March 14th 2009

A Lesson From A Blind Beggar

“…a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road”.
Mark 10:46-52 NIV

I used to watch a blind beggar. He was normally on a traffic island by an intersection in the middle of Jan Smuts Road in Johannesburg. A younger woman would assist him, and, when the traffic lights turned red, she would guide him along the waiting cars while he, for effect, would rattle a few coins noisily in a tin cup.

It was a good spot and probably the beggar made more money than some. Often I wondered what would happen if he were to regain his sight. How would he earn his living?

Chances are the only work Bartimaeus had ever done was begging. He is unlikely to have had any education or apprenticeship. How would he survive once Jesus healed him? What would be next? The future seemed less certain, more insecure. His deciding to ask for and accept healing from Jesus was a step into the unknown.

Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted. You would have thought it would have been obvious. I guess the beggar could have asked for money or food or clothing, but instead he asks for a miracle, something that would change his life completely.

When we come to Jesus our lives change completely. Through a miracle our spiritual sight is restored. Just like the blind man in this story we don’t necessarily know what’s next. Sometimes for us too it is a step into the unknown, a leap of faith.

Not knowing where it would lead him, the transformed Bartimaeus “followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God” (Luke 18:43).

Prayer
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me in the way you had mercy on Bartimaeus. Open my eyes that I may see you and follow you always along the road of life.
Amen.

Study by James Henderson

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