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The Gospel of the Holy Spirit

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  1. Day 1 - The Gospel of the Holy Spirit: The Age of the Spirit
  2. Day 2 - When Revival Becomes Awakening: The Age of the Spirit
  3. Day 3 - The Secret Way of Holy Spirit–Filled Fasting
  4. Day 4 - Jesus’ Essential Message in Seventeen Words
  5. Day 5 - When I Fight Authority
  6. Day 6 - Bringing the Holy Spirit Home
  7. Day 7 - The Most Important Word in the New Testament
  8. Day 8 - The Difference between Witnessing and Being a Witness
  9. Day 9 - When the Holy Spirit Makes a Hot Mess
  10. Day 10 - Why There Is No Such Thing as Secular
  11. Day 11 - What Makes Fasting Christian?
  12. Day 12 - Ready for the New Wine? Get Rid of the Old Wineskin
  13. Day 13 - The Critical Difference between Being Responsible for Others and Responsive to Them
  14. Day 14 - If You Had a Holy Spirit Gauge, What Would It Read?
  15. Day 15 - The Missing Link in Our Disciple-Making
  16. Day 16 - Three Reasons You Have Probably Not Blasphemed the Holy Spirit
  17. Day 17 - Why Jesus Is the New (Old) Normal
  18. Day 18 - How to Have a High Failure Rate without Failing
  19. Day 19 - Why the Holy Spirit Prefers Curious People
  20. Day 20 - Not for Ourselves but Others: The Great Rule of the Kingdom
  21. Day 21 - A Parable about the Most Humble Power in the World
  22. Day 22 - Who Needs the Weather Channel When You’ve Got Jesus?
  23. Day 23 - On Becoming the Kind of People Who Don’t Give up on People
  24. Day 24 - Do You Believe in Demons?
  25. Day 25 - The Problem of Reducing People to Their Problems
  26. Day 26 - A Word for Women (and Men) That Can Change Everything
  27. Day 27 - Up, Girl!
  28. Day 28 - The Kind of Places Where Miracles Don’t Happen
  29. Day 29 - It Takes Two to Bring the Kingdom
  30. Day 30 - The End of Christian America
  31. Day 31 - Why Marriage Is Not about Marriage and What It Is About
  32. Day 32 - The Holy Spirit and Setting Boundaries
  33. Day 33 - Awakening to the Miracle That Never Stops
  34. Day 34 - The Disciples’ Dilemma: When Knowledge Gets in the Way of Knowing
  35. Day 35 - Do We Really Recognize Jesus?
  36. Day 36 - When the Holy Spirit Does Something Not in the Bulletin
  37. Day 37 - The Problem with the Rules . . . or the Possibilities
  38. Day 38 - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
  39. Day 39 - The Desperate Need We Have to Be in Need
  40. Day 40 - The Difference between Extravagant Embrace and Radical Inclusiveness
  41. Day 41 - On the Everyday Ministry of Eating
  42. Day 42 - On the Difference between Faith and Risk Management
  43. Day 43 - Why Miracles Will Never Be Enough
  44. Day 44 - The Concerns of God
  45. Day 45 - The Problem with Lowest Common Denominator Discipleship
  46. Day 46 - Seeing behind the Curtain vs. Beholding through the Veil
  47. Day 47 - What to Do in the Face of a Discipleship Fail
  48. Day 48 - The Problem with Lazy Faith and the Way beyond It
  49. Day 49 - Why We Aren’t the Champions
  50. Day 50 - How Sin Continues to Win and How to Beat It
  51. Day 51 - On the Reason for Marriage and the Difficulty of Divorce
  52. Day 52 - The Big Problem of the Powerful
  53. Day 53 - Getting the “A” and Failing the Course
  54. Day 54 - How Jesus Kicks Our Value System to the Curb
  55. Day 55 - How Jesus Wants Us to Respond to Hard Things
  56. Day 56 - Why Blindness Is the Real Problem
  57. Day 57 - Living in Light of the Larger Story
  58. Day 58 - On Splitting Hell Wide Open with a Baptismal Certificate in Your Hands
  59. Day 59 - The Difference between the Power of Prayer and the Power of God
  60. Day 60 - On the Power of Telling an Alternative Story
  61. Day 61 - Why You Really Don’t Own Anything
  62. Day 62 - Why God and Politics Can’t Be Separated
  63. Day 63 - Take the Long View
  64. Day 64 - The Two Ways of Keeping the Law and Why It Matters Most
  65. Day 65 - Moving from Information to Conversation
  66. Day 66 - When Two Cents Is Worth More than a Million Dollars
  67. Day 67 - When It’s Time to Build Something More than Buildings
  68. Day 68 - On the Day It All Hits the Fan and the Day after That
  69. Day 69 - Why We Must Leave behind Left Behind
  70. Day 70 - When the Sky Starts Falling
  71. Day 71 - Why Does the Word of God Endure Forever?
  72. Day 72 - Why Being Ready for the End Means Being Joyfully Alive in the Present
  73. Day 73 - The Three Kinds of People You Meet on the Way to the Cross
  74. Day 74 - The Big Problem with Being More Dedicated to God
  75. Day 75 - The Key to Perceiving Revelation
  76. Day 76 - Getting in Touch with Our Inner Judas
  77. Day 77 - Why I Never Understood the Lord’s Supper Until . . .
  78. Day 78 - On the Difference between Faith and Optimism
  79. Day 79 - Why There’s No Place for “If” in Prayer
  80. Day 80 - The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves . . . Sort Of
  81. Day 81 - The Wound That Never Heals
  82. Day 82 - The Reason behind Most Discipleship Failures
  83. Day 83 - How Faith Is like a “Get out of Jail Free” Card, and How It’s Not
  84. Day 84 - The Journey of Peter and the Journey of Us
  85. Day 85 - Why Are You So Defensive?
  86. Day 86 - Why It’s All Your Fault
  87. Day 87 - Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Yourself
  88. Day 88 - The Glorious Imposition of the Cross
  89. Day 89 - The Mind of Christ Is the Cross
  90. Day 90 - When You Find Yourself in the Deepest Darkness
  91. Day 91 - Why We Say “Thank God It’s Friday”
  92. Day 92 - Tired of Following Jesus in Secret?
  93. Day 93 - Why Faith Has to Die
  94. Day 94 - Without the Resurrection, We’ve Got Nothing
  95. Day 95 - What Faith Is and What It Is Not
  96. Day 96 - The Wisdom behind a Good, Old-Fashioned Trust Fall
  97. Day 97 - How the Gospels Disciple Us in the Gospel
Lesson 56 of 97
In Progress

