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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oh Say, Can You See?

No, I'm not trying to sing the American national anthem. I'm simply asking, "Can you see?" Most people may answer this question, "Of course, I can." But I remember when I got my first pair of eyeglasses  I felt like singing, "I once was blind, but now I see." When my little granddaughter, Tyler, just ten years old, got her first pair of glasses two years ago, she said to me, "Grandma, I didn't know my teacher has freckles." Well, now she can see. Of all our senses, I believe we treasure our sight the most. I mean, if you're deaf you can always read someone's lips, or learn sign language, but if you can't see, your whole world is in darkness.

I believe this is why Our Lord  had a lot of compassion for the blind, and during his earthly ministry, he healed all that were brought to him. Some of those recorded are the blind lepers, Matthew 9: 28-29; a blind and dumb demon-possessed man (12 : 22);  two blind men sitting by the wayside ( 20 : 30) ;other blind people who were brought to him ( 15 : 30 - 31; 21 : 14, Luke 7 : 21)  There are three specially recorded instances where Jesus healed the blind that I want to focus on.

1. The man who needed a second touch

This was a blind man in Bethsaida who was brought to Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus took the man out of the town, spat on the man's eyes and asked him if he could see. The man replied, " I see men as trees walking." Jesus touched him again and this time the man's sight was fully restored (Mark 8 : 23-25).

2. The man who cried out to Jesus

One of Jesus' most famous healings is that of Blind Bartimaeus, as he was called. This man also sat by the wayside begging, and when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he called out, "Jesus, thou Son of David,have mercy on me." The crowd tried to shut him up, but Bartimaeus wasn't about to miss out on his blessing. The Bible says "but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me" (Mark 10 : 49, Luke 18 : 36). And Jesus heard him. He said, "Bring him here."  However, when Bartimaeus stood before .Jesus asked  him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The man replied, " Lord, that I might receive my sight ."  Now you would think it would be obvious to Jesus that the man would want to see, but He asked him, "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?"  (v 51) 

3. The man ostracized for his faith

John 9 records the story of a blind man who was healed by Jesus. The man went his way rejoicing, but his neighbors got hold of him and wanted to know how he had been healed. The man told them, "A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash : and I went and washed , and I received sight ( v 11). The Bible says, " But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight , until they called the parents of him that had received his sight ( v 18). The man's parents corroborated his story, but this did not satisfy the Pharisees who thought Jesus to be a sinner, since he healed on the Sabbath. However, the man insisted that Jesus had to be a man of God because, "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind" (v 33). For his testimony, the Pharisees cast him out of the temple. 

So, the first case above brings me back to my initial question : Can you see? The man in this story was healed by Jesus, yet he couldn't see clearly. His vision was blurred; he saw "men like trees walking." He needed a second touch from Jesus. There are many people who are saved, but their spiritual vision is not clear. The lines are still blurred about how they should live as a saved person, or what it really means to be a Christian. Jesus doesn't want us to have blurred vision, that's why He touched the man's eyes a second time. Some of us may need a second touch if we are in doubt about our salvation, or if we are still struggling with sin. If that's the case, don't hesitate to go back to Jesus for a second touch. Tell him how you feel, what your needs are, and He'll make it right.

Blind Bartimaeus cried out to God. The Bible says Bartimaeus cried,  "Jesus, thou Son of David,have mercy on me."  He was loud, fervent and persistent and Jesus heard him. Yet Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" Strange question? Not really. When you say, "God, have mercy on me," what do you really want? Do you want forgiveness for your sins, healing from an illness, peace in your heart? What do you want? Be specific. Tell God exactly what you want and watch Him answer.

The last case has a somewhat disappointing outcome. Disappointing because the man's neighbors and his religious leaders, instead of rejoicing with him over his blessing, doubted him and eventually ostracized him for his faith. Isn't it amazing that our brothers and sisters in Christ don't always rejoice with us when we have had a breakthrough? They look for all sorts of reasons to doubt that God could bless us. When we've got the new home, the new car or our children get admitted to a prestigious college, many times our friends don't rejoice with us. Sad indeed. But the Bible tells us that Jesus found the man who had been cast out and told him who He was, and the man worshiped Him. So, don't worry if you have been ostracized, for the Bible says "When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27 : 10).

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