And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:52)
Relate: The miracle isn’t complete until the change takes place. Before talking about Bartimaeus I want to talk about another miracle Jesus performed. He came upon ten lepers who asked Him for healing. Jesus told those men to go to the priest and perform the ceremony (mentioned here) for those who have been cleansed from infectious skin diseases. Now Luke is very clear to let us know that those lepers were cleansed and healed. After this healing, only one of those ten men came back to Jesus to thank Him. When this former leper met Jesus, the Master said to him, “Rise and go. Your faith has made you well.”
Each and every one of those ten men no longer had leprosy. All ten were ceremonially cleansed and were able to once again become a contributing part of their community. But only one of those men was healed. The proof of the healing wasn’t in how their body looked. The evidence wasn’t found in how they interacted with their neighbors. Both of those things are all well and good, but the proof of healing was found in how they interacted with Jesus.
Bartimaeus came before Jesus, asked for sight, and it was given to him. The proof of sight wasn’t because cataracts fell from his eyes. It wasn’t because his tear ducts suddenly began working. It wasn’t found in his rapid blinking and raising his hand up to shield from the sudden inrush of light. It wasn’t even because rays of light passed through the cornea on to the retina where cones and rods translated it into electrical impulses that were then properly interpreted in the brain. None of that is proof of sight. The proof of the miracle is found at the end of the sentence… “and he followed Jesus.”
React: What do you want from God? What do I want from God? That question that Jesus asked Bartimaeus is just as relevant to us today. I want my brother to be healed from sickle cell. I want the West to open up their doors for the Syrian refugees. I want a just peace to be reached in Southeast Turkey between the Turks and the Kurds. I want to see an end of human trafficking. I want to be able to finish some of the projects I am so quick to start… and then stall on.
All these things I want are good, even very good things. However, if my brother’s healing causes him to walk away from Jesus it would be the worst possible “healing”. If those issues of social justice are all miraculously resolved and yet nobody comes to follow Jesus then nothing has truly been solved. If I am suddenly infused with the motivation and self discipline to carry those “starter” projects into completion, and yet I am walking no closer to Jesus… then nothing is gained. The miracle isn’t complete until the change takes place. Bartimaeus, and my, proof of sight is in how well we follow Jesus.
As I bring my needs and requests before You, my first and greatest request is that I will follow You closer today than I ever have before. I pray that would ever and always be my primary passion. What would it benefit me to gain everything else if I lose sight of You? Let me walk in Your footsteps, following You into the world, carrying the healing You offer, that others might follow You as well.