Sermons

Summary: IT'S TIME TO TRADE IN THE CLOAK OF BLINDNESS FOR THE BEAUTIFUL ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. YOU CAN FIND IT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.

THROW YOUR CLOAK ASIDE

MARK 10: 46-52

SOMETIMES THE MOST INSIGNIFICANT OF DETAILS, CAN BE PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT TO THE CONTEXT OF THE STORY. WE MAY QUESTION WHY THE WRITER INCLUDED THEM, ONLY TO FIND OUT LATER THAT THESE DETAILS ARE OF VITAL IMPORTANCE. SUCH IS THE CASE FOR BARTIMAEUS TODAY.

THE ACCOUNT OF BARTIMAEUS INTRODUCES US TO OUR SINFUL CONDITION, HE WHO CAN BRING SALVATION TO US, THE CHANGE THAT OCCURS WHEN SALVATION HAPPENS, AND HOW WE AS A CHURCH SHOULD REACH OUT TO THE UNSAVED WORLD AROUND US.

BIBLICAL CONTEXT:

THIS IS JESUS’ FINAL TRIP TO JERUSALEM, TO CELEBRATE PASSOVER. IT WAS ABOUT A WEEK BEFORE HIS DEATH, AND THIS TIME THE PASCHAL LAMB THAT WAS TO BE SCARIFICED FOR THE SIN OF ALL HUMANKIND WOULD BE THE LORD HIMSELF. THIS PASSOVER WOULD OPEN THE DOOR TO THE USHERING IN OF THE NEW AGE OF SALVATION BY SPIRITUAL REBIRTH.

JESUS WAS AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS POPULARITY, TEACHING GREAT CROWDS, AND HIS DISCIPLES. THE DISCIPLES SENSED AN URGENCY FROM JESUS ON THIS JOURNEY, THOUGH THEY COULD NOT IDENTIFY IT. WE KNOW IT WAS THE CROSS, BUT HIS CLOSEST FOLLOWERS COULD NOT FULLY COMPREHEND THIS.

LEAVING JERICHO ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM, HE PASSES A MAN REDUCED TO BEGGING BECAUSE OF BLINDNESS. HOW AND WHY HE BECAME BLIND WE DO NOT KNOW.

HIS NAME WE DO NOT KNOW. BARTIMAEUS WAS NOT THIS MAN’S NAME. IN HEBREW “BAR” MEANS “SON OF”, AND “TIMAEUS” MEANS “HONORABLE MAN”, SO WHAT WE ARE TOLD ABOUT THIS BLIND PERSON IS THAT HE IS THE SON OF AN HONORABLE MAN. MARK MAY HAVE USED THIS NAME TO CONTRAST JESUS BEING CALLED “SON OF DAVID” BUT WE CANNOT BE CERTAIN OF THIS.

WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT TO BE BLIND IN THOSE DAYS MEANT THAT YOU COULD NOT WORK, NOR GO ANYWHERE BY YOURSELF. THEY HAD NO HELP FROM SOCIAL AGENCIES, IN FACT THE OPPOSITE WAS THE CASE. IN JEWISH CIRCLES, BLINDNESS WAS A SIGN OF DISFAVOR FROM GOD.

JOHN 9:1-2:

AS HE WENT ALONG, HE SAW A MAN BLIND FROM BIRTH. 2 HIS DISCIPLES ASKED HIM, “RABBI, WHO SINNED, THIS MAN OR HIS PARENTS, THAT HE WAS BORN BLIND?”

NOW I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE BLIND MAN SPOKEN OF HERE IN JOHN IS NOT THE SAME MAN MARK IS SPEAKING OF. THE CROSS-REFERENCES TO THE MARK PASSAGE MAKE NO MENTION OF THIS ONE IN JOHN. THE COMPLICATING FACTOR IN THIS IS THAT NUMEROUS TIMES JESUS HEALED THE SAME AFFLICTION EFFECTING DIFFERENT PEOPLE, MAKING MATTERS DIFFICULT.

WHAT THIS PASSAGE TELLS US IS THAT THE MAN’S BLINDNESS WAS SEEN BY THE PEOPLE TO BE GOD’S JUDGMENT AS A RESULT OF SIN. IT WAS A COMMON OCCURANCE FOR FATHERS TO PUT OUT FAMILY MEMBERS FOR BLINDNESS, AS THEY DID NOT WANT GOD’S DISFAVOR ON THEM.

JESUS WAS PASSING ON THE ROAD FROM JERICHO TO JERUSALEM. HE WAS QUITE POPULAR NOW AND GREAT CROWDS WOULD COME TO SEE HIM. THE BLIND MAN’S FRIENDS BROUGHT HIM TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HE COULD GET A FEW EXTRA PENNIES BEGGING THERE. HE HOWEVER HAD OTHER PLANS.

ANALYZING THE TEXT:

THIS PASSAGE IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THE HEALING OF A BLIND PERSON. IT REPRESENTS OUR SPIRITUAL WALK, BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER SALVATION. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR SOMETHING AND NOT BE ABLE TO SEE IT, WHEN IT WAS IN PLAIN SIGHT ALL THE TIME. I REMEMBER LOOKING FOR MY GLASSES, MUST HAVE BEEN HALF AN HOUR, BEFORE I REALIZED I WAS WEARING THEM.

THIS PASSAGE REMINDS US THAT THOUGH WE MAY PHYSICALLY BE ABLE TO SEE, WE MAY HAVE NO SPIRITUAL SIGHT AT ALL.

BARTIMAEUS CAME TO THAT ROAD THAT DAY WITH A PURPOSE. HE HAD HEARD THE TALK OF THE MIRACLES AND TEACHING JESUS HAD DONE. HE HAD HEARD OF JESUS’ COMPASSION AND KINDNESS, AND DARED TO HOPE THAT JESUS MIGHT SIT DOWN AND TALK WITH HIM, PERHAPS EVEN HEAL HIM. HE MAY HAVE REMEMBERED THE WORDS OF ISAIAH

ISAIAH 42:6-7:

6 “I, THE LORD, HAVE CALLED YOU IN RIGHTEOUSNESS; I WILL TAKE HOLD OF YOUR HAND. I WILL KEEP YOU AND WILL MAKE YOU TO BE COVENANT FOR THE PEOPLE AND A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, 7 TO OPEN EYES THAT ARE BLIND, TO FREE CAPTIVES FROM PRISON AND TO RELEASE FROM THE DUNGEON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS.

BARTIMAEUS WAS: POOR

BLIND

POWERLESS

AN OUTCAST

A MAN WITH NO HOPE

NOW I ASK YOU, IS THAT NOT THE STATE OF THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW CHRIST. THE BIBLE STATES CLEARLY IN EPHESIANS THAT WE ARE DEAD IN OUR SIN.

EPHESIANS 2:1-3:

AS FOR YOU, YOU WERE DEAD IN YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS AND SINS, 2 IN WHICH YOU USED TO LIVE WHEN YOU FOLLOWED THE WAYS OF THIS WORLD AND OF THE RULER OF THE KINGDOM OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT WHO IS NOW AT WORK IN THOSE WHO ARE DISOBEDIENT. 3 ALL OF US ALSO LIVED AMONG THEM AT ONE TIME, GRATIFYING THE CRAVINGS OF OUR FLESH M AND FOLLOWING ITS DESIRES AND THOUGHTS. LIKE THE REST, WE WERE BY NATURE DESERVING OF WRATH

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