John 09:39: “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see
may see; and that those who see may become blind.”
On the sixth Lenten Sunday, our Maronite Catholic Church cites and recalls with great piety Jesus' healing miracle of the blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus. This amazing miracle that took place in Jerusalem near the Pool of Siloam is documented in three gospels; Mark 10/46-52, John 9/1-41, Matthew 20/:29-34.
Maronites in Lebanon and all over the world strongly believe that Jesus is the holy and blessed light through which believers can see God's paths of righteousness. There is no doubt that without Jesus' light, evil darkness will prevails in peoples' hearts, souls and minds. Without Jesus' presence in our lives we definitely will preys to all kinds of evil temptations.
John 09:5: "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world".
In every community, there are individuals from all walks of life who are spiritually blind, lacking faith, have no hope, and live in dim darkness because they have distanced themselves from Almighty God and His Gospel, although their eyes are physically perfectly functional and healthy. Meanwhile the actual blindness is not in the eyes that can not see because of physical ailments, but in the hearts that are hardened, in the consciences that are numbed and in the spirits that are defiled with sin.
Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear"
The Miracle: Mark 10/46-52: " They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still, and said, “Call him. ”They called the blind man, saying to him, “Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!” He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
The son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, the blind beggar who was born to two blind parents truly believed in Jesus. His heart, mind and spirit were all enlightened with faith and hope. Because of his strong faith he knew deep inside who actually Jesus was, and stubbornly headed towards him asking for a Godly cure. He rebelled against all those opportunist and hypocrites who out of curiosity and not faith came to see who is Jesus. He refused to listen to them when they rebuked him and tried hardly to keep him away from Jesus. He loudly witnessed for the truth and forced his way among the crowd and threw himself on Jesus' feet asking Him to open his blind eyes. Jesus was fascinated by his faith, hailed his perseverance and gave him what he asked for. He opened his eyes.
John's Gospel gives us more details about what has happened with Bartimaeus after the healing miracle of his blindness. We can see in the below verses that after his healing he and his parents were exposed to intimidation, fear, threats, and terror, but he refused to succumb or to lie, He held verbatim to all the course details of the miracle, bravely witnessed for the truth and loudly proclaimed his strong belief that Jesus who cured him was The Son Of God. His faith made him strong, fearless and courageous. The Holy Spirit came to his rescue and spoke through him.
Romans 8:26: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans"
John 9/13-34: "They brought him who had been
blind to the Pharisees. It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened
his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his
sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see.” Some
therefore of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he
doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do
such signs?” There was division among them. Therefore they asked the blind
man again, “What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?” He
said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him,
that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the
parents of him who had received his sight, and asked them, “Is this your
son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents
answered them, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
but how he now sees, we don’t know; or who opened his eyes, we don’t know.
He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself.” His parents said these
things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if
any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.
Therefore his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.” So they called the man
who was blind a second time, and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know
that this man is a sinner.” He therefore answered, “I don’t know if he is a
sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see.” They said
to him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them, “I told you already, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t also want to become his disciples, do you?” They insulted him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don’t know where he comes from.”
The man answered them, “How amazing! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he listens to him. Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.
Sadly our contemporary world hails atheism, brags about secularism and persecutes those who have faith in God and believe in Him. Where ever we live, there are opportunist and hypocrites like some of the conceited crowd that initially rebuked Bartimaeus, and tried with humiliation to keep him away from Jesus, but the moment Jesus called on him they changed their attitude and let him go through. Meanwhile believers all over the world suffer on the hands of ruthless oppressors, and rulers and men of authority like the Pharisees who refused to witness for the truth.
But despite of all the dim spiritual darkness, thanks God, there are
still too many meek believers like Bartimaeus who hold to their faith no
matters what the obstacles or hurdles are.
Colossians 3:12: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience"
Lord, enlighten our minds and hearts with your light and open our eyes to
realize that You are a loving and merciful father.
Lord Help us to take Bartimaeus as a faith role model in our life.
Lord help us to defeat all kinds of sins that take us away from Your light, and deliver us all from evil temptations.
Psalm 29:2: "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness"
*Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
*Web sites http://www.10452lccc.com & http://www.clhrf.com
*Mailing phoenicia group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Phoenicia/.