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The great hymn writer, John Newton wrote, "Amazing grace! How sweet
the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see." What a powerful metaphor to describe transformations-going
from being blind to being able to see!
But for some people in the New Testament, it wasn't a metaphor, it is
their testimony. For the last two weeks, we've studied Saul of Tarsus'
transformation from a persecutor of the church to a church planter. On
the road to Damascus, he encountered a bright light that blinded him. Following
the instructions the Lord gave him, he went to meet with Ananias who healed
his blindness and coached him in his new faith. This morning, we'll look
at the testimony's of several of the blind men in the bible that regained
their sight by Jesus' touch.
Some of the transformations, like Saul of Tarsus' were immediate. That's
the way it was for Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who sat by the road to Jericho.
One day, as he sat begging by the roadside, he heard a crowd walking by.
When he asked someone why there was such a big crowd, they told him Jesus
was walking by. "And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began
to cry out and say, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'" (Mark 10:47)
The crowd didn't like the commotion Bartimaeus was causing, so they
rebuked him and told him to quite down. But Bartimaeus kept begging for
mercy, and Jesus called for him. "And casting aside his cloak, he jumped
up, and came to Jesus.  And answering him, Jesus said, 'What do you
want Me to do for you?' And the blind man said to Him, 'Rabboni, I want
to regain my sight!'  And Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your faith
has made you well.' And immediately he regained his sight and began following
Him on the road." (Mark 10:46-52)
All Jesus had to do was speak and the man was healed. Notice that the
transformation was immediate. Just like it was with a pair of blind men
that Jesus healed. Once again, Jesus was walking when someone cried out
for mercy. Jesus went into the house and the blind men pursued him. When
Jesus saw them, He asked, . "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
They said to Him, "Yes, Lord."  Then He touched their eyes, saying,
"Be it done to you according to your faith."  And their eyes were opened.
This time, instead of simply speaking to the men, Jesus touched their
eyes and when he did, their eyes were immediately opened.
Another time, Jesus was walking past a blind man, who was blind from
birth. The disciples asked Jesus why the man was blind, was it because
of his sin or a sin of his parents. "Jesus answered, 'It was neither that
this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of
God might be displayed in him.'" (John 9:3)
Without the man saying anything, Jesus spat on the ground and applied
the mud on the man's eyes, and told the man to go and wash his eyes in
the pool of Siloam. I'm not sure how hard it was to access the pool in
Jesus' time, but today, it is eighteen feet below the surrounding ground
and can only be reached by walking down a steep flight of stone steps.
(ZPEB, v5, p. 437)
Why would Jesus send a blind man on a precarious errand like this? Couldn't
He just pronounce him healed like he did Bartimaeus or touch his eyes like
he did the two blind men? I don't know for certain, but perhaps it had
something to do with the conversation He'd just had with His disciples.
Don't you imagine the blind man was humiliated by what the disciples
asked Jesus? I mean, he was blind, but he wasn't deaf. He heard every word.
When Jesus sent this man on the errand, he restored his dignity. He wasn't
helpless, he was a healthy man with a disability-certainly he could navigate
a few steps to wash his face.
When he returned, he could see. Another immediate transformation.
On one occasion Jesus spoke to a man and he regained his sight, another
time He touched two men and they were healed, and another time, he put
mud on a man's eyes and asked him to wash the mud away in a pool before
he would see. Each time, the circumstances and the point of contact were
different, but each time the healing was immediate. But there was a time
in scripture where a blind man wasn't fully healed until he received a
"And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Him, and
entreated Him to touch him.  And taking the blind man by the hand,
He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes, and
laying His hands upon him, He asked him, 'Do you see anything?'  And
he looked up and said, 'I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking
about.'  Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked
intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly" (Mark 8:22-25)
Why did Jesus have to touch this man twice for him to be able to see?
I don't have a clue. Certainly Jesus has the power to heal the blind instantaneously.
But this time, it took a double touch. I can't explain why, but I do know
that's the way it works sometimes. That's certainly the way it worked with
Pastor Tom couldn't help notice Ray's family as they walked in the church.
For one thing, this was Tom's first church and it was small enough that
he noticed any new people who walked into the auditorium, but this family
caught his eye quickly.
Three things caught his attention. One was the stale smell of cigarette
smoke that followed them in the room, another was Ray's wife, she was pregnant,
uncomfortably pregnant-it looked like she was ready to have that baby at
any moment. And the third thing he noticed was the older woman who walked
in next to the couple's young daughter.
Auntie Vivian was her name. "When Ray called to ask if I'd come out
to help out with the new baby and all," Aunt Vivian said, "I said, I'd
only come on one condition: that we find a church in the area and attend
Ray hadn't been to church in ten years, not since he was a child, but
he knew he needed help when the new baby was born, so he agreed to the
conditions Aunt Vivian set out.
It was obvious to Tom that Ray didn't want to be there, and when he
heard Aunt Vivian's story, he understood why. But he was glad they were
there, regardless of the reason why.
That morning, Tom preached a simple Gospel message to the small crowd
that gathered and when he extended the invitation, Ray's entire family
walked forward to accept Christ.
The small girl seemed sincere in her desire to know Christ and Ray's
wife was in tears, but the look on Ray's face communicated that he was
willing to go along with the family's decision, but Tom wasn't sure if
Ray was thrilled about it.
Is it just a part of pleasing Aunt Vivian, Tom thought, or
is Ray sincere?
Later in the week, Tom called to see if he could schedule a followup
visit with the family. Aunt Vivian answered the phone and told him that
if he wanted to see Ray, he'd have to go to the hospital, they were having
That's exactly what Tom did. The baby arrived six hours before Tom did.
After celebrating the new birth with the parents, Tom went over the plan
of salvation with the couple again and talked to them about baptism. After
visiting with the couple further, Tom was satisfied that they both were
making a genuine decision for Christ.
As he was leaving the room, Ray said to him, "Pastor didn't you forget
something?" "What do you mean?" Tom asked. "Aren't you going to talk to
us about tithing?" Ray replied.
It had been years since Ray had been in church, but he did remember
the sermons he'd heard about tithing. And he knew that if he was going
to follow Christ, he was going to do it all the way. Ray reached into his
pocket and pulled a pew envelope that he'd taken from the church the Sunday
before. "Here's my tithe for this week." Ray said. "I didn't want to wait
until next Sunday to give it."
A couple of weeks later, Ray invited Tom out to lunch with him. Ray
took Tom to his favorite bar. "I know this isn't the kind of place you
usually go to lunch," Ray said. "But I spent over $10,000.00 here entertaining
my business associates over the last year, and I wanted to stop by to tell
the owner why I wouldn't be in anymore, and I wanted you to be with me
when I did."
Thirty years have passed since that day. Tom has gone on to pastor other
churches and Ray has moved out of state. A lot of things have changed over
those thirty years, but not one thing-Ray is still a radical follower of
It took a double touch. Once when he was a child, and once when he was
an adult, but Christ transformed Ray's life. (Fresh Illustrations, http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)