Summary: Like blind Bartimaeus, none of us has ever seen Jesus with our physical eyes, and we are blind until we come to Him. But Jesus is able to hear your cry of mercy from the roar of the crowd. He is listening for your voice and will stop and respond to you.
What the Blind Man Saw
by David O. Dykes
Most people eat too much over the holidays. That’s why the #1 New Year’s Resolution each year is to exercise and lose weight. If you think you overate during the holidays, I have some important information for you. Scientists have recently made some revolutionary discoveries about holiday eating and dieting. Here are six of their findings:
1. If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories!
2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, they cancel each other out. (If the soda weighs more than the candy, you actually lose calories!)
3. If you eat standing up, it doesn’t count.
4. Desserts remove stress! (“STRESSED” is “DESSERTS” spelled backwards!)
5. Foods used for medicinal purposes have no calories. (This includes chocolate, cheesecake and ice cream when eaten for energy.)
6. Cookie pieces contain no calories. (The process of breakage causes calorie leakage.) So maybe you feel better about how much you ate!
In this message we are going to examine an encounter with a blind man who felt a lot better after He met Jesus. I’m calling this message “What the Blind Man Saw.” Let’s read about it beginning in Luke 18:35:
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
We know from Mark 10 the blind man’s name was Bartimaeus, which means “Son of Timaeus.” For the sake of simplicity I’ll call him Blind Bart. He can teach us a great deal about how we can relate to God. Your problem may not be physical blindness, but you and I need the same thing Bart asked for–mercy. Let’s study his story and learn five important things about the Christian life.
1. FAITH IS HEARING AND BELIEVING EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE
Bart was not only blind, he was a beggar. Most blind people today lead productive lives, but in Jesus’ time, blind people couldn’t work. There was no Americans with Disabilities Act, so blindness was a terrible handicap. Everyday Bart sat beside the road holding out his hand asking for money. Beggars exist today in every major city around the world. You can see some American beggars standing at an intersection holding signs reading, “Will Work for Food.” But some American beggars have gotten rather creative. Here are some actual signs beggars in America have been seen holding: “Why lie? I need some wine.” “Will work for 40K, take my résumé.” “Tell me off. One dollar” “Help me hire a hit man to kill my husband.”
In Jesus time, beggars were at the bottom of the social ladder, only slightly more important than dogs. Blind Bart couldn’t see, but as with many blind people, he probably had a keen sense of hearing. On the day described in our text, he could tell from the sounds of the crowd something unusual was happening. He turned and asked someone, “What’s going on?” Over the mumble of the mob, he heard, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” No doubt, Bart had heard of Jesus. Perhaps he heard about how Jesus healed people, even restored sight to the blind! Even though Bart couldn’t see Jesus, based on what he had heard, in that moment, he believed. He didn’t just believe Jesus was in his city: he believed Jesus had the power to change his life. So in verse 38 he cried out, “Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me!” The term “Son of David” was one reserved for the coming Messiah, the King. It was a title of Divine power. Bart was confessing Jesus was more than a mere teacher–He was the King!
Faith is the first step you must take to receive mercy from God. Faith is not just believing God exists, it is acting on that belief. It is staking your entire eternity on the offer God has extended for you to have a personal relationship with Him.
Like Bart, none of us has ever seen Jesus with our physical eyes. But I’ve heard about Jesus, and I believe in Him. Faith is not just believing facts about Jesus, it is trusting Him with your life. I don’t just believe He was born in Bethlehem and died on a cross 33 years later, I believe He has changed my life. I don’t just believe in the fact of the resurrection, I believe Jesus is alive and living in me!