Day 56 – Why Blindness Is the Real Problem

Mark 10:46–52 ESV

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Consider This

Not only was he poor, but he was blind, which landed Bartimaeus in the ill-fated category of the poorest of the poor. Helpless and hopeless, he had become something of a piece of discarded furniture on the side of the road people didn’t even notice anymore. He was just another beggar. You know what I’m talking about’the guy at the busy intersection holding the “Will Work for Food” sign who really just wants your spare change.

And here’s the first big problem. It’s not his blindness, but ours that gets in the way of the working of the Holy Spirit. No one in the crowd that day had anything remotely close to “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.” As Bartimaeus cried out, the people told him to shut up. Not only did they not want to see him, they didn’t want to hear him either.

Whether Jesus saw him or heard him first we know not, nor does it matter. He wants us to see and hear Bartimaeus now. He wants us to understand the ways the Holy Spirit searches to and fro for the blind Bartimaeus types. What do I mean by that? Bartimaeus was not looking for the next handout. He wanted liberation from his situation. Maybe he was tired of victimhood. Maybe he had come to the place where he was sick of living alms gift to alms. He knew he could not solve his own problem, yet he also knew he had to cry out for something more than help for his symptoms. He knew he needed a fundamental change.

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

It’s got me thinking . . . what if I asked this question to the next beggar I encountered, “What do you want me to do for you?” And what if he said, “I need $10.” That strikes me as an invitation to perpetuate his problem. It’s the easiest thing for him to ask for and, frankly, the easiest thing I could give him. But I think it’s probably not the kind of thing Jesus is going for.

Now, what if he said, “I need to get something to eat.” In my opinion, this isn’t the kind of faith Jesus is looking for either. Still, I could go get him some food and it would be a faithful act of service.

But what if he said, “I need help getting a job.” This is where it gets harder. This is the kind of faith Jesus looks for among those in need—people who are looking for real change, who have thought through what they most need and because they know they are stuck without help, they are bold enough to ask for it. Do you see what happens now? His faith hit the ball into my court and now it becomes about my faith.

For a disciple of Jesus Christ, this is where the proverbial road meets the rubber. Honestly, it’s so much easier for me to wait for the light to turn green and move on and just tell myself the story about this guy that I have always told myself’that he’s where he is as a consequence of his choices and it’s not my problem and the price of helping him is just too high and, besides, I give my money to the church who is supposed to help solve these situations.

“Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

I want us to note that faith is not some kind of magic or some sort of internal substance that we either have enough of or not in order for God to work. Faith heals precisely because it requires something more of us than asking for a temporary fix to a systemic problem. Faith brings people to a place beyond the symptoms to the source of a problem. It requires of them the act of moving toward a possibility that was hitherto unseeable to them. It changes things in a permanent way. Despite Bartimaeus’s physical blindness (or maybe because of it), his faith enabled him to see something even physical sight could not see’the possibilities of the mercy of God.

And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

See what happened? Bartimaeus went from sitting beside the road to following Jesus along the road. That’s the big deal.

A final note: faith also heals the healer. Nothing makes a person more well than helping another person to get well in the name of Jesus. We must get beyond the thin solutions that only serve to make us feel better that we did something. Those kinds of solutions only further serve the problem. We must press into the deeper need of the other. This is not easy. It gets messy. This is the big deal. It means taking on the mind and mentality of Jesus who teaches us that we come “not to be served but to serve.”

I think the real problem is not the blindness of Bartimaeus but our own blindness. Maybe the best thing we can do today would be to say to Jesus, “Lord, I want to see.”

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • How does this challenge your discipleship? Where is your faith rising up to meet the rising faith of someone else in need today?
  • What holds you back?