Friday, January 1, 2010

The responses of blind Bartimaeus and the grace of God..How a blind man’s encounter w/ Jesus 2,000 years ago became mine..

Response 1 (technically 2).. this originally was going to be all of them, but got really long so I made it 1 a week or so..
“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind.”Luke 4:18
Have you read it? Mark 10:46-52, it’s awesome. I’ll say a lot about it, but you should go see what God says about it. This all begins with morning 1 of Christmas break. My mom has this legit leather chair in the corner of our living room and I had parked myself there for the morning and read. Going into break I tried to avoid what I have commonly done in the past and bring with me a seminary library. Mostly because it’s always been cool to come back from break with a few more C.S. Lewis and Piper quotes under my belt. I did ok this break, I think. I brought a few and a commentary that was proving helpful as I journeyed through the first century Middle East w/ the King of Glory (I will have a few points from it intermingled in this). The six verses grabbed me and raddled my cage. As I finished reading I prayed that I would respond as Bartimaeus would. Here’s how He and he did.
In the gospel, we meet Bartimaeus , a blind beggar, on the side of the road as Jesus and His disciples are going from Jericho to Jerusalem. The commentary I am reading kindly explained that this was a strategic place to get his beg on. Merchants and the prosperous as well as the poor would be on their way to Jerusalem to worship and would use this road. Along the way they may be inclined to give him change. It says that he heard it was Jesus of Nazareth and, “he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
1.His first response is to Jesus. He cries for mercy. Before he gets to saying anything else, he wastes zero time and the first words out of his mouth are for mercy. My prayer was that over break this would be my response to the Son of God. For the mercy that I need.

“Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin?” Proverbs 20: 9.
Blah, I wish I hated sin more. There are particular ones in my life that I am more than aware of the need of cutting myself off of. Over break the Lord did a big work to show me how casual I am about the sin that is in my life. As came up in a convo w/ a good friend of mine,
“If we treat our sin as casual we must treat the cross as casual.” There is nothing less biblical than a casual cross.
Through the rest of break my eyes and heart were directed to scripture that expressed the reality of believing that I am no longer enslaved to sin;“For the death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:10-11. And the necessity of bringing it to light, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship w/ one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
I was starting to see that I failed to respond to Jesus by crying for mercy because I felt I had no need for it.


There is a certain type of callus that forms over the heart when there is no need for mercy. The kind that turns your heart cold, hard, and impenitent (unrepentant) and when that happens of course there is no need to cry for mercy from the One who embodies it. Nothing will destroy you faster.

The account in Mark continues w/ a crowd of people trying to hush Bartimaeus, “And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, Son of David have mercy on me!”v48 This struck me deeply. This blind beggar, was crying over the hush of crowd for mercy. In the face of serious adversity to cry to Christ from others that this man probably felt lower than and had been treated w/ contempt from, he pushed aside the scorn of these people to continue his plea.

And I was barely putting up a fight.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6.
This is a life and death situation. My friend asked me during our conversation, “What are you willing to do? What are you willing to give up in order to bring these things to light? To Christ?” John Piper calls it a “wartime lifestyle”. This was one of the many things that I sought to grip again as reality. Until this life and death reality sets in, our hearts will remain hard and our lips silent and the hush that we hear around us is all we hear.

This is one of the many things the Lord has begun in my heart and continues to as I hope to do as Bartimaeus. I pray this will be true for many of us that have grown silent. Growing in my understanding and thankfulness for the mercy shown me on the Cross and that it’s all I can do to cry out for it knowing that w/out it I would still be in the dark w/ my sin. I pray this would happen for more of us. That we would see that Jesus is “the true light which enlightens everyone..” John 1:9 and exposes us for what we really are.. “and this is the verdict: the light has come into the world (Christ), and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who doe wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light..”John 3:19-21.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love..”Psalm 51:1a
That we would never cease in knowing Jesus. To know that His gospel is and cross is love (1 John 4:10) and pleading for mercy and bringing our sins to the light of Christ and the body of Christ.