Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What would you be willing to ask of Jesus?

Mark 10:46-52 NLT   
  46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him.  blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
  48  “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
  49  When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” 50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. 
  51  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” 
  52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

In our world we see the prominent, the demonstrative, the flagrant, the famous, and the rich. There is a saying among desperately poor people in North America where they refer to themselves as 'the invisible ones.' They tell of people passing them by, diverting their eyes so as not to have to be personally confronted with their obvious need. "Blind Bart" was just that sort of person. He had probably sat at that spot on this busy traffic way into and out of Jericho begging for alms for years, trying to eek out enough resources to buy food so he could live one more day. Bart got up, somehow made his way to his spot on the Jericho Road and waited for people with much to share a tiny bit so he, too, could live. It was in their culture to care for the needy but the Jews had long since largely ignored much of that part of their culture and Biblical heritage.

This day came as Jesus was passing by out of town. "Blind Bart", doubtlessly, noticed the crowd passing by was larger than normal and many were buzzing about "Jesus." Bart had heard about Jesus-- the one who had healed another blind man, cleansed a leper, raised a dead girl, healed a lame man, walked on water, generated enough food-- on two occasions-- from just a small amount into sufficient quantities that fed thousands on the spot. Decades of sitting by the road, begging and hoping for someone to be generous had broken his heart but not his hope. Suddenly, he began to call out to Jesus. No longer was he calling out to the non-personal passers by doing their best not to notice him. Now he was calling on the name of the Son of God, the Lord of the Universe. I'm sure Bart didn't fully understand all that, but something inside him led him to realize that it was now or never for newness to come into his life.

Those walking behind Jesus became embarrassed that this blind nothing-nobody of a person should distract this so very important person on his way to do meaningfully great things, so they thought. Bart called out Jesus Name. He must have thought back to a name he had learned in his childhood for the coming Messiah-- 'Son of David.' Louder, he cried out "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon me!"  Over and over, he called. First one, then two then, perhaps dozens of those passing by shushed him--- telling him to be quiet. It was clear to them that this man was not worthy the attention of the great miracle worker from Nazareth. They had dismissed Bart, but Jesus, the Lord and Savior did not.

How willing are you to call upon the name of Jesus, even over the objections and commands to stay quiet by those around you. We have a world in North America, now that insists Christians become invisible and silent in their Faith. They threaten us with charges of 'hate crimes' for calling out to a world gone mad and going to Hell, that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to God's eternal presence. For the most part we have capitulated to this world and shrunk back into our corners beside the road, instead of calling out loudly upon the name of the Savior. Bart, however, would not be silent. He called repeatedly and then, when Jesus was sure that all the crowd had heard him call, He spoke. No doubt Jesus heard him, perhaps even noticed him at first glance. No doubt Jesus had instantaneous compassion upon Bart. But Jesus wanted the rest of people around to Notice Bart as well. So, at the proper moment, Jesus spoke to invite Bart. When someone told him about this, the scripture says that Bart 'jumped up and came to Jesus.' It is a pretty awkward thing for a blind person to do-- to jump up-- but he wasted no time. And then the question.

Jesus asked Bart this water-shed of life's questions, "What do you want me to do for you."  Jesus asks you and I that question as well. What DO you want the Lord of the universe to do for you. He doesn't really have to do anything for you but he came willing to do it. What will you ask Him? Bart didn't hesitate but replied "I want to see."  Bart's statement revealed a complete and unreasonable non-human level of trust in this One whom Bart had never before  known. It revealed an absolute blind faith that this man was the Son of God and the only one in the universe who could make a blind man to see. It was the most outrageous and unreasonable thing anyone could ask. I'm sure many in the crowd raised eyebrows, perhaps even snickered a bit. That was, until the blind man began describing the things he could suddenly see. As the party passed on down Jericho Road, now there was a new follower-- this one absolutely convinced that Jesus was God With us. Bart was, perhaps one of the most convinced believers on the Jericho Road that day.  So what are you willing to ask Jesus for that will allow Him to change your live and through you change the world?

Your servant in Christ's love

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