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Time For A Change

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Series: Meet The Savior Who Was A Servant

Sermon: Time For A Change

Mark 10:46-52

Pastor Ricky Powell

March 14, 2010


An old man from the mountains took a trip to the big city. For the first time in his life he found himself standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on and the doors closed behind her. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. Amazed, but realizing the possibilities, the old man turned to his son and said, “Boy, go home and get your mamma so I can run her through that thing.”

Don’t you wish change was that easy? And it is not others that we want to change. We look within ourselves and see many things about ourselves that need to change. We struggle with our addictions, our anger, our fears, our frustrations, our habits, our gambling, our drugs, our attitudes, our relationships, our language, our lusts, our pornography, our secret sins… The list goes on and on. And often we say we want to change. We may even try to change ourselves. We say things like, “I am going to turn over a new leaf. I am going to try harder. I am going to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I am going to get my life out of the ditch. Things will be different this time. You wait and see.” But ultimately our best-intentioned attempts at change are fleeting and unsuccessful. We find ourselves right back in the ditch of sin where we started.

This is where I have good news for you. God’s Spirit has spoken to your heart and convicted you about your need for a change. He has impressed upon your heart that your life cannot continue as it is without a radical change. He has convicted you about all those ugly things in your life that bring pain into your life and into the lives of those you love. He has even allowed you to fail at all your attempts to change your life on your own because He wants you to realize that He is the only one who can truly change you.

In Mark 10 we meet a man named Bartimaeus. He was a blind man who sat on the side of the road in Jericho, begging for the meager and chance charity of passers-by. He had long since given up hope on being able to change himself. But that is when something wonderful happened! Jesus came to Bartimaeus’ town. Blind Bartimaeus knew it was time for a change and he knew Jesus was the only one who could make it happen. Bartimaeus didn’t miss his chance for change.

Jesus came to Jericho, Bartimaeus’ community, and today He comes to Jacksonville, your community. Jesus came to Bartimaeus and He comes to you. He changed Bartimaeus’ life and He wants to change your life. Don’t miss your chance to have your life radically changed today! Follow the example of Bartimaeus and trust Jesus Christ to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior and He will transform your life. Do what Bartimaeus did.

1.Desire Change.

Bartimaeus wanted to see. He had never seen the sunrise with His own eyes. He had never seen the beautiful rose gardens for which Jericho was famous. He had never seen the sweet innocent face of an infant. He had never seen the roiling flow of a river. He had never seen the stars of night. He had never gazed upon the faces of his own loved ones. Bartimaeus lived in a blackened world devoid of color and beauty. No wonder when Jesus asked him what he wanted he replied, “I want to see” (Mark 10:51).

There is blindness far worse than physical blindness. It is spiritual blindness. You may have 20/20 eyesight and still be spiritually blind. Helen Keller was once asked, “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?” She replied, “Better to be blind and see with your heart than to have two good eyes and see nothing.” The Bible speaks of those who are spiritually blind when it says there are people, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Spiritual blindness prevents one from seeing how serious sin is. It blinds you to the brevity of life. It blinds you to the fact that it is appointed for man to die once and afterwards stand before God in judgment. It blinds one to the reality of Hell. Spiritual blindness prevents one from seeing the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can save from sin’s penalty. Bartimaeus has a blindness rooted in a physical defect. Spiritual blindness is rooted in the work of the Devil who does not want you to see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. The Devil wants you to believe that Jesus is just another man. A good man, perhaps even the best man who ever lived, but a man nonetheless. The Devil has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe Jesus is God’s Son.

Bartimaeus was blind, but he did not want to stay that way. He desired a change in his life. I have discovered that not everyone wants to change. There are people who enjoy their misery. Like Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, they like living in the garbage can of sin and misery. Like a pig who wallows in the slop, some people continue, year after year, wallowing in sin.

I have found that most people do not desire real change until they reach the bottom. No doubt there were others in the city that day who needed healing, but they had not come to a point of desperation where Jesus was their only hope. Bartimaeus had reached the point where he knew Jesus was his only hope. It is now or never! It is Jesus or no one!

