Blind Faith

blind bartimaeus healed JesusAnd as Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”  And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.  And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”  And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

If there was ever a literal example of “blind faith” it was this blind beggar along the road at the edge of Jericho.  His faith certainly impressed Christ’s followers, for his story is recorded in both Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  His story should impress us too, for Bartimaeus has something to teach us about the nature of faith that changes lives.

What kind of faith did Bartimaeus have?  What kind of faith should we have?  First, all of Bartimaeus’ faith was centered in Christ.  His faith was not in positive thinking, or in tapping into the nature of the universe, or even faith in faith itself, but his faith was solely and completely in a man: Jesus Christ.  More specifically, this passage teaches us he had faith in Christ’s heart, in Christ’s call, in Christ’s power, and in Christ’s leading.

Bartimaeus had faith in Christ’s heart.  He had faith that Jesus had a heart of mercy and love, or he would not have called out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Think about this: if Donald Trump was walking down the street, I could call out, “Donald Trump, give me ten million dollars!”  Yes, I could do that— but I know it wouldn’t do any good.  Why not? Not because Donald Trump wouldn’t be able to give me ten million dollars, but because I’m pretty confident that Donald Trump’s heart wouldn’t want to part with even ten dollars, let alone ten million.  I have no faith in Donald Trump’s heart. But not so with Jesus: Bartimaeus was convinced of Christ’s mercy.

Bartimaeus’ faith in Christ’s heart was steadfast even in the face of opposition.  He kept crying out even when many rebuked him.  What rebukes did he receive?  They probably sounded like “Jesus doesn’t care about you.  Jesus is too busy, too important, too holy to bother with the likes of you.”  Bartimaeus knew those voices didn’t matter: what mattered was Christ.

What about our faith in Christ’s heart?  Are we convinced of Christ’s mercy and love for us?  Or do we waver when we hear the rebuke of doubt from others or maybe even the doubt in our own heart?  Faith in God’s goodness and His love for us is the very first step to receiving a miracle in our life.  Where do you need to be healed?  Where do you need to have God do something no one else can do?  Do you really believe that God loves you (John 3:16) and wants to heal your heart (Psalm 147:3) and bring you joy (John 15:11)? The first step to all of these is to have faith in Christ’s heart.

Next, Bartimaeus had faith in Christ’s call.  When the crowd finally told him, “Jesus is calling for you,” Bartimaeus had a choice.  He could stand to his feet and blindly push through the crowd in faith, or he could say, “No, they’re just lying to me.  Jesus isn’t calling me.”  If he had not had faith in Christ’s call, he would never have been healed.

The apostles repeatedly encouraged the early believers that Christ had called them:

You who are called to belong to Jesus Christ… loved by God and called to be saints (Romans 1:6-7)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

For you were called to freedom, brothers. (Galatians 5:13)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. (Colossians 3:15)

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

If you are a child of God, Christ has called you, and that calling is wonderful beyond your wildest dreams.  Have faith in Christ’s call.

Once he had come to Christ, Bartimaeus had faith in Christ’s power.  There might have been many in that crowd who had a kind heart toward Bartimaeus, but there was only one who had the power to heal him.

Why did Christ ask Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” To demonstrate that Bartimaeus had faith in His ability to heal him.  What if Bartimaeus had doubted, and just told Jesus, “I want you to give me a cheerful word” or “I want you to give me a piece of gold”  or even “No thanks, Jesus, I don’t really need anything today.” No, Bartimaeus knew what he needed, and knew who could give it to him.

Do we have the same faith in Christ’s power that Bartimaeus had? Do we dare to ask Jesus to do truly supernatural things in our lives, or do we play it safe and ask him for little things we think are going to happen anyway?  What is absolutely impossible in your life right now?  What can only God do for you?  Do you have faith in Christ’s power, to do even the impossible?  It’s not easy to have that kind of faith, but it’s absolutely vital if we are going to walk with Christ.  Maybe that’s why Matthew, Mark & Luke all records Jesus’ words, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  What do you need to ask Christ for in faith today?

Finally, Bartimaeus had faith in Christ’s leading. The passage shows us that Bartimaeus had faith in more than just Christ’s healing power, but in Christ as a teacher and leader. Many people came to hear Jesus or get a free meal from Jesus or even be healed by Jesus, but few left all to follow Jesus.  But after he received his sight, Bartimaeus followed Christ.

It is no different today.  Many will go to church to hear about Jesus, and some will even experience Christ in a deep way through salvation and healing.  But their faith seems to end there; they want no part of leaving their comfort zone behind and actually walking with Jesus in faith.  

But Jesus wants more: He not only wants to be your Saviour, but your teacher & leader & Lord.  He wants us to have the faith to listen to Him, trust Him, follow Him, obey Him, & if need be die for Him.

This kind of faith, the faith in Christ’s leading, will transform our lives and give us more joy than even blind Bartimaeus had on that day.  Will you have that kind of faith in Christ today? 

3 comments to Blind Faith

  • [...] It’s Christian Carnival Time!We begin with a collection of posts having to do with Biblical understanding and application:At Light Along the Journey, John looks at the nature of the faith that transformed the life of Bartimaeus in the post Blind Faith. [...]

  • Diane R

    Good post. I would have liked you to go one step further, however. Bartimaeus probably, like all Jews at that time, understood he had a covenant (OT) with God for healing. Since it was assumed by most of the common people that Jesus was either God or at least a messenger (prophet) of God, he might have surmised that this person (Jesus) would not only want to heal him but as a convenant child WOULD heal him.

    This is eactly what the Hagin-Copeland gang teach by the way. They don’t teach, as many assume, to have faith in your faith. They teach that Christians have a new covenant which includes healing AND that covenant is absolutely and solely based on Jesus and his mediatorial and atonement work on the cross. Although I don’t subscribe to many things peope like Copeland teaches, I think he and some other Word of Faith teachers has hit the nail on the head about healing and why Christians (people of the covenant) have the right to be healed.

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