“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Mark 10:46-49 (NIV)
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found was blind but now I see”, Newton’s great hymn goes. We were all this blind and needy beggar before Christ, eternally helpless and hopeless and in dire need of a Savior. No one can save themselves. Sin blinds. We are unable to see clearly. That which Satan lures us as virtuous, is in reality the pathway to blindness, death and destruction. When unmasked it will appear most vile and bitter. Remember, the very sins Satan paints as redeeming cost Christ the cross. God never winks at sin – it always costs, it always carries consequences and it always leads to blindness and death of something. The wages of sin is death.
But God (my two favorite words together in Scripture), the Great Redeemer, demonstrated His love for us in that while we were blind sinners, Christ died for us leaving us with a very good story to tell. He makes beauty from our ashes. The physical salvation of the blind man in our verses today presented an outward picture of his spiritual salvation. Jesus not only healed his sight but also acknowledged his faith – his deliverance from darkness to light was an outward picture of His spiritual salvation as well. And now, not only could this blind beggar clearly see, he had a story to tell – a good story of redeeming love – of forgiveness and of acceptance. And he rightly immediately began to follow the Lord Jesus.
God allows all kinds of things in our lives to draw us to Him in saving faith. He desires for each life to walk in the plan He has for them – plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us hope and a future. He makes our stories good – redeeming things we chose as well as those we had no control over. He is a Master of transforming our lives to make us like Jesus. And He loves us with an everlasting love ever desirous that none perish but all come to repentance. He takes our bleakest stories from a nightmare to the sweetest fairy tale.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16 (NIV)