Summary: Can we see truth within and beyond God's Word?
October 28, 2018
Overcoming Blindness – Physically and Spiritually
Today’s gospel reading is Mark’s account of Jesus restoring the sight of blind Bartimaeus. This account provides us with the importance of being persistent in prayer; holding on to our faith in the One that does the healing and being bold in the face of criticism.
In our reading we find Bartimaeus begging on the roadside. (verse 46). Begging was the common way of life for the severely handicapped in Jesus’ day. When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus passing by, he began to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (verse 47).
That tells us right away that Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was and that he believed Jesus could heal him.
Right away the crowds that stood there told Bartimaeus to be quiet. They must have had some misguided belief that Jesus wouldn’t want to be bothered with this insignificant blind beggar or maybe some doubt that Jesus could actually heal the blind. That isn’t so important. What is important is that Bartimaeus ignored the crowd and called out, all the more. (verse 48) That is holding on to one’s faith, even in the face of criticism. That’s a pretty good lesson right there and says a lot about standing on our faith, even in the face of peer pressure.
The rest of the reading is the actual healing of his blindness and his immediate decision to follow Jesus.
We could go deeper into this reading and dig out more truths and lessons but for some reason, I am being tugged to expand beyond this reading and speak more to the manner or method of healing that Jesus performed.
Methodology exercised by Jesus: Matthew 9:29 – “Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’” - - Matthew 12:22 – It just says that Jesus healed him and doesn’t indicate by what means. - - Matthew 20:30 – “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” (This is Matthew’s account of the same healing in today’s reading in the gospel Book of Mark. Here Matthew refers to two blind men where Mark only tells us of one) We my re-visit this and try and clarify the differences in accounts at some later date. - - Matthew 21:14 – Jesus heals the blind in the temple. “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” - - Mark 8:22 – “So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.” - - “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” - - Luke 7:21 – “And that very hour He cured many of [a]infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.” – John 9:1 – “He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”
The big question that I have for you is: Why did Jesus employ a variety of methodology to perform these healings. Why not just touch them and declare them healed? Why not just tell them they are healed? Why not spit on them and put clay mud in their eyes? Why not tell them to go bathe in a certain pool?
Are you starting to SEE where I’m going with this? Sometimes we just get so hung up on how we are supposed to practice our faith that we lose out on the why and the blessings that accompany our faith. Maybe we even get too comfortable always doing some things the exact same way. It’s like by rote memory rather than from the heart. You’ve heard me preach that a child that learns to say a blessing at the table: “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food. Amen” ~ OR ~: “Now I lay me down to sleep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take. Amen”. If the heart and soul are not aligned and in tune with the words, what good are they?
How much faith accompanies our prayers and our worship when they are ritualistic and “rote”? Let’s expand and expound on our faith. Let’s be open to new styles of music and worship, prayer that challenges our minds and opens our spirits. Now, having said all that, don’t get me wrong. Let’s not experiment or stray off with any newness that in any way is contrary to biblical truths and teachings.