Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Lent: transforming spectatorship to discipleship

St. Mark 10: 46-52

Chinese philosopher Han Feizi made this observation about life: "Knowing the facts is easy. Knowing how to act based on the facts is difficult."

The account of Jesus' healing of Bartimaeus, a blind man, is found in Mark 10:46-52. As Jesus and his disciples left the city, they were followed by a large crowd. Sitting by the roadside begging, Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by and began calling out the Messianic title, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Bartimaeus continued to cry out for assistance despite being chastised by the mob. Despite the efforts of those around him to calm him down, Bartimaeus keeps pleading for Jesus. Finally, Bartimaeus responds, "Rabbi, I want to see." Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him, and immediately his eyes are open. He gets up and follows Jesus.

This story is a powerful reminder of the importance of faith and persistence. Bartimaeus was not deterred by the people around him who tried to quiet him down. He knew that Jesus could heal him, and he was persistent in his cries for help. Bartimaeus' persistence and unwavering faith in Jesus despite the efforts of others to silence him is also an inspiration to us to boldly seek out Jesus in our own lives, even when others may discourage us or tell us to be quiet. Bartimaeus' persistence in calling out to Jesus despite being rebuked by the crowd also serves as a reminder of the importance of perseverance and faith in seeking help from God. It is also a reminder that sometimes, the things we ask for in prayer might seem impossible, but with faith in God, all things are possible.

This passage also focuses on the liberation from his bondage. There is a shift in his identity from a wayside beggar to a disciple. When Jesus hears him, he calls for Bartimaeus to be brought to him. Bartimaeus throws off his cloak, jumps up, and goes to Jesus. Jesus asks him, "What do you want me to do for you?" Bartimaeus responds, "Rabbi, I want to see."

Jesus tells Bartimaeus, "Go, your faith has healed you." Immediately, Bartimaeus receives his sight and follows Jesus on the way. He is liberated from his bondage. Jesus gave him a new identity. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1). Lent is the time to identify our spiritual blindness. There are numerous instances of people demonstrating spiritual blindness in the Bible. For instance, the pride and legalism of the Pharisees frequently rendered them blind, making it challenging for them to perceive Jesus as the Messiah. Similar to how Paul was blind to the truth of Jesus' teaching before becoming a Christian until he had a life-changing encounter with Him on the road to Damascus. Lent also reminds us to follow Jesus closely as the disciple and not to continue as a spectator.

It takes a willingness to seek God's truth and the Holy Spirit's direction to overcome spiritual blindness. This calls for a contrite and teachable heart that is open to rebuke and prepared to yield to God's purpose. In addition, examining and reflecting on God's word can aid in overcoming spiritual blindness and improving comprehension of His truth.

Heavenly Father, heal us and remove our spiritual blindness so that we transform from mere spectators to your disciples, spreading healing to everyone around us. Amen
Rev. Sonu Skariah Varghese
St. Thomas MTC, Cypress, Texas

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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