A Blind Beggar Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
A Blind Beggar
This poor man was weighed down by two great evils-blindness and poverty. It’s sad enough to be blind, but if a blind man is wealthy, there are thousands of things that he could buy to make himself comfortable and to cheer him up. But to be both blind and poor is an awful condition to be in.
The case of Bartimaeus, however, is a perfect example of you and me. We are all blind and poor, by nature. We think that we can see, but in some ways we are blind. Our blindness is the kind that makes us believe we can see; but when we receive light from the Holy Spirit, we discover that our previous sight was only blindness. Spiritually, we are blind; we are unable to recognize our lost condition; unable to behold the awfulness of our sin or to comprehend the terror of the judgment to come.
But besides being blind, we are also naturally poor. Our father Adam lost our inheritance and our wealth. All of us are blind and poor in a spiritual sense until we make Jesus our Savior. I hope that today there will be many men and women around the world, who are blind and poor, who are nevertheless begging-wanting to have something more than they have-not content with their position. I hope they will have enough spiritual life to know their misery, and that they will come to the place of begging. And today, when Jesus passes by, they will have the faith to cry aloud to Him for mercy. I know Jesus will be moved by their thrilling cry, “Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” I know he will turn and give them sight so that they will follow Him and go on their way rejoicing.
Today, I want to talk to any poor and blind, men and women, who might be here. The poor blind man’s faith, which is described in this passage of scripture, is a fitting picture of the faith which I pray to God for you to use for the saving of your soul.
If you are one who belongs to God, think about how important it is to give the gospel to those who are outside the family of God; and pray that they will come to faith in Christ. I am going to speak about only four things:
• First, the origin of this man’s faith; how his faith perceived its opportunity when Jesus passed by.
• Second, we will listen to his faith, when it cries out and begs.
• Third, we will look at his faith, as he leaps in joyful obedience to the Savior’s call.
• Fourth, we will hear his faith as he asks Jesus, “Lord, that I might receive my sight.”
And I hope that we will be able to rejoice with this poor believing man, with his sight restored, as he expresses his thankfulness and gratitude to Christ, and then follows Him down the road.
First, then, let’s look at THE ORIGIN OF THIS MAN’S FAITH.
He had faith because that is what obtained his sight for him. But where did he get his faith? We are not told in this passage how Bartimaeus came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but I think we can risk a guess. It is quite certain that Bartimeus did not come to believe in Christ from what he saw. Jesus had worked a lot of miracles and many people had seen them with their own eyes, and many believed, because of what they saw. Bartimeus also believed, but not because of what he saw, because he was stone-blind.
How was it then that he came to believe? It wasn’t because he had traveled around the country because blind men stay at home. Even if he had someone to help him travel, he didn’t have the money for it.
Then how did he get his faith? I think it may have been like this.
I believe he was setting beside the road, just outside Jericho. He was sitting in the sun, begging from those who passed by. As he sat there, he heard some passersby talking about Jesus of Nazareth, and because he was very inquisitive he asked them to stay awhile and tell him the story-the story of what Jesus had done. They told him how He had raised the dead and healed the leper; and the blind man would ask, “I wonder if He can give sight to the blind?” And then one day, it just so happened, that he was told how Jesus had restored sight to a man who had been born blind. To him, this was the greatest story ever told, because never before, in Israel, had a man who had been born blind, had his sight restored.
I think I can see this poor man as he hears the story, and drinks it all in, claps his hands and cries out, “Then there is hope for me. Maybe the Prophet will pass this way, and if He does, I will beg Him to open my eyes too, because if the worst case has been cured, I know he can cure me too.” There were many days, when this man sat beside the road, that he would yell to passersby, “Come and tell me the story of the man that was born blind and of Jesus of Nazareth, who opened his eyes.” And I think that as he sat there, he would go over-and-over in his mind, how he might come to meet with Jesus and have his own eyes opened.
Perhaps there was a day when he was thinking of some scripture that he had heard in the synagogue. It told how, when the Messiah comes, He would be able to give sight to the blind. Then he came to the conclusion that the one who opened the eyes of the blind was none other than the Messiah, and from that day he was a secret disciple of Christ. He might have heard Him being ridiculed, but he couldn’t poke fun at Him; how could he when he had opened the eyes of the blind. He might have heard others who passed by insult Christ by calling Him an imposter, but he couldn’t join in the insults. How could He be a deceiver, when He gave sight to poor blind men? I believe that this was a dream that he treasured.
And perhaps for the two or three years of the Savior’s ministry, one thought would be on this man’s mind, “Jesus of Nazareth opened the eyes of one that was blind.” That story, which he had heard, led him to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
Now, I wonder how anyone could remain spiritually blind and spiritually poor; how could they keep from believing in Christ. They have heard of all the wonderful things He has done, and faith comes by hearing. They have known those who have repented of their sins and believed in Christ, but still, they don’t believe. They go to church, year after year; they hear the story of the God that loves them and died for them, and still, they do not believe. How can they keep from coming to the opinion that this Man receives sinners, so he will receive them too? He has forgiven the sin of Paul and Mary Magdalene; won’t He also forgive them?
But perhaps, down deep inside, there is a voice that says, “He can save me; I know He has the power to forgive. I will go to Him. He will not turn me away.” This faith within them, which came from hearing, will grow stronger, and they will come to faith in Christ. That’s what happened to poor Bartimaeus-the origin of his faith came by hearing.