How can you see if you have no eyes? My wife is legally blind. I once threatened to put her behind the wheel of our car and let her drive. I figure we can get her a cane to tap out the window and put a big sign on the roof of the car which instead of student driver it could say “Caution, Blind Driver.” My wife laughed and said just for that I could take her shopping, which … I did.
The thing is, she read our children to sleep, and for the most part sees just fine. About the only thing she cannot do, being “legally” blind, is drive a car. No doubt she does not see as well as others, but in some ways she sees better.
In some sense, my wife is like a child or puppy dog. She can see things most people miss. She can read people extremely well, as long as they are not directly affecting her, sad to say. She can read group dynamics like a weatherman, not perfectly, but most of the time spot on. Maybe she cannot see all the facial expressions and body language exactly, but she can see the truth of it all the same.
Blind Bartimaeus was much like her. No doubt he heard all about Jesus – the teaching, the miracles and the fact that the Pharisees and other powers that be hated Jesus. He saw who Jesus was and he no doubt knew the penalty for declaring that Jesus was the Messiah. So he got clever.
“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.”
Now, Jesus Christ is not named Christ. He is the Christ which means anointed one. Christ is the same word as Messiah, anointed one. But who is that according to the scriptures and the prophets? That is the son of David, and I don’t mean Solomon. This Messiah/son of David is the anointed one of God, anointed to be king as David was anointed to be king over Israel, only the Messiah’s kingdom will have no end. Elsewhere in the gospels he is referred to s the son of man and the son of God. These are not exactly synonymous, but near enough.
So here, Bartimaeus cleverly calls out to the son of David, thus not confessing that Jesus is the Messiah in so many words, but expressing clearly at the same time that he knows full well Jesus is the Messiah. You see, Bartimaeus believed in Jesus in a way and to an extent even the disciples were having a hard time grasping. Bartimaeus had faith, genuine faith, and I feel he would have believed in Jesus whether Jesus came along one day or never came along. Bartimaeus would have gone to his grave believing Jesus was the Messiah, the king without end.
He made a fuss.
Jesus asked, “What do you want?”
“I want to see.”
“Your faith has healed you,” already, we might say. You already see more clearly than others. The fact that he was physically healed, while not to be discounted, was not the seeing that ultimately matters to God.
Our problem (one of many) is too often we say we will believe it when we see it. This is true unless you mean see it with your physical eyes. Paul said faith is the evidence of things unseen, and Bartimaeus had faith. He saw even when he could not see. We might emulate this, because Jesus is the Messiah, even when we doubt and don’t think it, and God loves us with an absolute love, even when we don’t feel it, and today and everyday is another day of God’s blessing – it is another day that Jesus is walking in front of us, even if we don’t see it.
It is like my wife, you see. She has excellent eyes to see whom to trust and whom to be wary of, even if she can’t see the exact, physical details. Bartimaeus was not physically healed by his faith. He was physically healed by Jesus. What his faith did was heal the sight of his soul. He already knew and believed in Jesus, that he was the son of man, the son of God, the son of David – the Messiah whose kingdom will have no end. Now, if only Jesus can get his disciples to see it as well… And by disciples, I mean us.