Text: Mark 10:52
An effect: ‘healed’
‘Sozo’ = to save.
We tend to think of salvation as
- accepting Jesus into our hearts
- experiencing the love of God
- going to heaven when we die
Clearly, salvation for Bartimaeus involved physical healing. But there is a hint in the word itself that something more than physical healing is going on here: he received his sight; and he became a disciple (v52)
Mark 10 – ‘to inherit eternal life’ (v17), ‘to enter the kingdom of God’ (vv23-26), and ‘to be saved’ (v26) are used synonymously.
Bishop Westcott was asked, “Are you saved?” He replied: “I have been saved, I am being saved, I will be saved.”
We are, obviously, living in the present, with all of its sin, decay, disease and death. In this present life, any expectation of complete freedom from the ravages of disease is a delusion without support from Scripture.
But Jesus did heal heal Bartimaeus (cf. Mt 20:30). And his touch has not lost its ancient power. At this very time, he brings forward the future into the present, offering a foretaste in the here-and-now of what we shall experience fully in the hereafter.
The cause: ‘faith’
Jesus might have said, “My power has healed you”.
People often think of faith as:-
- a catch-all term for anything connected with religion or spirituality (‘faith groups’; ‘Defender of the Faith’)
- comparing unfavourably with doubt (“honest doubt…blind faith”)
In what sense does Bartimaeus have ‘faith’?
- he has glimpsed who Jesus is (‘Son of David’, v47)
- he is convinced that Jesus is able to meet his need
- recognises degrees of faith. He can speak of ‘little faith’, ‘great faith, and, in Mk 4:40, “no faith.”
- often commends the faith of the person who comes to him for healing, Mk 5:34 – “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”
- ‘could not do any miracles’ in his home town, due to their ‘lack of faith’, Mk 6:1-6
- assigns gifts of healing, Mk 6:6-13
- refuses to perform a miraculous sign ‘on demand’, Mk 8:11-13
- engages with people as individuals, Mk 10:51
So, what about faith and healing? Globally, more than 200,000,000 people claim to have experienced or witnessed a miracle. Over 70% of physicians believe that miracles have occurred in the past and still occur today, and 55% have observed healing that they would regard as miraculous (Keener).
Why does God heal some, but not all?’ We have seen that are living between the times, God’s rule is ‘already’ and ‘not yet’. But we might ask how many more miracles God would grant if we prayed more believingly for them.
The most important thing is not the strength of faith, but its object.
- Faith is the eye by which we look to Jesus.
- Faith is the hand with which we receive Jesus.
- Faith is the tongue by which we taste how good the Lord is.
- Faith is the foot by which we come to Jesus.
A weak faith may receive a strong Saviour. Have faith in Christ. Some may receive the physical healing they long for. But all may receive what that healing points to – eternal life in him.