Ronald Regan, in 1983, while addressing the US National Association of Evangelicals, intuitively deduced the collapse of the Soviet Union. Elsewhere, in 1998, Igor Panarin experimentally deduced the fall of the United States by 2010. Panarin, a Russian Professor of Political Science, predicted the disintegration of the United States into six pieces. According to the erudite professor, the six pieces were to be taken over by Canada, Mexico, China, European Union, Japan and Russia. Russia was to repossess Alaska. This was to happen following a civil war triggered by mass immigration, economic morass, and moral degradation.
Ronald Regan’s intuitional observation came to pass. Igor Panarin’s ‘scientific’ observation failed. There are occasions when intuition trumps deductive logic and science.
It is remarkable to know that science can make predictions that come to pass and at the same time intuition can ‘see’ beyond what can be explained materially or empirically.
The ability to foresee what lies ahead is not limited to human beings alone. In fact, there are some animals that possess a higher ability to make sense of their environment and thus be able to escape impending danger. Scientists say that rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes have the ability to detect an earthquake, and they will vacate the site days before the disaster strikes. It is obvious that these animals do not use physical eyes to see the unseen environment. Humans too do not require eagle’s eyes to be able to predict the future or respond to environmental stimuli.
It is the same case with the Christian walk. When our spiritual eyes are open then we can be able to see beyond the walls of empiricism. If we can see beyond the material world (Materialism denies this line of thought) then it follows that we would prioritise our relationship with the one who offers spiritual sight. Spiritual blindness is a stopgap to following Jesus as it was designed to be. It is a stopgap because it lacks in permanency. How do Christians perceive or see things in the spirit? How can we have a personal relationship with Jesus when our spiritual eyes are blind?
When the spiritual eyes open
The Gospel books (Mathew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43) records the account of a blind man named Bartimaeus, who is healed by Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Jesus is travelling from Jericho to Jerusalem when he bumps into blind Bartimaeus. The blind man is on the roadside imploring passersby to offer him some coins. He hears a commotion and asks around what could be happening. He promptly gets the information that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is passing by. We may sometimes be blind spiritually and fail to have a handle on the spiritual and the supernatural transactions. However, no one is spiritually deaf before God. Even the cutthroats can hear God whispering to them. God has the ability to communicate to all of us even the once considered degenerates (Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people). Bartimaeus instantaneously starts calling for Jesus’ attention. He is asked by the crowd to shut up but he decides to continue come what may. His pushy shouts draw Jesus’ attention away from His business and He now focuses on Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus exemplifies true discipleship when he asks Jesus for sight restoration and not special favours and trappings of the Kingdom of God (like the Sons of Thunder – John and James). His cry for mercy shows that he knew he did not deserve the healing. Jesus grants the man his request and dismisses him – “Go, your faith has healed you.”
The blind man decides to follow Jesus instead of going his own way as he had been instructed.
“Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
And here we find sticking point that made me write this post – he followed Jesus along the road. Why would Bartimaeus follow Jesus when he had been told to go his own way? He was already healed after all. There was no need to follow Jesus.
The fact he decided to follow Jesus shows that Bartimaeus’ spiritual blindness had been cured too. Jesus did not only address his physical inadequacies but also spiritual insolvency. If Jesus had only healed him physically, and not spiritually, then Bartimaeus wouldn’t have followed Him. Clinging to Jesus is a sign of a changed heart. It speaks of spiritual eyes that are open. He knew Jesus was offering more than just healing: He was offering eternal life.
A truly changed life, a life that is not just physically touched but spiritually too, would yield to Jesus without being subjected to coercion or legalism. Jesus becomes necessary and sufficient when our spiritual eyes open. Christianity becomes a lifestyle and not an event. Exemplifying Christ becomes our norm. We look forward to serving Him.
Nominalism germinates from spiritual blindness. We find it taxing and troublesome to follow Jesus. In fact, we cannot see Him because of the very blindness afflicting us. Our faith does not go beyond being identified with a church, denomination or a parachurch. We view religion as a social construct. We espouse a minimalist approach to faith.
Nominal Christianity is effortless. It does not require a transformed life. It is like a cold dry husk: It does not have seeds. A personal relationship with Jesus is just an expression.
It was easier for Bartimaeus to go back and forget about Jesus. That is if his spiritual eyes had not been opened. Instead, he followed Jesus. He wanted a personal relationship with Him.
What if we decided to cry out to Jesus that He opens our spiritual eyes? The results would be heartwarming. He is an ever present help in time of need. We have the privilege of calling on His name for mercy. His healing reveals to us who He truly is. This kind of revelation forms a strong basis for a personal relationship.
Passage for Further Study – Revelation 3