We have a saying, “Seeing is believing”. Biblically we would reverse it, “Believing is seeing.” Faith is how someone sees. Unbelief results in blindness. Now that’s not blind faith, we certainly assert we have plenty of reason and evidence to believe the Bible and the God of the Bible. But to “see” spiritual truths we must open the eyes of faith.
Faith is important. The only way to please God (Heb 11:6). The only way to be saved (Eph. 2:8-9). The one thing Jesus will be looking for upon His return (Lk. 18:8).
But there are different kinds of faith. Small like a mustard seed. Great faith. Little faith. Two-faced faith (double-minded). No faith. Fake faith. What is your faith like?
Through our passage today I hope to help each of us see more like a blind man. Bartimaeus spent his days in darkness begging on the streets of Jericho. He was one of many handicapped beggars littering the shoulders of the roads.
But he had something that no one else on the roadside had that day: faith. His faith meant he saw something no one else around him saw: he sawJesus for who He was. His faith also made him get to Jesus. He is like the bleeding woman (5:25) and the leper (1:40) in that they sought Jesus out of their own determination. No one took him by the hand to Jesus – not like the paralytic and the deaf-mute man had (2:3; 7:32). Blind Bart’ was treated the same as the children and was told to keep quiet and stay away (10:13). But Bartimeaus was deaf to his detractors. All he could see was getting to Jesus and he wouldn’t stop until he could see Jesus.
Our sermon title today is “See Like A Blind Man”. And if we all see Jesus the way Bartimeaus does then we will much better for it. If we are seeing like Bartimeaus, then here are 4 things we will see in our faith: 1) You Will Call On Jesus, 2) You Will Seize the Attention of Jesus, 3) You Will Get Answers from Jesus, and 4) You will Follow Jesus
#1: Your Faith Will Make You Call On Jesus (46-48)
Your faith will make you call on Him when you hear of Him. When Bart heard Jesus he determined that Jesus was going to hear him. Faith is the response when you hear, How will they believe if they do not hear? Romans 10:14 asks.
Your faith will make you call on Him persistently. “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more….” The man is nothing if he is not persistent. He’s not going to be quiet. He’s calling out to Jesus to be heard by Jesus.
Because of his faith he would not be turned away. He would not quit trying to reach Jesus and he didn’t care what others thought about him doing so. No one was going to suck the wind out of his sails as he headed for the Son of David. Perhaps it was a life of begging that had humbled him and made him no longer care for the respect of men. Here he was begging, and, he realized his opportunity to come begging to Jesus.
Are you too proud to beg before Jesus? Are you too proud to go to Jesus because of what others will think of you?
How about you? Do you quit trying to reach Jesus? Have you ever said, or heard someone say, “I tried praying but it didn’t work.” What are we to make of that? Well, it certainly isn’t praying in faith, and, it doesn’t have the determined tenacity that faith produces with God.
Your faith will make you call on Him as the Messiah. Bart’ called Jesus “Son of David”. As a Jew, “Son of David” was not merely a recognition of Jesus’ ancestry. Son of David was Messianic. It is arguably the most defining characteristic of the Messiah – that he would be the Son of David. Matthew opens his Gospel with a lineage tracing from David to Jesus. Luke tells us what Gabriel told Mary when informing her she was pregnant with God’s Son: “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”. Romans opens majestically on this point: “the Gospel …. Regarding His Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David” (1:3). The first sermon in Church history, Peter uttered “David was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne” (Acts 2:29-35). The crowds hailed Jesus as He came into Jerusalem Palm Sunday, “Hosanna the Son of David” (Mt. 21:9)
The Son of David, while of little significance to us Gentiles at first, was the first thing a Jew would have examined when hearing Jesus was the Christ. Bartimeaus had no doubts that this son of David named Jesus was the Son of David. The point is that this man knows who he is calling on.
Have you ever mistaken someone’s identity? A couple weeks ago I was in Staples and was picking up some office supplies. As I was standing in an aisle in the back of the store, a little older lady came over to me from one of the back rooms. She waived for my attention and looked around and then said, “The women’s room needs some more hand towels.” Realizing she had mistaken me for an employee, and wanting to seize the comedy in the moment, I replied, “Couldn’t you leave any for anyone else?” ……. Sometimes we can be mistaken about who someone is. But I do not want us to be the least bit confused about who Jesus is. The consequences are a matter of eternal life, or, eternal death. Do we know who we are calling on? Do we know who it is we are calling on? Or are we blind to Him? Who do you say that I am, Jesus asks. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, Peter declared.
Your faith will make you call on Him for mercy. Have mercy on Me Son of David, the blind man cried.
