miracles than the blind man. The crowd heard more sermons from Jesus than the blind man. They had closer encounters with Jesus than this blind man.
Yet they received nothing from Jesus whereas this blind man got the miracle of his life!
They may have seen more but there was no faith. They were still blind. They may have heard more but there was no faith. They were still blind. Helen Keller said, “Better to be blind and to see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”
This man may be blind but he sees! The people may see but they are blind. You see, seeing with your eyes does not guarantee you’ll see with your heart!
I may have heard many sermons but still struggle to trust God.
The criminal on the cross beside Jesus may not have heard or seen much, but he believed that little he knows about Jesus, and Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
You need to believe what you hear. You need to put your faith in what you hear.
I find this whole encounter amazing. This blind man does not have the privilege others have. They could walk around with Jesus; see what He was doing, and hear all that He was saying, but not this man. Blind men don’t move around. They stayed in one place and beg. Anyway, there is nothing they can see.
But he heard about Him, probably someone shared. It could be about the miracles, or a testimony of someone healed, or something about His teachings. No first hand experience for him, but that was enough to kindle his faith. He believed. The Bible says “faith comes from hearing.” Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). He does not understand the doctrines, theology about God or precisely why Jesus Christ came into the world. But that little he heard is sufficient for him to put his trust in Jesus. And that changed his life!
Many of us today know much, much more – we have the Bible in our hands. We can open it anytime, any day and read it. We hear sermons, attend Sunday School and seminars. We know much more than this blind man. I wonder, if what we hear does prompt us to cry out to God the same way this blind man did. Will what we hear, drives us to cry out to God in faith and with passion, the way it did to him?
It like having something but not applied!
And the sad part in this story is that those who know better, who have seen more and heard more are the ones who asked this man to be quiet! It is better to be physically blind than to be spiritually blind. If you are blinded to the Person of Jesus, you are going to receive nothing!