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, a Russian, experimentally concluded the fall of the United States by 2010. Panarin, a Professor of Political Science, predicted the disintegration of the United States into six parts. According to the erudite professor, the six parts were to be taken over by Canada, Mexico, China, European Union, Japan and Russia. Russia was to repossess Alaska. The professor claimed that a US civil war was to be a precursor. The civil war triggers cited were 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 crucial to know that science can make predictions that come to pass, and at the same time, intuition can perceive past what can be explained materially or empirically.
The ability to foresee what lies ahead is not limited to human beings. Some animals possess a tremendous ability to make sense of their environment and consequently be prepared to flee imminent threats. Scientists say that rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes can detect an earthquake, and they will vacate the site days before the disaster strikes. These animals do not use physical eyes to see the unseen environment. Humans, too, do not require an eagle’s eyes to be able to predict the future or respond to environmental stimuli.
It is the same case with the Christian life. 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 rejects this line of thinking), then it follows that we would prioritise our relationship with the one who grants spiritual sight. Spiritual blindness is a stopgap to following Jesus. It is a stopgap because it lacks durability. 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 was healed by Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Jesus was travelling from Jericho to Jerusalem when he bumped into blind Bartimaeus. The blind man was on the roadside entreating passersby to donate coins. He then heard a commotion and asked around what was transpiring. He promptly got the news that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was 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 can 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 started to call on Jesus. The super-sensitive crowd heard him and ordered him to shut up, but he decided to continue come what may. His pushy shouts draw Jesus’ attention away from His business, and for a moment focused 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 granted the man his request and dismisses him – “Go, your faith has healed you.”
The now healed man decided to follow Jesus instead of going his way as Jesus had directed him.
“Immediately, he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
Moreover, here we find a sticking point that caused me to 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 addressed not only his physical deficiencies but also spiritual bankruptcy. If Jesus had only healed him physically, and not spiritually, then Bartimaeus wouldn’t have followed Him. Clasping on Jesus is a mark of a transformed heart. It speaks of open spiritual eyes. He knew Jesus was offering more than just healing: He was giving eternal life too.
A truly changed life, a life that is not just physically touched but spiritually too, would submit volitionally 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 obeying Him.
Nominalism germinates from spiritual blindness. We find it taxing and troublesome to follow Jesus. 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 impromptu. It does not demand 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 more comfortable 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