Summary: The story of Bartimaeus provides an excellent text for a funeral with both a clear gospel message and encouragement for the family: Mr 10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
Funeral for a Believer
Mr 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
Mr 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, [thou] Son of David, have mercy on me.
Mr 10:48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on me.
Mr 10:49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
Mr 10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
From this passage of scripture I want to make a few brief points;
The first is Jesus stood still.
I have been reading the book, "The Art of the deal", by Donald Trump. The first chapter deals with all the people he meets in an average week. It is a fascinating read of politicians, businessmen, clergy, and celebrities all wanting to rub shoulders with him. He is a very busy man with more would be guests than time he can alot for them. You see, a lot of wannabe's try to get to see Donald Trump. In life, especially in the world of politics it is not what you know but who you know. So everybody is always trying to get close to the man.
Far more so, Jesus had a lot of wannabe's following Him around, people who wannabe noticed by Him. Our text says that a great number of people were walking with Him. We know from other stories that multitudes often thronged around Him. It would have been very hard for someone on the periphery to get His attention.
Yet Bartimaeus did something that got Jesus to stand still in His tracks.
Picture the scene in your mind's eye. Hot shot apostles (the sons of thunder!) who probably were responsible for crowd control, Roman centurions, and big name politicians who brushed aside the insignificant "little," people. He was thronged and pressed in by the people who thought they had the right to be closest to Him. Yet he stops the whole circus, because he hears something that arrests His attention. As if a hand literally reached out and grabbed His garment so that He could go no further.
It is a summons that touches Him in the deepest part of His being. He pauses, listens attentively and hears in the background the cries of a man desperate for help, who uses language Jesus cannot resist, "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me."
The prayer for mercy is one that tugs on the heart of Jesus so strongly that His constitution will not allow Him to turn from it. The bible declares, "that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Sometimes people who need mercy the most are often the most reluctant to ask for it. The burden of condemnation and a sense of personal failure and guilt can be so strong they get to thinking God couldn't love or forgive them. Bartimaeus was way past being weighed down by self-loathing, he was desperate. The truth is that the prayer for mercy is God's favorite prayer to answer.
When my children were small I used to drill this story into them just in case they might someday turn from serving God. I wanted them to know that no matter what they might do wrong, if they will turn to the Lord, God will always answer the prayer for mercy. * (Pastors see note at the end of this message)
There was a time earlier in her life that Margie Moore prayed that kind of a prayer. Life assurance is far more valuable and important than life insurance. One famous atheist said, "the one thing I envy about you Christians is that you have someone to forgive you." A man by the name of Val Patterson, died on July 12th of this year, due to cancer he knew the end was coming, so he wrote his own obituary notice. Because of the some things he said, it went viral. One of the things that he said was: "Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest."
41 years earlier as a teen he committed a robbery, though he wasn't caught by the police he was never able to escape the voice of a guilty conscience. King David said in Ps 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. It is no small comfort when you come to the end of your journey that you know that your sins are forgiven, that they are not screaming at you in the corridors of your mind, hounding you and chasing you as you pass from this world to the next.