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Which physical sense do you value the most? Is it your eyesight? Is it your sense of smell?  Is it your sense of hearing?  Or perhaps it's your sense of touch?  That would be a really hard sense to lose, if it is possible to lose it.

We value our physical senses greatly.  Some people do live life without being able to see, hear, or even speak.  But the majority of people do not know what life is like without having these physical senses that we often take for granted.

Last week I was reading Mark and came to a fantastic story in chapter 10 about a blind beggar named Bartimaeus:
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
I have read this story many times before, but never has it had such an impact on me personally as it did last week.  One thing I love to do is put myself in other people's shoes (figuratively speaking of course).  I think because of my empathetic personality, I can do this more easily than some people.  Even in every day conversation, I will try very hard to think and feel the way the other person is thinking and feeling to better understand them.  That is what I did when I read this story: I put myself in blind Bartimaeus' shoes.

I'm sitting by the roadside, blind, not able to see anything at all.  Suddenly, I hear a crowd approaching and I hold up my cup asking for money.  Then I hear the name Jesus mentioned and I think back to the stories I've heard of Him healing blind people like me.  I set down my cup and begin crying out, "Jesus!  Son of David!  Have mercy on me!"  People in the crowd are annoyed with me as they trip over me.  Still, I shout all the louder.  "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  "Shh!  Be quiet!" they shout back.  I can't see Him, but I know He is there, somewhere in the crowd.  Suddenly, the crowd changes their tone and they tell me: "Hurry!  Be happy!  He's calling for you."  I can hardly believe my ears.

As they lead me through the crowd, I am so happy to see the Miracle-worker that my eyes begin to swell with tears.  When I reach Him, He asks me what I want.  "Rabbi, I want to see," I say.  Without hesitation, Jesus compassionately says, "Go!  Your faith has healed you."

Immediately light and colors and shadows and faces flood my senses!  It is almost too much for me to take in and I fall back into the arms of those around me.  Everyone is laughing, sharing in my joy.  "Go?" I say aloud.  "I will go wherever You go!"

This story in the literal sense is already amazing.  But there is another way it can be read, too.

Every physical thing in this life has a spiritual side to it.  We have spiritual eyes that must be opened.  When I lived in sin, I sat on the roadside, spiritually blinded.  When I came to repentance, I began to cry out without knowing for certain Jesus was there: "Lord, save me!  Give me my sight!"  Something inside me said to be quiet.  Jesus doesn't love you.  He doesn't want anything to do with you the voices inside told me.  I wanted to listen to the voices - voices of regret and guilt - but I kept calling out to God, desperate for my sight!  Suddenly, Jesus said, "Come!  Cheer up!  My Father wants to see you!"  The relief that flooded my soul when my spiritual eyes were opened to eternal life was amazing and miraculous!  "Praise God!  I can see!"

We all need our spiritual eyes opened.  The devil would like nothing more than to keep us blinded by our guilt and failure.  He is the great deceiver and seduces us in our blindness to follow the things of this world, promising sight, but never attaining it.  The one and only answer to our ailment of spiritual blindness is the Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the one that made the blind to see - both yesterday, today, and forevermore!

Praise be to the Lord our God!  Call out to Him today!

"I once was blind, but now I see!" (Blind man, John 9).