Have you come to that point where Jesus is your only hope of ever being in a right relationship with God and of ever having purpose and peace in your life? Have you come to the place where you are tired of groping around for direction and happiness in life? Do you desire a different life? My prayer is that you will be like Bartimaeus and desire change. But don’t stop there. Do what Bartimaeus did.

2.Stop Procrastinating.

Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. Mark 10:46 (NKJV)

I love how R. Kent Hughes describes the scene in his commentary on Mark’s Gospel.

As he sat there, just like so many days before, he listened to the city come to life—first a donkey loaded with melons for market, after that several women chatting as they bore pitchers toward the well, then the clomp of camels’ hooves, and the aroma of fish borne along to market. Soon Jericho was humming, and the blind man was intoning his beggar’s cry.

Suddenly Bartimaeus tensed and lifted his head, for his blind sensitive ears heard the hubbub of a great crowd approaching. First came young boys running before the crowd with shrill cries, then more people hurrying past the gate talking excitedly. Bartimaeus, brushed by a robe, reached out and asked what was happening. The passerby, pulling his robe away, called back, “Jesus of Nazareth—the one who heals the lame and lepers and blind—the one some are saying is the Messiah—is passing by!” Everyone had been talking about this man’s exploits and words. Bartimaeus had perhaps even heard a first-person testimony from someone who had heard him and had seen his miracles. Bartimaeus had been doing a lot of thinking, and now he made up his mind. This must be the Messiah, and now he is coming. His heart began to pound, and he was trembling, though the warm sun was standing high. [R. Kent Hughes, Mark : Jesus, Servant and Savior, Preaching the Word (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1989).]

Bartimaeus could have been frozen in his place by the roadside, silenced and hopeless. He could have procrastinated. He could have thought to himself, “I am just a poor blind beggar. Why would Jesus pay any attention to me?’ I don’t know if he thought that, but we sometimes do. You believe that God is too busy or too holy to care about someone like you. Perhaps Bartimaeus thought that the crowd following Jesus was so large that he could never get Jesus’ attention. I don’t know if he thought that way or not, but we sometimes do. You think that God has the world and the universe to run and He has 6 billion people on planet earth to worry about. Why would He take notice of you? Why would He hear your prayers? Bartimaeus could have decided to wait for a better time to approach Jesus. “The crowds are large. Jesus is busy. He is only passing through. I will just wait for a better time. I will wait until Jesus comes back through town.” If Bartimaeus had procrastinated he would have missed his opportunity to be healed. Jesus would never again pass this way. He was going up to Jerusalem to die on the cross. Procrastination would have spelled doom for Bartimaeus.

We humans are professional procrastinators. We always have a reason why today is not a good day to do something. In his book, "Being the Best," Denis Waitley quotes an unknown poet who wrote:

I spent a fortune

On a trampoline,

A stationary bike

And a rowing machine

Complete with gadgets

To read my pulse,

And gadgets to prove

My progress results,

And others to show

The miles I’ve charted---

But they left off the gadget

To get me started!

  • I cannot start my diet today because we are going out for Supper with friends of Friday.
  • I cannot start exercising today because we are going on a cruise next month.
  • I cannot accept Jesus as my Savior today until I clean up my act.

Procrastination is the Devil’s tool to keep us from the only one who can truly change us and heal us and give us a new life. The Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

The time for change is when God has convicted us that we need to change! Today is time change Sunday. We all set our clocks forward. Well, today is time change Sunday for another reason. It is time for each of us to stop procrastinating and to do what we know is right. For some of you that means you need to come forward this morning at the end of the message and join this church. You need to become official members. Do not delay! For some of you that means you need to turn some area of your life over to Jesus so He can change you. He is able to heal your hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Give it to Him today. For others of you Time Change Sunday means you need stop procrastinating and you need to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. The time was not optimal for Bartimaeus; he was blind; there were too many people. But he did not delay. He knew Jesus was passing by at that very moment and he did not want to miss out on the power of God! Do like Bartimaeus. Stop procrastinating and cry out to Jesus! Today is the day of salvation!

