Blind Bartimaeus

The world around me without glasses or contacts is a foggy night, a blurry, desert mirage. I feel vulnerable, helpless and ignorant when I can’t see. Years ago I had an eye doctor who called me, ‘the village blind girl’. It doesn’t always occur to me, because I have corrective lenses, I’ve accepted my condition because the world has made it easy for me to live with the disability. I forget that I have a need.this forgetting, taxes our faith.

I remember as a child, before getting glasses I couldn’t participate in a world I couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel secure. I was timid. i learned to rely on other sense, in fact my other senses are well endowed because of it.  in fourth grade, the whole grade traipsed outside to the field. We were releasing balloons. We were all gathered there a great crowd, a mass of little bodies, and breathe, and excited voices penetrated my ears. My heart beating with anticipation, but I was  disappointed that day. For me, the balloons were long gone while everyone stood watching them go , i can understand whats its like to not be able to see.

Bartimaeus was a blind man, and because he was blind he couldn’t participate or function in society.  he became a beggar. He lived in a world, which made it easy for him to remember his flaw. No glasses, no doctors, no work, no hope for a different life. Disappointment probably defined him, while everyone bustled about him on a daily basis, he sat there. For him, life was long gone, before it actually was. A lonely, existence he couldn’t participate. walking about would have been dangerous and left him defenseless. Bartimaeus was sitting by the road to Jericho, begging and blind because that’s all he could do.

He hears Jesus…the Nazarene is near. “A prophet is never welcome in his own home.” It was hard for people to see Jesus as someone other than Joseph’s the carpenters son, but here is Bartimaeus who couldn’t see anything. His faith was activated because he heard Jesus was near. ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’, and we know who the word of God is.

With a violent, desperate faith Bartimaeus cries out … with multitudes pressing Jesus, with animals lowing and voices shouting , children and the noises of a busy street, he cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, not son of Joseph, Son of David ,have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus, a blind beggar with the voice of the prophets defies the crowds requests to, ‘be quiet’, and shouts even louder, Jesus, son of David! This marginal member of society suddenly catches the attention, of those in the crowd by attributing to Jesus,  the power of God to have mercy on Him, and the power and anointing of Messiah, King, The Expected Branch who would deliver Israel, restore and save the people of God and arise with HEALING in his wings. The Lord our Righteousness, is what the prophet Jeremiah said of the Son of David. Bartimaeus was making a statement not simply a request.

Bartimaeus somehow mustered enough faith from the depths of poverty, because that’s where it comes from. Faith doesn’t come from a wealth of what we have, see and know, but it emerges out of our poverty and desperation. It’s easier to have faith when we can’t meet our own needs.

Jesus stops and commands the others, “call him here”

Bartimaeus could have used excuses, or been frightened or said, ” I can’t do it’, i can’t see”, expecting  Jesus to approach him. But no, Bartimaeus jumped up, it says in the scriptures he jumped up and threw aside his coat. Which was probably filthy and old. He had no problem, throwing off the old man, the besetting sin, and the dirty rags which he had associated with his weakness.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:22, “in reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old man.” and in Zechariah,   “remove the filthy garments from him, see I have taken away your sin from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”  Faith proceeds obedience.

• Faith isn’t what we believe, but who we believe in
• Faith is not what we believe, but what we do with what we believe.
• Faith is faithfulness.
• Faith is a verb

The word for ‘faith’ in Greek is Pistis, this is: confidence in the Gospel which results in good works. You can have confidence in God, which results in nothing, that is false faith. That’s the “faith” even the demons have according to James 2:19.

this is the faith the people of God displayed:
Hebrews 11
• they Offered
• Prepared an ark
• Obeyed
•  conceived
• Blessed
• worshiped
• Hid (Moses)
• Kept
• Passed through
• Encircled
• Conquered kingdoms
• Performed righteous acts
• Obtained promises
• Quenched the power of fire
• Put foreign armies to flight (my favorite)

They gained approval, because they took action in God.  faith pleases God when it produces good works. Faith isn’t a state of mind, it is a course of action. Faith is functional, it is operational, it moves us forward into the will of God to obey the voice of God and please the heart of God.

Faith is perfected by works. James 2:18&22.  These works are obedient acts that emerge from faith in God’s promises.

Jesus asked Bartimaeus,: “ what do you want me to do for you? Of course Jesus probably knew, everyone there knew and yet this was another opportunity for Bartimaeus to believe, out loud, in the power of the son of God. “Everyone who comes to God must believe that he is and he is a rewarder of those who eagerly seek Him!” Hebrews 11:6

Not only can our faith produce obedience, but our obedience can produce righteousness. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. NOTE: he did not believe in his promise (Isaac), he believed in His God.

 “let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness.” -Revelation 22:11

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for a week or a lifetime, we all need this reminder. Our flesh gets comfortable and complacent, our senses settle into Egypt’s provisions, instead of God’s power.

Jesus said on many occasions, your FAITH has made you well. your faith in the power of God.

the apostle Paul calls faith, a shield, which extinguishes the flaming missiles of the evil one.  Peter says, “resist the devil, firm in your faith.” 2 peter 5:9. Faith protects us from Satan’s attacks to kill , steal and destroy. Bartimeaus was made well because of his faith.

Maybe you’re not blind or poor or sitting on a dusty road of despair, but we all have something. Some part of our life that we need God to break into and make well and restore. It is this very thing that can propel us forward into his line of vision. Don’t let your one thing keep you crippled. Let it give you a voice and vision beyond the crowds. Let it make you desperate enough to  cry out for mercy, when you hear about Jesus. God can take our weaknesses and make them our strengths. Jesus could have seen Bartimaeus sitting there and just healed him. But he waited for Bartimaeus to seek , to ask ,  to obey, to cast off his garments . Bartimaeus couldn’t physically see, but because he couldn’t’ see, he was able to see what he needed to have what he wanted!

bartOur most pressing needs sometimes become the very something God lets us have so that we can know what we want. This week think about working faith. Not just believing God, but believing in God, in his power, in his willingness, in his love and compassion. Hear his voice. Let your faith produce good works. And when you feel your faith is small, pray: “Lord I do believe, help my unbelief.” Open my ears to hear that Jesus is near, awaken the vision of my heart – give me courage to speak over the crowds which would try to extinguish my desperate pleas. Produce in me a faith that puts out the lies of the enemy. Because by my faith, I am well – in Jesus name.

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