Summary: This sermon asks the question of whether we actually see the world around us with the eyes of Jesus.
MARK 10: 46-52.
The Bible says that Jesus has his face set toward Jerusalem. Calvary and the cross are just a week away. Winning people back to the Lord was very important to Jesus that is why Jesus had paused to win Zaccheus. What I have found interesting is that in the gospel of Mark Jesus is constantly on the move. One of he words that is used over and over in Mark to give us this impression is the word immediately. When we read the scripture and it says that Immediately Jesus went here; we are given a picture of Jesus walking from one event to another with his disciples tagging along behind. Maybe one of the reasons why Mark show his gospel this way was to let us know that Jesus knew what his purpose was and that nothing was going to get in the way to distract Jesus from fulfilling that purpose. As I read Mark I get a picture of the disciples always trying to catch up to Jesus, and when they think they have caught up to Jesus they look around and Jesus has gone on. I have often wonder if maybe one of the disciples happen to ask where is Jesus and the response they got was Oh you just missed him, or he left here about ten minutes ago. When we were on vacation the road into where we stayed had a number of speed bumps for the purpose of slowing traffic down. Mark’s speed bumps are the language that he uses to write the gospel. Mark takes events that happen in the past and he uses languages to frame then is the present. The reason Mark uses the languages he does is because he wants us to see the vividness of the event. It is Mark way of saying that if you don’t go slow, you will miss what is being said. The Psalmist said that we are to be still so we can hear the Lord; Mark is saying that we should read slowly so you won’t miss what the Lord has for you.
1. Mark wants us to notice the Beggar.
The Lord saw to it that the stories in the Bible were put there for a reason. Bartimaeus in this story was a real person and Jesus really did heal him. The thing is that I believe that this story of Bartimaeus is here because Jesus wants us to realize that there are many people in the world who are in the same spiritual condition that this man was in physically. They are spiritually blind because they don’t know Jesus Christ. Bartimaeus is a reminder to us of the condition of the people who haven’t asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness. They are actually over 5 billion people who are lost. I believe that Bartimaeus is also used symbolically to show us a picture of the church that is blind to the needs of the people and to what the Lord Jesus actually want of the church. I was listening this week to a young man who made a video that said that he hated religion but that he loves Jesus. Now you may think that this young man is mixed up, but really he isn’t In fact Jesus was completely against religion but Jesus was totally for people having a personal relationship with the Lord.
Bartimaeus wasn’t always a beggar. In fact we learn from his name tells us that he was once a respected citizen of Jericho. Bar means son. Timaeus means the honored one. Bartimaeus was the son of a revered man. He was someone who had walked with distinction with in the social circles of Jericho with his honored Fathered. It is very likely that he was always welcome at the church, that people saw him as a very important part of society.
On this day there was no father. The reason for this could have been accomplished simply because of pressure from the religious community. In Jesus day if a member of your family ended up being blind or having leprosy or some other disease the religious community believed and taught that what the children had was a result of either the parents or the child sinning.
John 9:1-2. Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?
The thing is that if the religious leaders felt that the child was the one that sinned they would cast that child out of the church and they would put tremendous pressure on the parents that if they wanted to stay in good grace with the church that they had better cast that child away from them. In other words the church black listed you or your family. We need to understand that in Jesus day the church held unbelievable power. I have often wondered which one would be the worse; to have your sight and then loose it or to be born blind. For Bartimaeus there was a time when he could walk the streets without bumping into people or wall; there was a time when he could go shopping, a time when he could fix his own meal. There was a time when he would be welcome at the synagogue, a time when he could read the Torah. There was a time when he could sit and watch the children playing and there was a time when he could see the difference between day and night. There was a time for Bartimaeus when life was very good. His whole life changed when he became blind. Now he is one of the untouchable, one of the outcast and it is very likely that he doesn’t understand why. We could say that Bartimaeus has been completely dehumanized, because he isn’t considered a part of the society because he is blind. Like the litter the collect in the gutter Bartimaeus sit day in and day out on the side of the road. His only companions are those people who like him have been cast aside. They sit there but no one see them, in fact most of the people just walk on by. Mark has given us a picture of the people who have been thrown away by society. The church which should care is the instrument that is used to put these people in the situation that they are in. Each one of these people are crying out for a touch, a kind word but the world is passing them by. Mark wants you and I to see the Bartimaeus that we are passing by as we are on our way to work or to a restaurant or to just have a chat with someone. We are passing by people and sometime we are rubbing shoulders with people who are blind. Mark points out this beggar so that we can open our eyes and see the people who are around us. One doesn’t have to be blind to not see people. Did you know that you can be standing in a room filled with people and be completely invisible to everyone in the room. There have been times in my life when I have been in that kind of a situation and I know that there have been times in your lives when you have felt the same think. Beloved we can get so caught up in our own little world that we fail to notice the people the Lord has put there for us to touch and for them to touch us.