Summary: An advent sermon on the core values of our faith and the dangers of materialism.
WHAT DO YOU WANT? AN INTRODUCTORY SERMON FOR ADVENT
Big Idea: Advent Conspiracy helps us live the core values of our faith in a time when everything around us screams to abandon them for superficial alternatives.
• Reading from the Old Testament: Micah 6:1-8
• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 18:1-6, 16-19
• Reading from the Epistles: Philippians 4:10-19
• Reading from the Gospels: Mark 10:46-52
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Illumine your Scriptures by your Holy Spirit, O God.
Let your good news radiate from this story;
Let your grace break into our hearts and minds.
Captivate all who hear the tale of Bartimaeus,
That we might believe and obey.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
It’s that time of year once again when we are posed with an extremely revealing question: "What do you want?" Our kids have insisted that Vickie and I make Christmas lists. The question they asked: “What do you want?” Many others have made their lists and checked them twice as the Christmas holiday quickly approaches, and today it is only 31 short days away. And from now until almost immediately before Christmas arrives, we will most likely be asked and asking "What do you want?" numerous times.
When one is a child, this question is full of opportunity, and most of us probably learned rather quickly how to capitalize on such a question. We learn that some requests - maybe for the latest and greatest expensive holiday toy, a pony, or even a Red-Ryder bee-bee gun like Ralphie - will almost always go unanswered. But there are other requests that would be rather strange to be left unanswered.
• Who could turn down the request of a child for a family game or any item that would increase their learning or skills?
• I can almost guarantee that any child who asks for socks will not be disappointed on Christmas morning.
All of this, however, is dependent on their response to the question "What do you want?"
As accustomed as we are to hearing this question at this time of year, it sounds like such a strange question on the lips of Jesus. He’s talking to a blind man after all - why ask what the blind man wants? But it is in this question posed to Bartimaeus that we hope to hear from God today.
Before we jump into the story of Bartimaeus, we would to do well to look at the setting that Mark has so intricately prepared for us. What many of us fail to see in this text is that Jesus asked this very same question of two disciples just a few verses earlier. The brothers James and John come to Jesus. Listen to this story:
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,
40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.