Face to Face with Jesus (Part 7 of 10)
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
The hymn, “Amazing Grace” is probably one of the most loved of all hymns and the words speak volumes to our souls.
“I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”,
These words from the hymn, sum up the very essence of what the two men in our story this week, experienced when they came face to face with Jesus. Blindness was a curse in more ways than one in Jesus’ time on earth. Firstly the Jews erroneously believed that some sort of sin had caused this blindness and consequently those blind were ostracised by the general public. Secondly there was no government funding or help in any way so those who were blind were forced to beg for a living. The two men are blessed with an out pouring of amazing grace from a compassionate Saviour who not only gives them back their sight, but restores their dignity and today he is still ready and waiting to do the same for those who seek him.
The first man’s story is found in Mark 10:46 – 52
We are actually told the man’s name and find out he is Bartimaeus and has placed himself in a convenient exit from the city to be able to beg from travellers coming and going. He obviously had heard of Jesus and when he hears that he is going to pass by he calls out loudly, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”(Mark 10:47) He uses what is known as a messianic title, meaning that he is recognising that Jesus is the long awaited messiah. The crowd are horrified at his behaviour and try to stop this , in their eyes, unworthy beggar from annoying Jesus, but Jesus calls him to him and Bartimaeus in his eagerness to come into Jesus presence throws off and leaves behind what is his most precious possession, his cloak, and meets his Saviour. (We are reminded of how the woman at the well also abandoned her water jar, her precious possession, to tell others of her joy.)
Bartimaeus answers boldly when Jesus asks him what he wants and is rewarded with the gift of sight and joyfully follows Jesus. As in so many other healings we again we hear Jesus say, “…Your faith has healed you.” ( Mark 10:52 ) Beautiful lessons for us in this story. Bartimaeus was not deterred by the naysayers in the crowd. He knew he needed to find Jesus. He knew he needed to ask for healing. He knew the next best thing was to follow Jesus. He did all three!
The second man’s story is found in John 9:1 – 41
We do not know this man’s name, but a whole chapter in the gospel of John is devoted to his story. This man has been born blind with all the drawbacks of this affliction and he too has been forced to beg for a living and carries the same stigma of those around him believing he or his parent’s sin brought this upon him. This time the story is different from that of Bartimaeus as Jesus seeks this man out and without being asked graciously draws the man to him and to the surprise of the onlookers uses his saliva and dirt from the ground to place on the man’s eyes. The man is involved in his healing by following Jesus’ direction to wash in the Pool of Siloam. Often we too have to trust the Lord and follow what he has planned for us to do. The man is still ignorant of who Jesus is, but slowly we follow his walk of faith as he first grasps his name “…the man they call Jesus” (John 9:11) then that he is a prophet” The man replied, “He is a prophet. “ (John 9:17) then that Jesus was filled with God’s power, “If this man was not from God, he could do nothing” (John 9:33) then the wonderful break through as Jesus reveals who he is, “Then the man said, “I believe”, and he worshiped him.” (John 9:38). This is a wonderful example of a steady progression of faith and to the fact that we all come to faith in different ways. For Bartimaeus it was an immediate recognition of who Jesus was. For the man in our story it was more of a journey and our loving Heavenly Father is more than willing to welcome us with open arms in any way we come to him.
What is it about these two stories that fills you with joy?
Next week we witness Jesus overcoming the power of Satan, to inflict misery on men, as he heals a demon possessed man and a boy tormented by a demon.
- From the highway side to the Most High Way (thepauls.wordpress.com)
- Led Apart (pttyann2.wordpress.com)