Summary: If you want to get better, you must recognize your blindness, respond with belief, react with boldness and receive your blessing.
How Badly Do You Want to Get Better?
Rev. Brian Bill
April 1-2, 2017
There was a guy in my previous church who would close his eyes at the start of every sermon and keep them closed until the end. When I first noticed him doing this, I became unsettled and insecure. No matter what I did, his eyelids remained closed. One day, after a service, he came up to me and said, “Nice sermon, pastor.” I was just about to ask him how he had enjoyed his nap when he made a comment on something I had said in the middle of the message. He must have noticed the disbelief on my face so he then said: “I close my eyes during the sermon because it helps me concentrate.” I remained skeptical because he did this for the 13 years I was there! But I guess he could have been telling the truth…some of the time.
I’d like to invite you to do the same right now. I know its risky because for some of you this is an open invitation to catch up on your sleep! Please close your eyes and put your hands over them as well. Imagine that you are completely blind. We’re going to hear three different sounds and I’d like you to identify each one without opening your eyes.
• Sounds of nature
• Sounds of babies laughing
• Sounds of a crowd walking by
Our focus today is on a man who was born blind. Because he couldn’t see, all of his other senses were heightened. One day, as he was sitting by the side of the road, he heard a loud crowd passing by.
Please turn or click to Mark 10:46-52 as I read: And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
Last weekend we learned how to improve our serve by monitoring our motives, preparing for problems, elevating others and by embracing the example of Jesus. As Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem, He is headed out of Jericho when He encounters a blind man named Bartimeus. Bart goes through four different stages of spiritual growth that will help us go from blindness to belief to boldness to blessing.
1. Recognize your blindness. Look at verse 46: “And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.” Jericho is a well-known city in the Bible. In the Old Testament we read of the Israelites marching around its walls. There’s even a song that helps us remember – “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho…” Or as one young boy sang it, “Joshua fought the battle of Geritol…” We’ll all fight that battle sooner or later!
Since Jericho is about 800 feet below sea level, it has a tropical climate. The town is known as an oasis because of its fresh water spring and was called, “the city of palm trees” and the “place of fragrance” because of all the roses and cypress trees. How cool that the “Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley” shows up in this city! It was in Jericho that the pilgrims gathered to make the final leg of the journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual Passover feast. It was the last “rest stop” on the way to the capital.
It’s at this point we’re introduced to a man named “Bartimaeus.” The prefix “Bar” means, son so we know that he is the son of Timaeus. His name in Aramaic means, “defiled and unclean.” In Greek, it means, “honor.” Bart is the son of defilement and dignity. That reminds me that we all have great worth and we are unworthy. Everyone matters to God and everyone is messed up. Friend, don’t ever think you are worthless because you are made in the image of God. But you are unworthy because of your sinfulness.