Spiritual blindness. That’s what I’ve got for you today. The story that I am writing about today is hands down, one of my absolute favorite lessons from God’s Word. It is rich – and it can apply to so many of us (if we will just let it). My prayer is that if you find yourself blind – just like I did the first time I heard Mark 10 in this way, that you will learn a lesson. This blog post is called “The Blind Leading the Blind”, because sometimes I find myself “spiritually blind”. That is a place where I am not putting my best foot forward for God. I am “skimming off the top or around the edges.” Just getting by to get my spiritual check mark in the attendance book. Present – but not “all in.” Do you find yourself there sometimes? It’s almost as if the cares of the world have “choked” us out. The Bible talks about this in Mark 4:19- but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. This verse talks about “the worries of this life” and it even says “the desires for other things” – put that in a math equation and that equals being spiritually blinded for a bit. Not being “about” the things that God wants us to be about. For example, missed opportunities to pray with others, to love our neighbors, to be about our Father’s business, to get our hearts and heads back where God wants them to be. Jesus was “on point” with those things. But we let the “cares of this world” choke out what we need to do and where we need to be as followers of Christ. If I have found myself in a place of being “blind”, how do I turn that around???
Let’s see how this story unfolds in Mark 10:46: Bartimaeus is a blind beggar. I am going to refer to him throughout this story as “Mr. B” because it sure is hard for me to type out Bartimaeus every time I want to say his name. Mr. B is sitting on the road in Jericho where people pass by – people that will give them “alms”. Meriam Webster dictionary says that “alms” are – something (such as money or food) given freely to relieve the poor. So – I am sure there was many a “beggar” (I am using the Bible’s term here – not making a derogatory comment) lined up on the road that day. But Mr. B obviously isn’t feeling like just any beggar. He knows that those travelling on the road were different that day. Verse 46 in Mark tells us that Jesus, His disciples and a crowd were walking past. The Bible says “They came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd…..” In my mind, I am seeing a lot of commotion. Almost like a dignitary processional walking down the road. Now here is a good piece of information to keep in mind as well – they are leaving Jericho. Jesus is making his final trip to Jerusalem where He will be crucified. I am filling in the blanks here, but Mr. B obviously asks someone, “Why all the commotion? Why the large crowd of folks this day?” Someone in the crowd tells Mr. B that “Jesus the Nazarene” is coming down the road. Well, something happens inside Mr. B. He has HOPE that Jesus can take away his blindness. Physically, and I believe spiritually. Because he says in verse 47, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Notice the crowd didn’t say “Jesus, Son of David is coming down the road.” They told Mr. B that “Jesus the Nazarene is coming down the road.” There is a big difference in just being a “Nazarene” and being “Son of David”. Mr. B was recognizing Jesus as one with authority – recognizing His power and ability, and qualities of the Messiah.
Let me ask a question here – Do we position ourselves on that same road with all of those beggars when we are spiritually blind to ask the ONE who can deliver us from that blindness to heal us and put us back on track where we know we need to be???
The answer to that question for me is – “Nope. Not really.” I am going to fumble around and try to win the spiritual battle on my own first. I may ask friends to pray for me. I may seek counseling or coaching. I may circle the track of “self” for at least 4 – 8 laps (isn’t that a mile and two miles on the track??) before I just sit myself down and BEG God for the forgiveness and healing that I need that only comes from Him. Because after all, “Jesus, Son of David” is a prayer away for me, just like HE was right in front of Mr. B. I JUST HAVE TO FEEL AND SEE THE SAME NEED FOR FORGIVENESS, JUST LIKE MR. B. I will eventually get to the right position or posture, but it might take me a second. A mile. Or two miles. And even then, I might let the “cares of this world” choke me out. Let’s continue into Mr. B’s story – the “cares of the world” as I read here, is the crowd that is sitting with him. Verse 48 says that the crowd basically tells Mr. B to “keep quiet.” Hmmmm – the cares of the world. “Keep. Quiet.” Basically, my thought bubble contains things like, “You can do this on your own. You don’t need help from others. Don’t let them see this vulnerability in you. No need to pray about this yet. Why bother God with this?” The list goes on and on, and I sink deeper and deeper into spiritual blindness. But oh, for me to take a lesson from Mr. B – In verse 48 when the crowd was telling him to be quiet, the Bible says, “…he was crying out all the more, Have mercy on me, Son of David!” In my thought bubble, I see Mr. B yelling to get Jesus’ attention.
“Lord. Please let me yell louder – above all my circumstances – to You during my time of spiritual blindness.” (Taken from Leslie’s thought bubble)
The rest of the story is even more amazing. In vv. 49-52 of Mark Ch. 10, Jesus calls Mr. B over to Him. And of course, when that happens, the crowd gets on board, seemingly like if they (as in “the crowd”) show approval for Mr. B, maybe Jesus will show favor for them too. Ummmm – Leslie’s thought bubble – I have to come to Jesus, yell out to Him on MY own terms. I can’t expect favor through a collateral relationship with Him. It has to be MY relationship. In other words, just because my grandmother loved Jesus doesn’t mean I have a relationship with Him. Just because my parents took me to church doesn’t mean I have a relationship with Him. I have to accept Him. I have to have that relationship with Him. Mr. B “threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.” He threw off everything that would bind him and left it right there on the side of the road to follow Jesus and be healed. He left his things with the others, because he no longer would need them. Jesus asked Mr. B what he wanted – and his answer – “I want to see.” (v. 51) Jesus healed him in v. 52 and then told Mr. B to “Go your way. Your faith has healed you.” What did Mr. B do? The Bible says “he followed Him on the road.” Well yea —- I believe I would do that too!!
What things are making you spiritually blind today – anger, resentment, bitterness, hurt, pride, lust, the list can go on. Here is the blank for you to fill in ____________________________. And there may be many ______________’s. Cry out – LOUDLY – for Jesus to heal your blindness today. Position yourself where you know He will be coming down the road beside you – and be healed. And then follow Him. Wherever the road and the circumstances may lead.