What is mercy? Mercy here essentially means “compassion”. Sometimes its translated as “tender-mercy”, or “compassion” or “pity”. A perfect example is the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:33 who helped the beat up man lying on the side of the road. It said, “But a Samaritan as he travelled came where the man was and when he saw him he took pity on him.” It goes on to describe the compassionate action he took to help the man. That’s mercy – seeing the need and doing something about it. Mercy is that divine quality of God that moves Him to bless, specifically to bless with the need that His creatures have
We think of people who are hungry, and God feeds them. We think of those who are vulnerable and God protects them. We think of those who are weary and God strengthens them. We think of those who are down and God uplifts them. We see mercy in Jesus when we read that He saw the sick and made them healthy, the hungry and fed them, the deaf and made them hear, and in the case of Bartimeaus, the blind were made to see. Everywhere Jesus went people’s lives were dramatically better off. That’s the evidence of mercy.
Do you know what it takes to call on Jesus for mercy? Knowing that you need it. People who are too callous, too proud, to shallow to know they have nothing and are nothing before God don’t know that they need His mercy. You have to know that something very critical is wrong in your life. You also have to know that you can’t do anything about it. Once you’re there, then you are a candidate for mercy. Bartimeaus knew exactly what was wrong in his life: he was blind.
#2: Your Faith Will Seize The Attention of Jesus (49-51)
Quote Dawkins that we are just a speck in this universe why would God care about us…or prayer.
Quote Psalm 8: “What is man that you are mindful of him?”
Some people think that this universe has to have other life in it somewhere else because its so huge. That we can’t be the only life that God made – if there is a God. I think the size of the universe tells us something else. It’s meant to cause us to be in awe over the power and size of our God when we see the size of this universe. But then we are to be in humble awe that that Creator would be devoting His full attention to this little speck of dirt in this vast universe. If we are all that God has created, then, how important we are to Him!
This is what prayer is: getting the attention of God.
Nothing gets God’s attention like faith. “Then Jesus stopped.” I love that. He stopped everything to go to Jairus’ home to heal his daughter (5:23-4). How often does God stop “everything” to attend to us? Maybe we ought to ask how often we stop everything to attend to God. Anyway, the whole show comes to a halt and dead silence fills the air. The next thing you hear is Jesus: “Call him.” The man’s persistence paid off.
Your faith, if your faith is like Bartimeaus’ will be getting the attention of God. Your faith will bring you into an intimate relationship with God where you know He hears you, you know He knows you, know He loves you. The Christian life is not meant to be lived in doubt and despair and a sense that God is distant. Faith like we see in our passage today gets God’s attention, and, that attention brings us closer to Jesus. Something is wrong if this is how it is for a Christian perpetually. A season is one thing, and we see that in Psalms. But the persistence of the Psalmists to keep seeking God shows that they know the intimacy of God and are seeking to restore it.
But if darkness and distance is ongoing year after year then something is wrong. It could be sin – sin always makes a person feel distant from God. The Bible says our sins separate us from God (Isa. 59:2). If it isn’t dealt with by confession and repentance then those sins we feel guilty over will begin to make us doubt God’s love for us. It could be a lack of faith in God’s words, in Scripture, which of course would never be blessed by God.
Either way, the Christian is to enjoy a nearness with God, an open back-and-forth engagement with Him, and a confidence that God is with him. That was Jesus’ confidence, try reading through the Gospels and finding one instance where Jesus felt alone as though His Father were distant. Other than on the cross – which was the point of the cross – you won’t find one. He walked in uninterrupted intimate fellowship His whole life and among all the other aspects of His Person we are to emulate, this one shines out for us.
#3: Your Faith Secures Answers From Jesus (52)
Here is the privilege of the believer: God hears him and answers him. Who are we that we could have such confidence that the Creator of it all would condescend to us and hear us out? It is not who we are, but, it is who God is: compassionate, loving, merciful and attentive. This is certainly the basis of the Psalmists confidence and demand for God’s attention:
- “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” -Ps. 5:1-2
- “Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips.” – Ps. 17:1 (notice a righteous walk gets attention to our prayers)
- “O you who hear prayer to you all men will come” -Ps 65:2 (Like Dt. 4, “What nation is so great as to have their God near to them when they pray”)
- “I love the LORD, for her heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” – Ps 116:1-2
Illustration: CC getting my attention by grabbing my collar and going literally nose to nose and eyeball to eyeball with me
People Jesus healed when He said, “Your faith has healed you”.…..Mk 5:32…Mt. 9:28-9….15:28…..Lk 7:50….
Faith gets answers: Mark 11:22-24…..John 14:13-14…16:23…..
Praying without expecting is babbling
#4: Your Faith Will Make You Follow Jesus (52)
Also the demoniac wanted to follow Jesus, Simon’s mother in law was healed and then immediately served Jesus in her home,