Bartimaeus is begging to see the world that is passing by him. When he learns Jesus is there, he shouts to get the Lord's attention. Many tell him to be quiet. How does Bartimaeus respond? And what does that teach us? Pastor Jason shares from Mark 10:46-52.Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
*not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript*
CRY ALL THE MORE
You are hurting. You have messed up big time. In your heart, you know that all you must do is get to Jesus. But standing between you and him is a crowd shouting: “Be quiet!” “It is your own fault!” “You do not deserve help!” “No one cares!” “Shut up!”. Who knows, maybe the crowd shouting those things at you is our own mind. How are you to respond when the crowd tries to silence us to keep us from Jesus?
46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 so throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. (NRSV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
IN THE TEXT: The obstacles to Jesus
***[v46-47] ONE VOICE ***
If you were blind, like Bartimaeus, then there was only one to earn a living. Begging. What else could you do? From reading a little later in the passage, we know Bartimaeus was not always blind. But either because of illness or injury, Bartimaeus was blind. He was sitting by the road to live. A means of survival Bartimaeus had carried out day after day.
There is some debate to whether Bartimaeus sat along this road because he knew this was the way Jesus would be traveling. But that is irrelevant, the more important detail is that Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was, “the Son of David.” That title was one the Jews reserved for the Messiah, and Bartimaeus cried it out attached to the name of Jesus. He was sitting by the road to live, but this day Bartimaeus found the Life. (John 14:6)
***[v48] ONE VOICE IN THE NOISE***
Jesus, the Messiah, is passing by blind Bartimaeus. He is calling to get the Lord’s attention. What does the crowd do? “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet.” Bartimaeus clearly needs to get to Jesus, to at least get him a shot at being able to see and escape the beggar’s life. But the crowd tells Bartimaeus to be quiet. Was he being a nuisance? Or did the fear the implications of Bartimaeus naming Jesus “the son of David”? Were they being selfish? Regardless, they told a blind man to be quiet and not to bother Jesus.
***[v49-52] ONE VOICE IN THE EAR OF HEAVEN***
Through all the noise, Jesus hears Bartimaeus. Regardless of how, Bartimaeus’s voice captured the ear of heaven. Jesus stopped. St. Jerome believed Jesus stopped because Bartimaeus was blind. Rather than have a blindman try to find him through the crowd, attempting to navigate uneven terrain, Jesus paused so Bartimaeus could easily get to him. To further make it easier, Jesus sent the disciples to get Bartimaeus. (Rev. E. Bickersteth, The Pulpit Commentary Volume 16)
The disciples essentially tell Bartimaeus, “Be courageous! Jesus is calling.” When Bartimaeus learns that Jesus has called his name, he seizes the opportunity. He tosses off his cloak. Do you know how important a cloak is to a beggar? It is a source of warmth and protection, valuable. But Bartimaeus discards it and answers Jesus’s call.
Face to face, Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus answers, “Well you see, I can’t.” No. Jesus is asking Bartimaeus if he wants to be better. It seems like a silly question, but no everyone wants to be healed. Anyway, Bartimaeus responds with a term of utmost respect, lost in the NRSV, “My teacher, let me see again.” His faith in Jesus led to Bartimaeus’s eyes being opened again.
FROM THE TEXT: The way to Jesus
How are you to respond when the crowd tries to silence you? Bartimaeus had the faith to shout louder. You and I must have the same kind of faith.
It does not matter whether you or I are morally bankrupt, controlled by temptations, guilty of sin, or broken by the waves of life, like he did for Bartimaeus, Jesus has stopped and is calling for you. Others may say you are not worthy, that you are unlovable. But Jesus has heard your cry and has made the path to him clear.
When Jesus called, Bartimaeus did not waste time. He arrived at the opportunity of a lifetime, Jesus had the power to give him back his sight, so Bartimaeus did not waste one second. Do not delay, get up and have the faith to take a step toward Jesus.
Let go off everything that might hinder you. Those voices telling you, “Be quiet!” “It is your own fault!” “You do not deserve help!” “No one cares!” “Shut up!”, block your ears and refuse to hear what they have to say. Because in Jesus you have found freedom now.
BEYOND THE TEXT: One voice, but with ears to hear?
Jesus is calling, he has heard your cry. Will you come to him?
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"