Blind and Dumb - Part 1
Pastor Arn Buck
Heart Song Worship Center
A person who is physically blind knows that they cannot see. A person who spiritually blind usually is completely unaware that they cannot see.
Healing From Blindness
Blind and dumb is a good way to describe spiritual blindness. A person who is physically blind knows that cannot see. A person who spiritually blind usually is completely unaware that they cannot see. Both are in need of healing. Although modern medicine has been great strides in restoring sight to those with physical blindness, God is the ultimate healer of both types. It is the last recorded healing of Jesus before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
We will look at the account of this healing as described in Mark. It is also covered in Matthew 20:29-33 and Luke 18:35-43. Matthew's account states that two blind beggars were seeking Jesus for healing while Mark's and Luke's account only speak of one. Many Biblical experts believe that difference is probably due to the fact that Bartimaeus was probably much more noticeable than the other beggar. Since his name is used it is likely that Bartimaeus was a well known beggar in that area.
The healing took place outside of Jericho. New testament Jericho was founded by Herod the Great and was two miles southwest of where the original city of Jericho stood. Herod chose it as the location for his summer palace making this a popular resort for the wealthy. It was a stop-over for pilgrims traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem and a prosperous trading town. It was famous for a medicinal balm that was made from the gum of trees that only grew in Jericho.
Because of its wealth it must have been a popular place for beggars. There were many beggars at the time of Jesus because many Jews did not follow the law of Moses regarding the care of relatives who could not support themselves (Leviticus 25:35-38). The teachers of the law taught that sickness and poverty were punishment for sin and that helping them might interfere with God's administration of judgment upon them. Jesus challenged this type of rationalization and distortion of God's law. Bartimaeus was near the gate of Jericho in order to maximize his exposure to wealthy travelers.
Mark 10:46-52 (NLT) And they reached Jericho. Later, as Jesus and his disciples left town, a great crowd was following. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road as Jesus was going by. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus from Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" "Be quiet!" some of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, "Tell him to come here." So they called the blind man. "Cheer up," they said. "Come on, he's calling you!" Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. "Teacher," the blind man said, "I want to see!" And Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has healed you." And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road.
Luke 18:43 (NLT) Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
When Barimaeus learned the Jesus was in the area he began to shout out to Him. He addressed Him as the Son of David implying that he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. He also approached Him with humility by asking Jesus to have mercy on him. They way he sought Jesus is typical of the way we approach God when we are in desperate need for His help. Instead of helping the poor man, those around him tried to silence him. They were discouraging him from his noble quest. Did hearing his voice annoy them as a reminder of how many of them their selfishness in not adequately providing for the needy. Did they think that Bartimaeus, as a beggar, was unworthy of worthy of Jesus' attention? Were they upset that he was interfering with their ability to hear Jesus in case He said something? In any case they did not deter him. He was determined to find Jesus. Instead of being deterred he shouted louder.
This passage is often used in encouraging people to seek Jesus for salvation. A lot of preaching and teaching focuses on the cross and on salvation or redemption. Both of these are extremely important and at the core of the Gospel. However, as Christians we must remember that salvation is the door that opens to our relationship with God. It is a starting point not a place to remain.
Jesus' suffering and death on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's great love for us. It is something will be commemorated through eternity as indication by the scars in Jesus' hands as shown in Revelation. However, if we stay there, we will not grow. The church universal has done a tremendous job of getting people saved and through the door of the church. It has done a poor job of discipling them. Much of effective discipling involves being an example and mentoring. Each of us must do all we can to grow and mature in the Lord in order to help others mature. We have to turn things around and do to change the church from what it is to what it should be.
Sanctification - Healing From Our Disease of Sin
Like Bartimaeus we need to regularly acknowledge are need for Jesus by calling out to Him. We cannot be discouraged by the lies of the Devil or the unbelief of our friends and family. In those times we must be like him and cry out louder for Jesus. After getting Jesus' attention Bartimaeus cast off his outer garment and ran toward Jesus. Like him we must run unimpeded along the path that God has for us.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.
The outer garment was a blanket like piece of cloth that was used to protect its wearer from the elements. It can represent the outer man. The outer image that we make look pretty. The part of us that we can use to keep others a safe distance away. We must cast it off and expose our heart to God. We must let His Holy Spirit deal with our inner being.
As we run the race we should be experiencing God's process of sanctification. As we are sanctified we are progressively made holier as we assume more and more of the nature and character of Jesus. A significant part of this process is God's on-going healing of our disease of sin.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted to be healed from. Why did he did to ask? It was obvious that he was blind. As a part of the process of sanctification, the Holy Spirit will bring parts of our sinful nature to us. He will do this in a way that should not discourage us. He will show us only those things that he knows we are capable of handling with God's help. He wants us to see that condition and are need for healing from it. We then need to call out to Jesus and ask Him to heal us. As when He questioned Bartimaeus, He expects us to acknowledge or confess the condition that we need healing. In calling out to Him we acknowledge our faith in His ability to heal us. When He heals us we should be grateful celebrate as we saw that Bartimaeus and many others at the end Luke's account of the healing.
Spiritual Verses Physical Blindness
As mentioned earlier a person who is physically blind knows that cannot see. A person who spiritually blind usually is completely unaware that they cannot see. Those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are completely spiritual blind. They are blinded by Satan and completely unaware of their need for healing.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NLT) But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.
Jesus came to heal those who are spiritually blind. He also came to show men that they are blind and are in need of healing.
John 9:39 (NLT) Then Jesus told him, "I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind."
Let's do a quick comparison between physical and spiritual blindness.
Those who are know that they are and so do others.
People do not choose to be blind.
Our sight is determined by the health of the eye. Our vision can be defective (i.e., color blindness, astigmatism).
Those who are almost always do not know they are. If they
are told they usually do not accept it. Their blindness
might be seen to those with spiritual sight.
People are blind by their own choice although they do not realize it.
Our sight can be selective.
We can choose not to see certain things.
The Holy Spirit can cause us to see certain things for God's purpose.
We can distort what we see for our convenience and comfort.
Just like Bartimaeus sought healing for his physical blindness, we can seek healing for our spiritual blindness. It might be complete blindness or it might be selective. Jesus, is still able to heal and still desires to heal.
John 5:5-6 (NLT) One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?"