A Miracle-Working God
When I was in tenth grade, I involved myself in a worldly gang. The place where our family had moved had various gangs of boys, so I went ahead and joined a gang myself.
My parents never knew about this, but Dad noticed a change in my attitude. I started coming in late at night and gave all sorts of excuses to prevent being put under discipline.
Warnings were given to me by parents and also my siblings, but I never yielded up my attitude because I thought that in order for me to be “civilized” and be considered a smart kid in that area, I needed to belong to the gang and participate in all the bad behavior associated with it. During this period, I was not a baptized church member, so I just thought my path was fine.
Later, after some months passed, I started having a certain dream at night. This dream came to me several times when sleeping. In the dream, I could see two men—one in black and the other in white, both inviting me each one to his side. But the one in black was too persistent. I never took this dream very seriously no matter how many times it appeared and I always found myself held by the one in black.
One day I was with my gang—and by this time I was actually the leader of the gang. It was around 7 or 8 p.m. when only the three of us were present. We never noticed there was a gang of older boys waiting to attack us on our way that evening—and when we were attacked, my friends ran away and I was caught and beaten until finally the way was clear for me to run for my life. Only at this point did I notice and realize I was going down a wrong path and that my dream had been warning me. This was the incident that changed me to become zealous to serve the Lord after so many warnings. I had not been able to stop this lifestyle until the hard way came, but my life had been preserved for a purpose.
When a person is suffering from losing one leg he/she will easily find a better alternative or rather be given an artificial leg made by a specialist. Now let us look at the effects of being blind:
• You can’t enjoy the wonderful view of the Lord’s creation and the buildings around that were made by other people.
• You’d have limited mobility and have to be assisted even with basic everyday needs.
• You’d never have the chance as to see how fearfully and wonderfully you’ve been created in the image of Almighty.
There are so many more effects.
For this reason, some blind people become feeble, having few happy moments and some even become beggars in the streets. Notice an interesting experience in Scripture:
“[Jesus and His disciples] came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:46–48).
Let us now take a look at the attributes of the blind man that helped him regain his sight:
• He heard
• He cried out loud shouting His name (“Jesus, thou son of David!”)
• He pled for mercy to be forgiven
• He then cried out more
“. . . When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth. . . .”
Bartimaeus might have been blind, but he could hear. And he used his sense of hearing very well. He had correct and timely information that Jesus was coming around.
In whatever situation you find yourself, you need the right information to bring about the change you desire. For Bartimaeus, all he needed to hear was that Jesus was passing through his territory—and he knew what to do with that information…
Do you have timely and accurate information at your disposal?
Do you have the kind of information that will positively impact your life?
Bartimaeus heard about Jesus of Nazareth—His healing fame was all over the city, so all that the blind man needed was to hear and have faith that he’d be healed. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“Faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer calls for an acknowledgment of the enlightened intellect controlled by a heart that can discern and appreciate the heavenly treasure. This faith is inseparable from repentance and transformation of character. To have faith means to find and accept the gospel treasure, with all the obligations which it imposes.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 112.
While in our state of spiritual blindness when we cannot discern the critical condition of our spiritual stature, what is it that we’re hearing that will make us take hold of the gift of faith given by our Lord?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Bartimaeus had faith in Jesus but he had never seen Him before. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
The blind man gained his faith by hearing about Christ. This sounds an alarm to those who have heard—to take a step in spreading the good tidings about Christ: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
“He began to cry out.”
As we learn about faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, what is our duty? What do we learn in Scripture?
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:14–22).
When Bartimaeus heard and received the information about Christ, he proceeded to have faith that Christ would indeed help him, so he held onto his faith and waited to hear more of how close Christ was so that he could act upon his faith.
And when he heard that Christ was near, he was able to show his faith by his works—which was now for him to cry out and shout out the name of the Lord so that he could be heard. “He cried out loud.”
“Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine.
“It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make Him our personal Saviour. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. [1 John 3:24; 2:3 quoted.] This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 312, 313.
Blind Bartimaeus not only recognized Jesus as the Son of David, he also knew that the mercies of God were with Him. Hundreds of years before that time, God had promised David that He would never withdraw His mercies from him. Jesus was the custodian of all grace . . . and Bartimaeus knew it!
The blind man knew Christ as his personal Saviour, a Healer who by His mercies had restored his sight.
We need to cry out to the Lord as blind Bartimaeus did for Him to hear us and show us mercy just as did the psalmist: “Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: ohsave me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 6:4).
“Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11).
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3–5).
Let us call upon the Lord and ask for His mercy to be upon us, that He may give us the sight of discernment.
Bartimaeus was a very courageous man. How else can you explain the fact that he refused to be intimidated by the many people who tried to silence him?
Strong, able-bodied men who had their sense of sight intact wanted to stop this blind man from asking Jesus for help. But, thankfully, he proved to be unstoppable; the more they tried to silence him, the more he shouted out loud, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Satan will always try to shut us down from calling upon our Lord for His intervention, making us feel more guilty, telling us that we’re unworthy of Christ’s love, and making us blind to His mercy upon sinful souls.
“You who feel the most unworthy, fear not to commit your case to God. When He gave Himself in Christ for the sin of the world, He undertook the case of every soul. ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32. Will He not fulfill the gracious word given for our encouragement and strength?
“Christ desires nothing so much as to redeem His heritage from the dominion of Satan. But before we are delivered from Satan’s power without, we must be delivered from his power within. The Lord permits trials in order that we may be cleansed from earthliness, from selfishness, from harsh, unchristlike traits of character. He suffers the deep waters of affliction to go over our souls in order that we may know Him and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, in order that we may have deep heart longings to be cleansed from defilement, and may come forth from the trial purer, holier, happier. Often we enter the furnace of trial with our souls darkened with selfishness; but if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine character. When His purpose in the affliction is accomplished, ‘He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.’ Psalm 37:6.”—Ibid., pp. 174, 175.
The story of Bartimaeus was one of a beggarly blind man who could hear, who had faith, had courage, had focus, had a voice, who proved to be unstoppable, and who got his desired miracle: restoration of sight when he encountered Jesus Christ.
It is high time that we awake from our spiritual blindness and ask for the spirit of discernment that we can restore our spiritual sight.
“God pities men struggling in the blindness of perversity; He seeks to enlighten the darkened understanding by sending reproofs and threatenings designed to cause the most exalted to feel their ignorance and to deplore their errors. He endeavors to help the self-complacent to become dissatisfied with their vain attainments and to seek for spiritual blessing through a close connection with heaven.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 435.
May we thus be led by His Spirit!