Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)

Hello All,
Love is blind.
That quote was coined and used by William Shakespeare in many of his plays.
Many would either agree or disagree with that phrase.
Regardless of your opinions on that quote, allow me to introduce another one to you.
Sin is blind.
Since the first man and woman of creation, Adam and Eve, rejected God’s loving rule by eating of the forbidden fruit, sin has blinded the eyes of humanity from knowing God.
Therefore, the punishment of sin is death and eternal judgment in hell which mankind are doomed for.
However, God did not surrender the whole human race to the fiery pits of hades but in his great love and mercy, he sent his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to take upon himself the punishment of our sins, which was rightfully ours to bear, so that those who put their trust in him will be saved.
Today, we will be looking at an encounter that a blind man named Bartimaeus had with Jesus.  This poem was inspired by a sermon delivered by Kenneth Lo, the pastor of my congregation.

Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (10th September 2013)
Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho
As they were leaving, Bartimaeus came to know
Of Jesus passing by the road of the city
Where he begged for alms for he was blind and needy

Summoning up his courage, the blind beggar
Stood up immediately and began to holler
‘Jesus, Son of David, please have mercy on me!’
And many rebuked him for crying out loudly

However he cried out all the more desperately
‘Jesus, Son of David, please have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped in his tracks, turned around and uttered
‘Call him to come,’ the blind beggar’s cry was answered

The crowd said ‘Take heart. Get up; he is calling you’
The blind man’s answered cry seemed too good to be true
Throwing off his cloak, his only security
He sprang up and came to Jesus immediately

Jesus asked ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight,’ for he knew
That only Jesus could save him from his blindness
Only Jesus could give him strength in his weakness

Jesus said ‘Go your way for your faith has saved you’
Bartimaeus’ blind eyes were opened and renewed
Not only the physical but spiritual sight
Did he receive from Jesus, the world’s brightest Light

Like Bartimaeus, are you aware of your need?
For Christ the Saviour so that you could be freed
From spiritual blindness to sin which God resents?
Plead with God for mercy and from your sins repent

Points for Reflection:
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.
(Mark 10:46)
·         As we begin reading the narrative of the poor blind beggar, Bartimaeus, some initial thoughts that come to mind would be: ‘Oh what a poor blind man… he needs to be cured of his blindness so that he could make a living for himself’ or  ‘How needy this man is. Maybe I should remember to give some alms to the poor the next time I see one’ or ‘What a pitiful man… I am sure glad I am not in his shoes’.
·         Bartimaeus’ physical blindness and poverty is a picture of the spiritual blindness and poverty that plague the godless and sinful human race. To put it simply, we are all poor blind beggars. A rich man’s wealth will only benefit him when he is alive. But when death overtakes him, his earthly wealth would do him no good for he will be cast into hell for his spiritual blindness and poverty.
·         What do you think are your greatest needs? Are those needs mainly physical, emotional or spiritual? Do you view yourself as a self-sufficient person with no need for God? When you look at a needy person, is your primary concern about his physical or spiritual needs?

And when he [Bartimaeus] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
(Mark 10:47)
·         Bartimaeus was blind but he knew that he needed the mercy of Jesus, the long awaited and prophesied Messiah from the line of King David. He acknowledged his sinfulness and needs before Jesus as he cried out for mercy.
·         Are you aware of your desperate need for Jesus? What are the hindrances that restrain you from crying out: ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’?

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
(Mark 10:48-49)
·         Many rebuked the poor blind beggar for his unbearably loud cry for help. To them, he was just a lowly scum of society whom Jesus need not care about.
·         Do you tend to judge the types of people who deserve God’s attention and mercy?
·         But Jesus did not judge the way that the crowd did. Bartimaeus was not just another insignificant blind beggar to him. He stopped and called the poor man to come.
·         Has Jesus been calling you to come to him for mercy?

And throwing off his [Bartimaeus’] cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
(Mark 10:50)
·         At first glance, the act of Bartimaeus throwing off his cloak would seem to indicate a mere gesture of excitement.
·         The cloak was actually the only piece of property he owned that kept him warm and gave him some security. It was his only possession.
·         But when Jesus called him, he threw off his precious cloak to come to the Lord. Jesus’ call meant more to him than the security of his possession.
·         What are your possessions that give you security? Is Jesus more important than those possessions?

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”
(Mark 10:51)
·         The answer to Jesus’ question might seem very obvious so we might be wondering why he would bother to ask such a redundant question.
·         But Jesus asked that question to give the blind man the opportunity to express his trust in him and voice out his deepest need.
·         Would you now take this opportunity that Jesus is giving you to make known to him your deepest need and put your trust in him?

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
(Mark 10:52)
·         The English translation of this verse is: ‘your faith has made you well’ which would cause most people to narrow down Jesus’ healing to a physical one. But in the original language which the gospel of Luke was written in, it would be more accurate to rephrase it as: ‘your faith has saved you’.
·         Bartimaeus was not only given physical sight, but his spiritual eyes were open to his Saviour, Jesus Christ.
·         After Bartimaeus encounter with Jesus, he did not depart from Jesus but he followed him and became one of Jesus’ disciples (but not one of the twelve disciples in the inner circle).

·         Are you following Jesus? Are you submitting to him in every area of your life? Can you see Jesus clearly now?