…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more… Romans 5:12-21 The laws of God were given for the people of God in order that we know how to be in relationship with one another. On the whole humankind isn’t very good at this, but we try. We also try to separate ourselves from sin and we are not very good at that either. We are all born into the do’s and don’ts of the world. We are also born into God’s grace over the world. Thus sin and grace are not opposed to one another they are part of the duality of life. Where sin blinds us, grace is always at the ready to enable us to see. We have only to ask, “Lord let our eyes be opened” (Matthew 20:29-34).
“What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man (Bartimaeus) said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52 We don’t know exactly when it was that Bartimaeus lost his sight. We do know that Christ was willing to return his sight back to him. Everyone at one time or another “loses their way.” Though the struggle in our own timing seems long, in the same way that Christ heard the heart of faith in Bartimaeus, God hears us. Yet, “seeing” doesn’t necessarily mean that the wilderness of doubt, fear, frustration etc., won’t continue to get in our way. However, now that we “see” we know that the way through it is to follow our faith in Christ along the way.
“…teacher let me see again.” Mark 10:46-52 The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks of a time when he and two others were sentenced to 40 – 90 days in jail while protesting in Puerto Rico. Although his fellow protestors served the shorter time, he alone was held for the full 90 days. Alone with his thoughts he was forced to deal with himself. It was the beginning of a changed Al Sharpton in how he approached the causes, which for him – was out of his passion for justice. He began to understand that perhaps while his methods may have gotten attention he didn’t always get his desired result. He admits to a growth and maturity partly out of that experience which led him to change his attitude as a public figure. Sometimes we must have “sight” taken away from us before we can fully understand what it means to “see.” Now that we have gotten through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and a few other national holidays, no doubt we all could use sometime away from the busyness of our lives. As we approach the season of Lent, perhaps we too can begin to ask ourselves if our approach to our way of “seeing” is giving us our desired result in life. The season gives us 40 days but in reality, the growth and maturity of the formation of our souls is a lifelong exercise. Does what we “see” today, keep us from seeing God who sees what we can not see? Going forward, are we ready to sacrifice our own vision in order that we may be reconciled to God’s vision for our lives?
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“Son of David, have mercy on me!” Mark 10:46-52 Knowing Jesus was near, Bartimaeus cried out. He just wanted to see again. One would think that the crowds would be more sympathetic but instead they tried to shut him up! Bartimaeus however, had nothing to lose, so he cried louder and Jesus responded to his cry. Whatever our situation, ignore the naysayers. We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Know that Jesus is near and continue to praise God and if you have to praise God louder.
“Lord, let me see again.” Luke 18:31-43 This request by a blind man on the side of the road apparently indicates that at one time he had sight. These days being physically blind doesn’t necessarily lead to begging alone on the side of the road. Yet to lose sight of the spirit can leave you feeling like a first century blind beggar. We walk around wondering which way to go. In those times we must strive to hear the voice of our Lord so that even though we have yet to “see” at least we know that we are moving in the right direction. Ignore the voices of anyone who would rather you remain “blind”. Ignore the voices of anyone who knowingly or unknowingly want to keep you from moving forward. Ignore the voices of anyone who would prefer you keep quiet and give God that faith filled shout out. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this… (2 Corinthians 10:1-18). Because Christ longs to hear our cry he will hear us, and call us to himself. We must hold to who we are in Christ and our “sight” will be regained. Then, we will see clearly once again.
My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank-offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
in the light of life.
‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Mark 10:46-52 Ever notice how everything in Marks Gospel seems to happen immediately? Bartimaeus wanted to see again and immediately, because of his faith regained his sight. It seems clear that Bartimaeus wasn’t always blind. At some earlier point in his life he had vision and for reasons unknown to us he lost his sight. Who among us has not experienced a period of “blindness,” an inability to see the things right in front of our veiled eyes. It can be scary, confusing and frustrating. Life certainly can be like that sometimes. The good news is that we can do exactly what Bartimaeus did, and in faith call Jesus out to help us “see” again. For God would much rather we follow him with our eyes wide open than eyes wide closed.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.