3.Don’t worry about what people will say.

To be like Bartimaeus you must desire change, stop procrastinating, and you must not worry about what other people will say.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Mark 10:47-48 (NKJV)

Bartimaeus did not care what other people thought. He needed Jesus and he would not let the opinions or opposition to stand in his way. As he cried out to Jesus the people around him began to warn him to be quiet. The Greek word translated, “warn” means to rebuke with an implication of a threat. They were saying, “You better be quiet or else!” The Greek verb is in the imperfect tense which indicates a continuing action. They continued to rebuke him. The next verb is also an imperfect; he continued to shout, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Blind Bart did not care what people thought of him! He would not be shamed into silence. He would not be quieted with intimidation.

It is sad when people care more about what others think than what God thinks. In his book Teaching the Elephant to Dance, James Belasco describes how trainers shackle young elephants with heavy chains to deeply embedded stakes. In that way the elephant learns to stay in its place. Older, powerful elephants never try to leave—even though they have the strength to pull the stake and walk away. Their conditioning has limited their movements. With only a small metal bracelet around their foot attached to nothing, they stand in place. The stakes are actually gone!

Like powerful elephants, many people are bound by the shackles of peer pressure.

Yet when the circus tent catches on fire and the elephant sees the flames and smells the smoke, it forgets its old conditioning and runs for its life. [Adapted from Hans Finzel, Change Is Like a Slinky: 30 strategies for promoting and surviving change in your organization (Northfield, 2004); submitted by Marshall Shelley]

That is the point Bartimaeus had reached. Jesus was his only hope. Unlike people who turn away from Jesus at the first sign of opposition or difficulty, Bartimaeus’ faith compels him to persist in crying out to Jesus. How sad it is when people in our day care more about what other people may say than they do about getting to Jesus. You may fear that people may call you a fanatic or a Jesus freak, but so what if they do? They cannot change you, they cannot save you, and they cannot give you eternal life. I am going to ask you to do something today that will call for courage on your part. I am going to ask you to let Jesus change you by trusting Him as your Lord and Savior. At the end of this message I will call you to come forward and let one of our pastors help you to receive Jesus Christ and His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Unlike Bartimaeus, you will not be surrounded by jeering crowds who want to hold you back. You are with people today who will cheer you on and be thrilled that you are coming to Christ.

Do what Bartimaeus did. Desire change, stop procrastinating, don’t worry about what other people think, and…

4.Cry out to Jesus in faith.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Mark 10:47-48 (NKJV)

Bartimaeus had no eyesight, but he had keen insight. He knew who Jesus was. He called Him, “Jesus, Son of David.” James R. Edwards discusses the significance of this title in his commentary on Mark when he writes, “Ever since the promise of 2 Sam 7:11–14 that God would raise up an offspring to David and ‘establish the throne of his kingdom forever,’ pious Israelites had awaited a Davidic descendant as Messiah.” [James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, The Pillar New Testament commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002), 330.]

Bartimaeus had faith that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah who could bring healing and hope, not merely to the nation, but to his life personally. He was convinced that God was passing by and he was not going to miss the moment. He did not sit quietly thinking, “I wish the crowd was not so large. I think I will wait till another time to call on Jesus to heal me.” No! He knew Jesus was the only one who could help him. He had heard about Jesus’ power to heal and change others and he was convinced Jesus could do the same for him.

Jesus is also passing this way today. I beg you; do not miss this opportunity to encounter the one who can change your life. He can forgive you of your sin. He can make you right with a holy God. He can give you eternal life. Cry out to Him in faith. Trust Him to save you today. Trust Him to come into your life to make you the person He wants you to be.

No one can cry out to Jesus in faith for you. You must do it yourself. I would believe on Christ for you if I could. But you must be the one to call on Him!

