“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!….And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
– Mark 10 verses47/49-52
Here we see a scene that is still all to0 familiar to us today in our supposed modern world , a poor and desperate beggar on the street of a large a town – being passed by , by everyone that comes close to him.
A man with nothing in life but the clothes that he is wearing , and the cloak he uses to collect the occasionally thrown pennies and for some extra protection against the weather and the world.
We can see this through four different points :
1- The Man’s Condition :verses 46-47
2-The Man’s Call:verse 49
3-The Man’s Conversion:verse 49-50
4-The Man’s Commission: verse 52
We can first come to look at this mans condition, a blind beggar outside the city of Jericho Living out every day of his life on occasionally thrown change . Out in the cold facing every kind of weather and possibly (if he was blind from birth) the only life he has ever known.
He spent his life hearing all the noise and life that was around him but being blinded from seeing what it really consisted of. Spending every day begging for change from people that he knew were able to see the world that he could not . But these people were no more aware of what was truly around them than he was.
And today we are no different today people in the world think that they have it all sorted with money ,fame and intelligence . They have plenty of popularity, wealth and knowledge – but are as equally blind as this man was.
It may not be a physical blindness that the world suffers from but instead its a blindness of the soul. The greek word used in this passage for the term blindness (τυφλός) can also be used for ‘darkness of the soul’.
This world is blinded to the reality around them and to the real truth of God by the darkness of their sin. Jesus in Matthew 15 and verse described the Pharisees and their followers in a similar way :
“And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit”
We are all well aware of the spiritual and moral darkness that is so prevalent in the world , its something that we all know and experience ourselves- we are all tainted by sin.
We can see that the blind man was well aware of the condition that he was in , we can see this from his request that he asks Jesus :
““Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”
He does not ask Christ for riches or for power or for anything else , he knew only Jesus could heal him and let him see again. He asks Christ for his greatest need in doing so he openly acknowledges his condition.
If anyone is to cry out to Jesus they must cry out as an admitting sinner , not as a good man , a nice person, someone that goes to church or reads a bible – first and foremost they must cry out to Jesus about their condition only then can it be addressed.
Just as a side point we see here that large crowds accompanied Jesus large crowds would have been a beggars dream but this man knew that this was his chance to make an everlasting change rather than collect a few very fleeting pennies.
He seized the chance as it was passing him by.
By ‘Call’ I mean the call of Jesus for people to follow him and how he does this.
We see from the passage that It was Jesus that issued the call to the man, not his followers or any other person , only Christ can call sinners to repent as we have it in Luke 5 and verse 32 :
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”
Christ came into the world to call sinners to himself , and it is God alone that can draw a person to himself.
At our core we will do anything we can to draw away from God:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”- Jeremiah 17:9
If left to our own wants and desires we would not come near to God , and we certainly would not ask for forgiveness from him So only Jesus can call sinners to himself.
He calls in many ways : through his Holy Word,through teaching and preaching , through dreams and visions and as we have it here in the verse – through his followers.
Christ often uses his disciples and followers to call out to the world , we see this in verse 49 Jesus tells his followers to call out to this man- not to help save him, not to tell him what to do ,they were only to call him and take him to Jesus. Its the same for us ,Jesus still uses his disciples to call out to the world to tell everyone we meet “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you”.
Its an incredible duty that he has given us we have the ability to point people towards the God that made them and that loves and wants to save them. We should make full use of the time that we have been given on this earth to proclaim this call of Christ to as many people as we can , abandoning all our petty awkwardness and shyness and placing the duty of repeating the call of Jesus as one of our top priorities.
Its important to note that although its a solemn call the answer to which results in eternal life or death, its still an incredibly joyous occasion and we should be proclaiming his name with joy
When we come to look at the conversion of this man the very first thing he does is one of the most important things to happen to any new Christian. The man throws of his cloak – the cloak which had previously protected him , the cloak which we may have used to collect the coins in , this cloak represented his past life and it was thrown aside when Christ called out to him.
When Jesus calls sinners to him the old life has to stay behind , the old life is nothing but sin and with Christ only holiness and perfection can be found , this perfection can not come from us but it comes from God as when we are converted we are new creations whole new beings :
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”-2Corinthians 5:17
Its a whole new start cleansed and perfect in the eyes of God.
After the man throws off his cloak he springs up – the man is ready to draw near to Christ the second that he has been called, when the direct call of God is issued to a person ,if they truly listen to the call, then that call of God is truly irresistible. It will cause the most blind and depraved sinner to jump up and to cry out to Christ for forgiveness and as we see here cry for mercy.
And the actual healing of the man is so simple and beautiful , all Christ says is “your faith has made you whole” – there are no theatrics , no smoke machines and no charge.
Christ cured the man in an instant and its the same for the sinner , all the past , present and future sins covered in that one moment of Christ’s demonstration of his sacrifice and his love for us.
After Jesus heals the man there is no obvious and clear instruction for the man on what to do next . Jesus just simply tells the man to:
“Go your way…”
The man could have returned back to begging , after all this had been all he had known possibly all of his life. The man was free to take up his coat ,sit back down and ask the crowd for money.
When we are saved we have the ability to slip back into our old ways of living, back to what we were saved from in the first place.
But as we see here that is not the life that was meant for the Christian , form the second that we are saved there is no longer “Our way” there should only be Christs way. And thats exactly what this man does :
” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
The man was going in his own way , he recognised the fact that he had been transformed from blind to sight, and from darkness to light.
The way Of Christ was now his way to.
And he knew that the same Christ that made him see would be with him every step of the way in this new world that he was stepping in to.
It is only after that we are saved that we can truly understand and join in with singing Psalm 46verse 8 :
“the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down
the Lord loves the righteous”