Divine healing is a direct restoration of health through God’s intervention. This involves not only physical healing but spiritual and emotional restoration.
In every divine healing, prayer and faith are actively involved. So, when we critically evaluate the encounter between Jesus and Bartimaeus in today’s gospel, we will discover how to encounter divine healing from God.
Everything that happens in today’s gospel gives us an inkling of the way we can encounter the healing power of God.
This involves the healing of our pasts, emotions, spiritual aridity, sinful nature and physical illness.
When Jesus left Jericho with a large crowd that is following Him, they meet Bartimaeus who is sitting along the side of the road as a beggar.
Bartimaeus is not only a beggar but a blind man. So, in essence, He is suffering from lack, poverty and blindness.
Immediately He hears that it is Jesus of Nazareth who is passing, He begins to shout “Jesus son of David, have mercy on me”.
Many people begin to shout at him to close his mouth but the more they do, the more he shouts louder. This attracted the attention of Jesus who called the beggar.
Immediately, He threw away His beggar’s cloak and ran to Jesus. Hence Jesus asks him just one question, what do you want from me, His answer was direct because He knows what he wants.
He says “let me see again.” and Jesus told him to go saying that his faith has saved Him. When He regained His sight, he followed Jesus along the way.
Ways to Encounter Divine Healing.
In this gospel, we can find many ways we can encounter divine healing which I will break in details. They are:
1.Yearn for It.
The first thing I discovered in Bartimaeus is one who truly needs God’s intervention in His life. You can see that deep longing to encounter divine healing. The pressure, distance, Jesus seeming silence could not stop Him from shouting.
If we truly need something from God, we should have the hunger for it. If you need healing, you have to show you truly need healing from God.
When Bartimaeus knows that it is Jesus that is passing, he knows this is his opportunity, he goes for what he wants.
When we need something from God, do not wait for God to send you manna from heaven, grab your opportunity, go for it, seek the face of God. Let us see in you the true hunger to be made well.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). In Jeremiah 29:13, God says “you will surely find me if you seek me with all your heart”. If we seek Him, we shall surely find Him.
2. The Word of God.
One question we have to ask ourselves today is “how did Bartimaeus know about Jesus. Certainly, He is a blind man and has not seen Jesus perform miracles before.
Presumably, he has heard about Jesus. So, Bartimaeus’ faith that Jesus would heal him was based on what heard about Jesus.
He must have heard about the miraculous deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. Thereby Bartimaeus faith was not on ahunanya ekwe (seeing is believing) but anuru ekwe (hearing is believing).
Then the way we can hear about Jesus is through His word. If we truly want to know who Jesus is, read His word.
The more we do this, the more we come to a knowledge of what He can do and the more we know him is the more our faith in Him develops. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul advises us to walk by faith and not by sight.
To encounter divine healing from our pasts, guilt, challenges etc, we need the word of God to guide us.
3. Seek for a Spiritual Encounter.
There is something that marvelled me today about Bartimaeus. You know this man has been a beggar and in dire need of money.
When he encountered Jesus and the mighty crowd that was following Him, I was surprised that Bartimaeus could not ask for money this time.
This is unlike the man at the beautiful gate in Acts 3:3, who was requesting money from Peter. Bartimaeus met a crowd. For goodness sake, this is the best time to make a huge amount of money.
What he needed to do is to open his mouth and shout “Please help me”. Many will be out to put enough in his pocket. But at this time, the beggar refused to beg. He knows he needed something different and higher which is a spiritual encounter with Jesus.
This man teaches us that it is not every time that money will be the first thing to seek. There are times we need a divine and spiritual encounter.
Through such an encounter, we can encounter divine healing, graces and strength to undergo even the greatest trials in life.
Bartimaeus knows that his main source of income comes from begging, but at this time, he abandons his source of income to seek something higher.
4. Never Stop Praying.
When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is passing, he utters just a little statement, “Jesus son of David have mercy on me”. This is a very short prayer but full of faith and confidence in God.
Immediately He utters this, many wanted to shout Him down, but He refuses. He shouts the more.
The more people try to pressure him to stop, is the more He shouts. What can we derive from this?
Whenever we decide to seek the face of God, what is very important is not the length of our prayers but the magnitude of our faith.
Whenever we seek God’s presence, there are always challenges. These challenges can come from your friends who make a caricature of your prayer life. Some may tell you that you are wasting time. But don’t give up on God.
Some people may even attack you at this time either spiritual or physical, please do not give them such an opportunity to make you lose faith in God. Never stop praying despite however difficult it may look.
To tell the power of persistence in prayer, Jesus tells His apostles the parable of the Judge and the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, asking them to pray always and not to lose heart.
5. Have Strong Faith.
It is faith that made Bartimaeus shout on top of his voice for healing, otherwise, he will not waste such a time shouting.
It is faith that made Him seek Jesus despite not seeing him work miracles before. Also, it is faith that made him throw away his cloak, knowing quite well that with Jesus his past is gone. Even when Jesus tells him to go that he is made well, he did not argue it and he was made well.
At last, Jesus attributes his healing to his faith. Divine healing comes through faith. Hebrews 11:6 says that before you come in the presence of God, you must, first of all, believe that he exists and that he can do all things.
Bartimaeus did not say. Let me try God. he knows and believes that Jesus is able and capable and he goes for what he wants.
To encounter divine healing, we need to do the same. Do not go to God with a double mind. Seek His face, believing also that he is able and capable.
5.Throw Away the Beggars Cloak.
Something baffled me in this gospel. Immediately Jesus called Bartimaeus, he threw away his beggar’s cloak.
To explain this further. The Jews have the tradition of allowing beggars to wear a special type of cloth so that whenever someone sees them, they will recognise that the person is a beggar.
It is like a begging license issued to beggars. Once you wear it, you are free to beg. But when Jesus called Bartimaeus, he threw away His beggar’s cloak and came to Jesus.
Here, the beggars, cloak represents his pasts, the former conditions, the worries, the pains, and the seeming occupation. Then to come to Jesus, he abandons, all. He knows this time something new is coming. Then there is no need to keep to the past conditions, worrying about the past. Bartimaeus threw the past away and came to Jesus.
To encounter divine healing, we have to throw away the past, throw away our worry, throw away anything that may keep us away from God.
It can be any form of guilt, regrets, complaints, excuses, pains of the pasts etc. We do not go to God with them and still expect healing.
Throw them away and be free. When we do this, new life will come, healing will come and we will experience another form of strength.
May God help us to experience His healing today. May He deliver us from every form of physical and spiritual blindness. Amen.