Lk 18:35-43 The Healing of the Blind Beggar

From various Old Testament passages, it is clear that blindness is a type of sin (See Deuteronomy 28:29; Isaiah 59:10; Job 12:25; Zephaniah 1:17; Isaiah 29:8; also Ephesians 5:8; and Matthew 15:14). “In the Near East, eye diseases were as repulsive as leprosy” (14 Frederick Bruner, Matthew Vol. 1, p. 349).  Blindness and beggary form an awful combination, and when coupled with the general poverty then prevailing in Palestine, they suggest a fullness of suffering. It is not, therefore, surprising to hear that as Jesus passed by, a blind man called Bartimaeus followed him, crying out, and saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Luke 18:39).Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”  Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”  He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God (Luke 1842-43).

This Gospel narrative is another biblical story about faith making miracle.

Before the healing took effect, however, Christ tested first the faith of the blind man by simply passing him to stretch their faith a little. If he really believed, then would persist in his appeal for help and deliverance. And sure enough, he did.  He passed the test, and Jesus healed him.

Here we see Jesus emphasizing the need of faith. Here also we see Jesus testing the faith before he acts on our petition or prayer. The emphasis in the miracle of the centurion’s servant was on the faith of the centurion. The woman with the hemorrhage was healed because of her faith. Jairus was told not to fear, but to have faith.

Biblically speaking, faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about the things we do not see (Heb 11:1).  Going back to the Gospel narrative we can somehow say that faith is believing in Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28) and entrusting everything to him who loves and cares for us.

Some of us have spent thousands of pesos so that we can see better physically. We have glasses, sunglasses, reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, contacts, eye drops, and laser surgery to improve our sight physically. But we have nothing and doing and have done nothing to heal and save us from spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness, then, refers in some instances to the inability of unbelievers to comprehend spiritual truth, specifically failure to recognize the true identity of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Paul tells the Corinthian believers that blindness aptly describes the spiritual state of pagan unbelievers. He points out that this blindness is inflicted by the “god of this age [who] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). The New Testament reveals that believers are subject to spiritual blindness. Peter deems those who fail increasingly to exhibit diligence in pursuit of spiritual virtue as blind or nearsighted (2 Peter 1:9). And the exalted Lord of the church views the lukewarm but haughty Laodicean church as wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked (Rev 3:17).

It is the Lord who “gives sight to the blind” (Psalm 146:8; Isa 42:16) and we are somehow the two blind men [spiritual blindness] in the story when we are either unable or unwilling to acknowledge God or the things of God in the many events, places, times and people who came to our lives. Perhaps we are not open and dispose to God’s revelation and illumination (Matt 11:25-27; 1 Cor 1:21; 2 Peter 1:19-21) and chose to remain in our stubbornness of heart and unbelief. So, we need to ask him humbly to touch and heal us in order let us see again. It is much more important to see better spiritually. Consequently, cry out to Jesus “all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on me!’” (Lk 18:39) Pray to Jesus: “Lord, I want to see” (see Lk 18:41). Beg the Lord: Increase my faith (see Mk 9:24; Lk 17:5; 22:32).

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