Notice what happens when Jesus hears Bartimaeus’ cry of faith.

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Mark 10:49

Get the picture. Jesus is a man on a mission. He has set His face towards Jerusalem where He would die on the cross for the sins of the world. He has the weight of the world on His shoulders. Yet the cry of faith from the lips of a blind beggar stopped the Lord in His tracks! Jesus stood still!

I can assure you today that you will have Jesus’ undivided attention if you will only call out to Him today in faith. Faith stops Him in His tracks!

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, "Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you." Mark 10:49

That fickle crowd was just telling Bartimaeus to be quiet or else, now they act like they have his best interests at heart. “Oh Bart, be happy. Get up, Jesus is calling you. I told you to be patient. Here, let me help you up. Have I ever told you how much I like you?”

Sadly churches and Christians can be like the crowd in its initial reaction to Bartimaeus’ cries. “Shut up, sit down and be quiet. Don’t get in our way.” Churches can view the lost who need Jesus as obstacles to their activities. We see the lost as interruptions to our time with Jesus. We don’t really care about the lost if it means we are not the center of attention. We don’t really care about the lost if we have to be inconvenienced. We don’t care about the lost if we have to step aside from our plans to bring them to the Savior. We push the lost aside while we clamor around Jesus. We forget that the lost are the very reason Jesus came in the first place! Instead of pushing the lost aside we should be telling everyone we meet, “Be of good cheer! Get up! He calls you to turn from your sin and place your faith in Him!”

Look at how Bartimaeus responds when he hears Jesus is now calling for him. And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. Mark 10:50

He throws aside the cloak he had probably spread out before him to catch the coins tossed his way by passers-by. His once pitiful, pathetic activity has given way to a new purposeful activity!

So Jesus answered and said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight." Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight... Mark 10:51-52 (NKJV)

Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could heal him. He knew that Jesus had the power to change his life. Jesus treated Bartimaeus like a man, not an “it.” Many in the crowd had marginalized Bartimaeus, viewing him as an outsider, a mere obstacle in their way. But Jesus treated him with dignity. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus was not going to do something “to” Bartimaeus but “with” Bartimaeus. But Bartimaeus had to confess his need. The need was obvious. But Jesus wanted him to admit it and to ask for Jesus’ help. Jesus is a perfect gentleman. Your need for salvation is obvious, but He wants you to admit it. He is not going to force Himself into your life. The Bible says, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

Will you do that today? Will you pray and tell Jesus that you need Him to save you from the penalty your sin deserves? Will you ask Him to forgive you and to come into your life as your turn to Him in repentance and faith? Just as Jesus answered Bartimaeus’ prayer He will answer yours.

Desire change, stop procrastinating, don’t worry about what people will say, and cry out to Jesus in faith and He will save you. That is what He did for Bart. How does the story end? What did Bart do now that he had his eyesight?

Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. Mark 10:52 (NKJV)

5.Follow Jesus from now on.

We first met Bartimaeus sitting by the roadside, blind and begging. The last time we see him he is a disciple of the Lord on the road, even the road that leads to the cross. That is what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a disciple is not getting what you want from Jesus so you can later abandon Him and His church and go your own way. Discipleship is about following Jesus for the rest of your life. I love the lyrics to the praise song we sing on occasion:

Lord, I give You my heart

I give You my soul

I live for You alone

Every Breath I take

Every moment I'm awake

Lord, have Your way in me


It is time change Sunday. We all need to make some changes. Will you call out to Jesus today and say, “Lord, change my attitude. Change my temper. Lord have mercy on me. Lord I need your power to change my life.”

Some of you need to call out on Him and ask Him to save you from the penalty of sin that you deserve. Ask Him to show you mercy and forgiveness. Desire change, stop procrastinating, don’t worry about what people will say, and cry out to Jesus in faith and He will save you. Then follow Him from now on as your Lord and Savior.

  • Outline adapted from Proclaim Magazine.
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