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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. (Matthew 9:29-30)
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.