Summary: Jesus gives us: 1. a new desire (vs. 46-47). 2. a new determination (vs. 48). 3. a new dimension (vs. 49-52a). 4. a new direction (vs. 52b).
The Divine Difference Jesus Can Make
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 22, 2017
*This week, I've been thinking about people who have made a difference in my life. My wife has made an infinite difference in my life. Anybody who knows Mary knows what a blessing she is. And Church: You have made a difference in both of our lives.
*This past week, one of our old friends from the 1970s passed away. His name was Jimmy Posey. And though I haven't seen him in 40 years, Jimmy made a giant difference in my life.
My co-teacher, Georgia Savoie had invited us to McClendon Baptist Church in West Monroe, and we started going. Georgia was the choir director, and she asked us to be in the young adult choir. Even though she knew I wasn't a Christian, she asked me to be in the choir.
*One weekend we went on a choir retreat, and that night around the fireplace people gave their Christian testimonies. Mary and I were the only people on the back row, because the pastor and his wife Georgia knew I didn't have a testimony.
*Jimmy Posey was one of the last people to speak, and he started to weep about his twin brother, Jerry, who was not saved at the time. Jimmy had the same passion our Katie had a few weeks ago, when she prayed for Papaw Breard to be saved. And as Jimmy was pouring his heart out, that's when the light went on for me.
*I remember thinking, "This is real! Jesus is real! The Bible is true. Jesus really does love me. He died on the cross for me." I realized that those people had something in their life that I did not have, and I wanted it. That night I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and God used Jimmy Posey to help turn on the light.
*Many wonderful people have made great differences in our lives, but standing over and above them all is Jesus Himself! Let's look into God's Word, and see how Jesus makes a divine difference in our lives.
1. First: He gives us a new desire.
*Jesus gives us a new desire. That's what happened to blind Bartimaeus in vs. 46-47:
46. Then they came to Jericho. And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.
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!''
 Blind Bartimaeus was in a terrible situation.
*Simon Rundell explained that "today, people with serious vision problems can live full, happy and productive lives. But back then, it was very different: No sight, no work, no work, no food, a very direct relationship. So Bartimaeus sat by the roadside hoping that someone would pity him and would fill his bowl with food, or maybe give him a few coins to purchase the things everyone needs.
*Because he was blind, Bartimaeus was less than human to many people. He was an object to be pitied, or cursed, or ignored. He was desperately trapped by the Jericho Road, as the world passed him by." (1)
*The world had little or nothing to offer Bartimaeus. And in our health and comfort, in our freedom and affluence, it can be hard for us to relate to Bartimaeus. But surely we know about troubles, too.
*Some of us may feel the way Bartimaeus felt that day. Sometimes we may feel like the world is passing us by. We can feel left out by life, trapped by our jobs or our relationships. We can feel trapped by problems or habits, unable to break free, unable to change things. And it may be hard for you to see this truth right now, but in the long-run, this world can't offer us any more than it offered Bartimaeus.
 But the best thing that can ever happen to us happened to Bartimaeus that day.
*He realized that Jesus was near! And Bartimaeus didn't know anything about the cross, but he believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior! Bartimaeus had heard of the wonderful things Jesus had done, and he believed that Jesus could help him like nobody else could.
*Before, Bartimaeus was begging for money or a little food. Now, he was begging for the Messiah, and for mercy. Now, he was begging for Jesus! In vs. 47, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!''
*God gave Bartimaeus a new desire. And when you have a real encounter with Jesus Christ, it will change your life. He will change your life.