blind, broken people, compassion, desperation, faith, healing, Jesus Christ, miracles, power, seeking Him

Blind and Desperate, #85

Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus, by Johann Heinrich Stöver, 1861

“Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.”

42 “Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”

Luke 18:40-43

Tradition tells us that his name is Bartimaeus. This man, led by others, plopped on a mat by a curb, that’s where he will hold out a basket to collect coins. Hopefully, he would do well, and if not–well there will always be tomorrow–another black and meaningless day. Is this is as good as it’ll ever get?

The crowd around him starts to get more and more excited, and this man, who is very much attuned to the noise of the things around him, tries to pick out conversations, he wants to understand. He keeps listening, and the voices get louder and louder, and he finally pieces together what’s happening.

He finally hears one of them shout out, “It’s the Messiah! It’s him–he has come!” At that moment he too stands up, and begins to shout himself. But his shouting gets louder, and it turns into screams. Within seconds he’s out-of-control, and wild and insane. He releases years of pent up anger and frustration.

The crowd, who was once preoccupied by Jesus’ interesting entourage, now tries hard to quiet this wild dervish down. But he quite mad by now, completely out-of-control. His deranged screams are those of man pushed totally beyond reason.

The original Greek text describes two different words in the New Testament.

The first word used by the crowd is used as a cry for assistance, and deliverance. It’s basically a “respectable” kind of a shout for help. Loud, but still within reason. Earsplitting maybe, but still aware of itself and yet somewhat respectable.

But the second kind of scream, isn’t the regular ‘run-of-the-mill’ kind, rather it’s the scream of someone extremely disturbed. It is wild, primal–something animalistic, shrieking, unearthly, something that’s very disturbing. It’s the cry when an animal goes berserk and in pain, chews off its leg that’s caught in a steel trap. It’s much more than loud, it’s a scream from someone that’s completely out of control.

Dear friend, this is not a human scream. He’s far, far past that point.

Jesus is completely in control. He’s not disturbed, shocked or offended–he’s not fazed by this awful darkness of this desperate man. He orders that he be brought to him. At that moment, all eyes are glued to Jesus and this blind man. I have to believe a hush fell over everyone, quiet enough for them to hear the conversation.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus asks that question, and it seems an unreal thing to ask. And yet Jesus speaks it into this man’s wild, raving, out-of-control pain. It was Jesus who calmed the turbulent seas; he is now reaching into this man’s incredible darkness. “What do you want?” It’s a question that must be asked.

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.”

Jesus calmly announces to the man that his faith has saved him. At that instant Bartimaeus sees. That’s all that was needed.

I really need to ask you this–How far will you go, how loud will you get? How many people will you ignore to reach your Savior and your Healer? How insistent will you become? How outrageous will you get to see Jesus reach in and touch your need?

“Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.”

Joni Eareckson Tada

Standard
blind, disciples, follow Him, Holy Spirit, Pharisee, truth

When the Blind Lead, #44

BRUEGEL’S ‘THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND’

“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Matthew 15:14, (context, vv. 1-20)

One of the most descriptive issues of a cult is how much emphasis is based on conforming to the teachings and example of the leader. They’re to be obeyed, without any question or reservation. There can only be following, and how well you do that determines your “faithfulness” to what they are teaching as truth.

A religious walk will often emphasize conformity to a certain leader. He is the one who now directs our path. When we follow him we think we’re walking in truth. But Jesus warns us that there is a blindness that becomes dangerous to our spirits.

Jesus didn’t come to make you conform, He came to “transform.” We follow Him with our eyes wide open–we’re seeing for the first time. We’re finally perceive things as they really are, we no longer are wearing blindfolds, we no longer stumble over the bumps and pits in our path.

He makes us see. Jesus gives us spiritual sight that transforms us. We’re no longer following blind men, who only guide us into deep ditches, rather we now see where we’re going. We now walk in the day, and not in the dark night. This new sight is His gift to you.

Even when it’s dark out, we understand our path and where it’s leading us. The believer relies on the Word, it’s now his real source of understanding, it is now his light. We have the Holy Spirit which is our guide–He leads us into all truth. We no longer follow men, we follow Jesus!

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Ephesians 5:8

Standard
blind, faith, healing, Jesus Christ, power, transformation

Two Blind Men, Entry #40

The blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 

And their eyes were opened. 

Matthew 9:28-30, (context vv. 27-31)

I remember reading a story; more like a sanctified fable but maybe containing a bit of truth? The story (possibly from a French poem?) was that wherever Jesus would walk flowers would bloom in His footprints. I suppose the idea was that wherever Jesus went–life, healing and wholeness happened. It was His footprints; His presence that brought out the very essence of the Kingdom of God.

The love Jesus has for us is that wonderful. His grace–a grace that heals and forgives, a grace that’s now flourishing in the heart of a every real disciple. His mere presence brings us flowers even in the hard times.

Without Him, it seems we’re stuck with plastic roses that really don’t impress anyone. They aren’t real.

Jesus heals these blind men. They are completely without sight. They have understood nothing but blackness, but that is about to be instantly changed, it will come like a switch is flipped. Pop! Instant sight. Suddenly everything floods in. They “see” everything for the first time. Imagine, to be sightless, and then to suddenly see. Colors, trees, flowers, faces, and Jesus all at once. Can you imagine what that must be like?

These men had to have faith–that ‘spiritual ability’ to step out and grasp a healing that hasn’t come yet. They first need to trust the man (Jesus) before the healing can ever be received. “Do you believe I can do this…” I suppose the issue here is identity, the Lord Jesus Christ declaring His authority over this blindness. He intends to heal. It’s His nature to heal.

Wherever Jesus chooses to walk, supernatural things happen. We’re called to trust the person of Jesus, to simply believe Him, and expect Him to keep His word; but whatever happens, happens. Believers will choose to continue to believe, no matter what. They know the difference between real and plastic flowers.

I believe in Jesus’ character–His absolute love for me, and His power over everything. I love Him, and I look for His presence, and suddenly amazing miracles happen. But it’s Him–it’s all Him, and I must put my faith in Him. He does all the work, I’m the lazy guy leaning on my shovel.

But He wants to heal us, that’s His nature. My feeble faith can move things. My mustard seed faith can elevate mountains. It makes wonderful things happen. But that faith has to be fortified, cemented into His heart– we must tell of Jesus’ kindness and mercy and love for those still lost. We must believe in Him to touch others, and then whatever might happen after that will always be His decision. He will always be the Lord either way.

“When human reason has exhausted every possibility, the children can go to their Father and receive all they need. … For only when you have become utterly dependent upon prayer and faith, only when all human possibilities have been exhausted, can you begin to reckon that God will intervene and work His miracles.”

-Basilea Schlink

   

Standard