Physical blindness – Spiritual sight
September 20, 2015, 2:11 pm
Filed under: God | Tags: , ,

This is a sermon that I had delivered and thought it appropriate to what is going in today in our nation and in the world. We do seem to be blind to the truth and in many cases we don’t really want to see or hear the truth. Mar 10:46-52 NKJV Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (48) Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (49) So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” (50) And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. (51) So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” (52) Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

Here we find Jesus and a great crowd of people passing through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. The crowds were there because they wanted to know what wisdom Jesus would impart today, and so they followed as He and His disciples walked through the city. There is a blind man sitting on the side of the road, he is named in this gospel account, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. He is on the road because travelers go by and he is able to ask for charity or alms, and probably does fairly well at this place.
Bartimaeus asks those around him, who is this that is causing such a stir? They tell him Jesus of Nazareth. When he heard that it was Jesus, he knew that he had a chance to be healed of blindness, for this was the Christ, not just any prophet, but Jesus. He begins to shout but the words he says are not words normally used when Jesus is walking by.
As he was told that it was Jesus of Nazareth, because the crowds didn’t want to have any trouble so he was not Son of David, he was just Jesus of Nazareth. A simple Rabbi, maybe even a prophet, but that was all. Bartimaeus, however knew instinctively, his spirit spoke to him, and he begins to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The folks in the crowd are not happy with all this commotion, and they begin to tell this beggar to shut up, be quiet. It is remarkable that the religious leaders, could not admit that this man from Nazareth could possibly be the Messiah, yet here is a blind man, addressing Jesus as the Son of David, one of the titles of the Messiah.
Jesus, has healed many in the 3 years that he walked about, preaching of the Kingdom of God, bringing the good news to those who would hear it, and even to those who rejected it. One time he healed a blind man by spitting on his eyes and then wiping the spit away with his fingers, another time he made mud and placed it on the blind mans eyes. Of course he also healed people of leprosy, sometimes doing the unthinkable and actually touching the one with the disease, other times he said go and tell the priest and make the sacrifice that is required. 10 men left and were healed on the way, 1 came back to praise God and thank him.
So here we have Bartimaeus, yelling for mercy from the one man he knew could give him his sight. Why would this man call upon Jesus as the Son of David so he might receive mercy? Perhaps because he had heard Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. He knew that this was his one and only chance to be able to see. He knew in his soul that this was truly the Christ that was to come, and was here.
Have you ever had one of those experiences, one where you knew you had come into the presence of God? In 1988, I went on a retreat, a 3 day retreat called the walk to Emmaus. It was patterned after Cursillo which had begun in Spain under auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. It was a wonderful experience you spent time learning about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You took communion at least once each day, and you experienced prayer as you had never experienced it before. It was a time of deep communion with God, a time of personal and communal prayer and learning. It was also a time of healing, not so much physical healing but rather of deep soul healing. In that time I knew I had come into the presence of God, and my life was never to be the same again.
Bartimaeus knew that this was his one chance to be able to receive that which he lacked, his physical sight, and so he cried out, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. Jesus stops and says, bring him to me. The crowd then tells him, Rise, he is calling you. Bartimaeus throws off his outer garment, and then with the help of those around him, comes to Jesus. The Apostle Paul speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new. Eph 4:22-24 NKJV that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (23) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

So Bartimaeus rids himself of the old that was holding him back, so he might receive the new that will let him move into newness of life.
This is a good lesson for us to learn as well, for we humans like to hold on to the old things that we know, we are afraid of taking a new way, of leaving our comfort zone for the new ways of living that Christ calls us to. I continue to read stories about people who have made the decision to follow Christ, and have been arrested and held in jail. There is the story of an evangelist who was singing christian music at a train station, he was arrested for disturbing the peace.
Then there is the story about an evangelist who was preaching in a park, and a woman in the crowd began telling him she was offended by his speech, and she then exposed her breasts and the police arrested him for inciting to riot. The woman was allowed to go free. These incidents did not happen in some foreign country, they happened right here in the USA. These Christians were practicing their right to speak and yet were arrested and thrown in jail. One man was holding a Bible study in his home and the city arrested him because he was breaking a zoning ordinance that said he could not hold Bible Study in his home because it was a commercial enterprise, in a residential area. That city happens to be Phoenix AZ, and the law they refer to, is the International Code, which they have adopted as law in their city. Please note that Del Rio Texas, has also adopted this code. It is not U. S. Law, it is International Law and it is being used to usurp our Constitutional right to free speech and the right of assembly.
Of course I can also understand why that would make some people a bit concerned about accepting Jesus and the way of life that this entails. It means ridding ourselves of our old way of living and becoming more Christlike in all we do. It also says we need to present Christ to others.
That can get you in trouble. Yet many of our fellow Christians, in this country and across the globe are today experiencing persecution, and some actual hatred. Not because they have done something wrong, but because they have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, and have given over their lives to Him, that they might live eternally in the Kingdom of God. The time is coming when things will become much tougher in this country as well as others, Christians will not be able to speak out openly as we have in the past.
Bartimaeus, also made the choice to follow Christ, and was one more witness to the crucifixion. Some of the same people who were trying to get him to stop calling out to Jesus, would in just a few short weeks be calling for Jesus to be killed by crucifixion. I wonder how many in that crowd ran away, and how many stayed to watch the death of Jesus. That is what it means though, when one decides to follow Jesus, you must be willing to give yourself completely to Him, that you may become truly free and truly fully human.
Blind Bartimaeus, who saw with Spiritual Eyes, the truth of his own salvation both from blindness and from the lies of this world to the truth of the Kingdom. So he called out to Jesus for healing and received that healing of both soul and body. He saw clearly with his spirit, and now with his physical eyes. Reminds me of the spiritual song, “Open My Eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus.” If you have decided to follow Jesus, have you also given up the worldly things that hold you, the things of the world which keep you bound to sin and sadness? If so I invite you to turn your entire being over Jesus the Christ, that you might have your spiritual eyes opened to the beauty of the Kingdom of God. Walk with Christ today and every day.

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