Sermon Date: October 24, 2021
By Pastor Elaine Boone
Mark likes to use the word “immediately”....the author of the Gospel uses it like a plot device to show action and to have readers sit up and listen.
Today’s section of Mark’s Gospel uses “immediately” and the story of Blind Bartimaeus has another plot device or twist - it is a healing story with a twist. In the other healing stories the healed go away. In this story Bartimaeus joins Jesus’ followers and heads to Jerusalem with them.
The encounter with Bartimaeus is by chance. Bartimaeus was not the destination and Bartimaeus was not looking for Jesus. He is loud and obnoxious in his call out to Jesus. He is desperate.
Bartimaeus is different - the story of his healing is different.
Bartimaeus is the first person to call Jesus the Son of David. He is making a politically dangerous claim - Jesus is the rightful king.
Is this why the crowd tried to silence him? To shut him up? To keep him from Jesus?
Or maybe it was because he was blind. Or maybe because he was a beggar.
How troubling it seems that this blind man was being kept from coming to Jesus. Those around Jesus often made it difficult to approach him!
Bartimaeus refuses to be defined by his circumstances or by the expectations of others.
But Baritmaeus will have none of that - Bartimaeus will not be silenced, instead he gets louder.
Baritmaeus is bold and brave. Can we be like him? Can we call out boldly and bravely for what we want?
Or are we too concerned with the “other” voices - the ones that want to silence us? The ones who try to keep us away from what we seek?
Bartimaeus would not stop - would not be silenced. And he was heard.
Bartimaeus was heard. Jesus told the crowd who had been trying to hush him up to bring him forward. And so the crowd changes to support him and bring him to Jesus.
And Jesus asks the most important question. What do you want me to do for you?
This is the same question that Jesus asked James and John. And the answer is so very different. Bartimaeus recognized Jesus and rather than requesting power and glory he asks for hope and healing.
And Jesus heals him. And Bartimaeus throws off his cloak - a symbol of his old life. Bartimaeus’ faith has made him well. He becomes a model of discipleship, a person of faith. And he will follow Jesus all the way to the cross.
This passage from Mark brings together faith, wholeness and discipleship. Hear and respond to words of mercy. Go, your faith has made you well. Go, your faith has healed you. Go, your faith has made you whole.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus “What do you want me to do for you?’
I want to leave you with that question. What would you say if Jesus asked you - what do you want me to do for you?
PERIOD OF SILENCE
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