Mark 10:52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
There is a difference between the Japanese and the NIV that jumps out at me. Where the NIV says “healed,” the Japanese says “saved.” Young’s Literal Translation also uses “saved” there, so I’m guessing that’s pretty accurate. He certainly acted like he was saved after this, following Jesus. Physical healing isn’t predictable, though it is certainly possible by God’s grace. However, repentant faith will always bring salvation. I don’t think the name, Bartimaeus, would have been recorded if he hadn’t remained with the group of those who followed Jesus. He was quite possibly among the 120 in the upper room at Pentecost. Like the man born blind in John 9, he had a powerful testimony: “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25) When we forget from what Jesus saved us, our discipleship can get shaky. Particularly for those who have never been what the world calls “bad,” this can be a real problem. However, the issue is not what the world approves or doesn’t, it’s our failure to align with the holiness of God, and none of us does that. We get glib with verses like “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) and “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23) but we tend to forget they really apply to us. I certainly don’t recommend that people do something horrible so that they will better understand salvation. Rather, we need a revelation of just how horrible ignoring God and going our own way really is. People don’t intentionally choose hell, but they do intentionally choose their own way over God’s, and that’s actually the same thing. We need to realize that applies to us as much as it does to the guy on death row, and get serious about our gratitude for the salvation that has been given us.
Ouch! That exposes several areas for repentance. I could name several “major” sins I have committed in my life, though the police wouldn’t be interested in any of them, but this points out how often I fail to place God first in my thinking. I’m not plotting sin, I’m simply ignoring God. At the very least that lets down my defenses and makes me open to assorted attacks by the devil. I need to stay spiritually awake all the time, focused on Christ Jesus my Lord and keeping Him first in all my thoughts and actions. There is no question that is the way of greatest satisfaction and blessing.
Father, thank You for Your overwhelming grace toward me. Keep me from forgetting that even for a moment. Help me walk in the obedience of gratitude, not falling again into the trap of taking Your grace for granted, so that I may be true to You on every level, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!