Encounters With Christ – Seeing While Blind

Grace For The Journey

  We are in a special series of studies entitled, “Encounters With Christ,” and we have been noting how a personal encounter with Jesus changes everything.  We have seen that by looking at these different persons in the New Testament who got to know Christ “up close and personal,” people like Zacchaeus, Doubting Thomas, the Rich Young Ruler, and Matthew the Tax Collector.  In today’s blog, we are going to learn about a man known simply as “Blind Bartimaeus.”  The passage we will be studying is Mark 10:46-52.

Our passage reminds us of the blessing of being able to go to the spiritual eye-doctor, the Good Physician, our Lord Jesus Christ, who corrects both physical and spiritual vision.  We will go through these seven verses verse-by-verse and then I want to share some application principles that surface from our study.  

I. Consider Bartimaeus’ Condition.

Verse 46 says, “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.”

He is blind . . . He is poor . . . He is an outcast, marginalized, and lonely.  The Beatles saying about “All the Lonely People?” All the lonely people, like:

Eleanor Rigby
picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
lives in a dream
waits at the window, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door
who is it for?

Or, lonely people like:

Father McKenzie
writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
no one comes near
look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
what does he care?

All the lonely people
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
where do they all belong?

There have been times I could relate to Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon no one will hear.  Maybe some of you can relate to Eleanor Rigby, picking up rice in the church where a wedding has been, but it is not your wedding.

Inwardly we each yearn for validation.  

  • We want people to like us and accept us.  
  • We want people to listen to us.  
  • We want people to think we are important.
  • We want to be surrounded with meaningful relationships.

Jesus really is a friend of sinners.  He meets us in our loneliness…

II. Consider Bartimaeus’ Confession.

Verse  47 states, “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!’”  He hears … this verse indicates that he overhears someone else say it is Jesus.  Here is Bartimaeus now, crying out!

Verse 48 says, “Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’”  Everyone is telling him to be quiet!

Verse 49 declares, “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.’”  Jesus makes time for those who cry out

Verses 50-51 say, “And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.  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.’”  This is a cry for physical healing . . . his physical eyesight was what was wrong – not his spiritual eyesight.  The way Bartimaeus addresses Jesus indicates that there was nothing at all wrong with his spiritual eyesight.

Bartimaeus refers to Jesus as, “Rabboni,” which is a personal way of saying, “My teacher, My Master,” and even more importantly is the continual plea, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  That is a confession.  Bartimaeus does not address Jesus as merely, Jesus of Nazareth, but “Jesus, Son of David,” that is, “Jesus, the promised Messiah, Jesus, the One who would come from the lineage of King David, Jesus my Savior and Lord.”

Though blind physically, he sees well spiritually.  What a confession!

Bartimaeus asks for healing, physical healing. “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”

Verse 52 continues by saying, “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”

Healed!  Healed of his condition that resulted from his confession.  Then thirdly . . .

III. Consider Bartimaeus’ Consecration

The chapter ends with Bartimaeus’ indicating a full surrender of his life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The last few words of verse 52, the last few words of the chapter read, “And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”  These words show us that Bartimaeus is wholly consecrated, wholly devoted, and dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful picture of true discipleship,

Of one who truly is following the Lord Jesus!

The Bible says says in Romans 8:14, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they,” and they only, “are the sons of God.”

Principles to Ponder . . .

1) You Can Be Blind Physically, But See Spiritually.

Bartimaeus was blind physically, but he could see spiritually.  He was blind of body, but not of spirit and soul.   Think about that for a moment.  

  • He had not seen any of the Lord’s miracles.
  • He had not seen, had not witnessed, a single one.
  • He had never once seen the Lord touch lepers and heal them.
  • He had never seen Jesus heal or cure any person of any illness.
  • He had not seen the Lord Jesus raise the dead by merely speaking a word.
  • He had not seen any of this—yet he believed.

Many today want to see some great sign, some great supernatural working of God before we believe in Christ.  We are to live and walk by faith, and not by sight.  We believe the Gospel.  The power of the glorious Gospel.  We “see,” through the eyes of faith – believing in what Jesus has done for us in both His life and His death…

A number of years ago I read about this strange fish of a family called the Anableps. You can Google this if it interests you.  But it is this strange species of fish found in Central America and parts of South America.  It is a kind of fish that has two sets of eyes.  It is actually one set, but eyes divide the water line, enabling to see two ways: above water and under water.

We all see two ways.  Physically and spiritually.  This takes us to the second principle. . . .

2) You Can See, But Be Blind Physically And Spiritually.

This principle is similar to last yesterday’s study . . . you can be sick and think you are well.  Remember what Jesus said to Matthew the Tax Collector?  He said, “I did not come for those who are sick and thin they are well; I have come for those who want to be well because they know they are sick.”  Well, similarly, you can see, but really be blind.  In fact, someone has said, “There is no one so blind as one who refuses to see!”
Refuses to see what?  Refuses to see that we are no different spiritually from what Bartimaeus was physically.

Remember his condition?  Blind, poor, outcast.  What was true of Bartimaeus’ physical condition is true of every man’s spiritual condition – every man, every woman, every young person.  We are each of us blind, poor, and outcast because of our sin.

Do you believe this?  You must believe you are sick before you can be made well.  You must acknowledge spiritual blindness, before you can see.

Spiritual blindness…

In the context of these verses there are actually two healings: In 8:22-26 and this passage.  They bookend Jesus’ teaching about His coming death and resurrection, the “passion passages,” which is interesting because the disciples never really quite grasped what Jesus was talking about there.  They were “blinded” from seeing this truth.

Sometimes we do not see the truth because we do not want to see the truth . . . we don’t like what we see.  It is much like a part of our body we do not like to see in the mirror.  We want to shield our eyes from things we don’t like to see.

Ask yourself, “Is the reason I cannot see spiritually because – deep down – I do not like what I see?  I do not want to believe the Gospel?  I do not want to believe the Bible?  I do not want to surrender?”

You Can be Blind, but See (Blind Physically; See Spiritually)
You can See, but be Blind (See Physically, Blind Spiritually)


3) If You Can See, You Must Help Others to See.

Even with the marginalized, the outcasts, the misfits Jesus willing to be interrupted.  How about your schedule?  Are you willing to be interrupted by the blind, someone asking you a question may be like a blind man bumping his cane into you?

Jesus is never too busy for you, for anyone, even though He would soon face tremendous suffering, he was always interested in others first.  He had just taught this in verses 42-45.  He had said that true greatness is defined by serving others.  He had said, “Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.”  Putting others first, helping the blind see.

This past week I read in the new an article entitled, “Ten Killer Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without.” It was the last one that really got my attention: Help give sight to the blind.  Just for a moment I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are blind.  Now, let’s complete a few basic tasks, like separating medications, using the right button on a microwave oven or knowing which side of the street to catch the bus. Think of all the questions you might have because you cannot see.  There’s a new non-profit app out that allows sighted people to “lend their eyes” to those with visual impairments through video chat.   Simply put, that is remarkable.  The Be My Eyes (Apple; Free) app was developed by a visually impaired man in Denmark.  It connects blind people to sighted volunteers through video chat.  The volunteer can answer questions because they can see the blind person’s surroundings using their phone’s camera.

Help others see the Way, the Truth,  and the Life – your family, your sons and daughters, moms and dads, neighbors, the unreached across our commonwealth, country, continents . . . The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

When Jesus began His ministry He quoted Isaiah and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable  at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18)

Amazing Grace
How Sweet the Sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
was blind but now I see!

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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