What did Bartimaeus do after he received his sight? I think most of you know the answer.
The Gospel of Mark describes a wonderful story of a blind beggar called Bartimaeus whom Jesus healed of his blindness.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and the blind Bartimaeus was sitting on the roadside begging. When he heard that, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, his heart was filled with hope and he shouted in a loud voice asking Jesus to heal him.
However, the disciples and the crowd rebuked Bartimaeus for shouting as they never expected Jesus to heal him. Fortunately, Jesus heard his voice and called him closer to Him and enquires about his situation. Let us read rest of the story from the scriptures itself:
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
In verse 52, we see Bartimaeus receiving his sight and immediately following Jesus along the road. Here, what we find is; Bartimaeus was cured of not only his physical blindness but also of his spiritual blindness.
He decides to follow Jesus the moment he realizes that his blindness has been cured. So, we see a healing process followed by a decision on the part of the one who received the healing to follow the one who healed him.
There is also a similar story of a miraculous healing of blindness in the Bible. In this story the character is Apostle Paul. Let us hear it straight from the scriptures.
5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.(Acts 9, 3-9)
Here, in the above scriptures, verse 9 says, Apostle Paul was blind for three days and his eyes were opened – his blindness was cured by Jesus after His servant Ananias prayed over Saul.
Apostle Paul also, after he receives his sight, decides to follow Jesus and live as a witness for the Gospel of Christ.
Here too we see the same behaviour as in the case of Bartimaeus; the one who received the sight deciding to follow the one who healed him.
Also, in the above two examples of Apostle Paul and Bartimaeus, we see a complete healing of not only Physical blindness but also Spiritual blindness.
In other words: a physical healing followed by a genuine spiritual healing and a complete conversion of both the characters.
Sometimes, when we think about Blindness, we take the physical blindness very seriously and spiritual blindness very lightly. However, from an eternal perspective, the spiritual blindness is more serious than the Physical blindness.
Let me explain this point a bit more clearly:
The consequence of physical blindness is temporary; it won’t last for ever. However, the consequence of spiritual blindness is eternal and it can last for ever.
Each time When Jesus healed someone, His focus was on the conversion of that soul; He expected a complete turn-around in the life of the person who received that healing.
From the scriptures, we do understand that, most of the healings really did produce this kind of change in the lives of those individuals except in the case of ten Lepers. Eight of them, out of ten, went on their way and only two followed Christ.
So, now we understand that, the primary purpose of a miraculous healing is to bring a complete spiritual change in our lives.
Jesus comes near us and heals us because:
He wants us to follow Him. But, unfortunately, this is not the reality.
Please Remember, once we too were spiritually blind like Saul and Bartimaeus. Because of our sinful nature, we were alienated from our eternal inheritance. We could not enjoy anything that belonged to the Kingdom of God. We were without eternal peace and joy.
We could not differentiate between good and evil and Christ saved us from this pathetic state.
He cured us of our spiritual blindness, now we could see clearly and comprehend the Eternal Truth.
But, despite having this clear spiritual vision, majority of the born-again believers are not following Christ wholeheartedly. Like the eight Lepers, most of them have taken their own paths.
Majority of the believers, instead of following Christ, are following their own hearts and seeking the pleasures of this perishable world.
They have exalted themselves above the eternal truth. For them, fulfilling their own will is more important than seeking God’s will.
Well, you might argue that, this cannot be true; but let me ask you: If the followers of Christ are truly following HIM, then:
- why there is so much immorality in the Christian World?
- Why so many Christian families are dis-integrated?
These are just two examples I am using to drive home my point.
Today, the followers of Christ have strayed too far from Him. We need to return to Christ and follow Him. We can’t live like the gentiles anymore: See what Apostle Paul says:
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
But, Following Christ means what?
- Is it going to church on Sunday and singing?
- Is it teaching in the Sunday School?
- Is it distributing tracts on the street?
Following Christ means living in obedience to His Commandments, completely surrendering your life to His Will and Purpose. See what He says in John 15:
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15, 10).
The above verses clearly emphasise the fact that:
To remain in the Love of Christ, we need to obey Him, we need to keep His Commandments. There is no love without obedience.
Your love for Christ should be proven by your obedience. When you obey Christ, you are abiding in Him; and when you abide in Him, you bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God.
So, let us be diligent in following Christ wholeheartedly. Let us put away all the filth of our past and walk before God Almighty with a heart of integrity.