Sermon Summary from July 30, 2017
Mark 10:46–52 (NIV) • Tim Tseng
The first 10 chapters of Mark focused on Jesus’ ministry around the Sea of Galilee. Jesus also traveled further north to minister to Greek Gentiles. But in 10:32, Jesus announces that he is heading towards Jerusalem. As “Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city” of Jericho (v. 46), Bartimaeus, a blind man began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Even though the crowd wanted him to be quiet, he shouted out again. And Jesus healed himn. So what can we learn from this rich passage?
First, let’s be clear. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus commended outsiders for their faith (Mark 2:5; 5:34; 7:29; 10:52). In fact, he expresses disappointment in his disciples for their lack of faith (Mark 4:40; 6:6). Perhaps we learn from Mark that real faith is demonstrated by those who are outside the church who come to Jesus acknowledging their need. Perhaps those who appear to be closest to Jesus can no longer see their own need for Him? Maybe Mark is teaching us that real faith is not blind faith (i.e., it doesn’t come by uncritically accepting what we received, it doesn’t come through our parents or friendships). Real faith heals our blindness.
In any case, Bartimaeus’ healing shows us four steps across the bridge of faith.
1. Real faith confesses blindness.
Because Bartimaeus was literally blind, he had no choice but to accept his blindness. But the bible doesn’t always talk about literal blindness. It reveals our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual blind spots, too. Too many people, including Christians, believe and act upon myths (2 Tim 4:3-5). One result today is the echo-chamber effect in political discourse. Unfortunately conservative and progressive Christians both fall prey to the myths of American politics.
There are other forms of blindness Blindness to the gospel – 2 Cor. 4:4; Blindness because of misplaced zeal – Acts 9:8; Blindness to own sin and failures – Matthew 7:3.
Real faith confesses our blindness and trusts in God, who wants to heal us of our blindness. (Isaiah 42:16; Psalm 146:7-9)
2. Real faith cries out to Jesus
Bartimaeus boldly cried out to Jesus, despite those who tried to silence him. He was unafraid to draw attention to his need in front of the whole world – and to draw attention to Jesus as the one who can heal him. Let us also boldly cry out to Jesus!
3. Real faith casts aside what hinders
In verse 50, Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak and presented himself, naked, perhaps before Jesus. Perhaps casting off our “cloaks” is our most difficult step because we must cast aside what we depend on for protection and anomynity – appear before Jesus naked.
4. Real faith follows Jesus to the cross
Bartimaeus chose to follow Jesus to Jerusalem after he was healed (v. 52). He did not return to Jerusalem. He did not attempt to rebuild his life. Rather, he simply followed Jesus and trusted what may come.
May we seek to embody the kind of faith that Jesus commends! Let us take these four steps daily and encourage those we disciple to do likewise! Amen!