Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
INTRO - How easy it is to be caught up in our world and miss the opportunity to offer hope, kindness, love, and mercy.
Today’s passage remind us that people can get so involved in the moment that we tend to overlook the more important things that lie just before us.
TRANS - Sin, selfishness, slander, and stupidly were around during the time of Jesus and guess what? All that same stuff is still part of life today.
Today we’ll look a Jesus responding to a blind man’s call for attention. We’ll get an idea of why the people wished Jesus would just keep going and forget about the fellow. And, we will come to this text to revisit an event that Jesus considered more important than pushing forward.
What does it say?
What does it say?
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. 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!” 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.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 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.” 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.
What does it mean?
What does it mean?
Where was Jericho in relation to Jerusalem, and why was it suitable for beggars?
The distance between Jericho and Jerusalem, though unsafe, was frequently traveled.
The old city was badly deteriorated, but the southern and newer part built by Herod was an impressive site.
As such, and with the reference to the “great crowd” we know there were plenty of folks using the road between these two cities.
Pilgrims would make their way to Jerusalem where blind beggar’s were a common sight.
ILL - It’s a common site even today. Stopped at a light in Pensacola I handed a fellow a few bucks for food. Honestly, he was truly grateful. But really, I did it for me. I saw a need that I could meet and did what I could. The fellow could not have been more grateful.
Why did people refer to Jesus as “the Nazarene”?
Jesus’ name was common so calling him the “Nazarene” distinguished him from other men with the same name.
Ill - Obviously the man knew who it was he was seeking. I recall a beat up, beat down, and beaten by a long term of drinking. He was a sight to see, long stringy hair, all hunched over, and smelled really badly. He knew to turn to the church. BTW, your pastor believes that when people turn to God’s people, God is at work in that person. Like Jesus, people often turn to the church seeking help, seeking forgiveness, seeking mercy.
What does the designation “Son of David” mean, and why does Bartimaeus use it for Jesus?
However, calling him, “Son of David,” these two times, is the only time in this gospel we here someone referencing Jesus in such a way.
Some attempt to say referencing Jesus this way points to his healing ministry.
However, that in not a very convincing argument.
Marks reader’s would have noted the title “Son of David” a reference to the promised royal descendant and Israel’s greatest king, Jesus Christ.
Considering the opening to this gospel, “Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” and Peter’s confession, “you are the Christ,” along with the events leading up to this point and what we will see down the road in the temple and the inscription on Jesus’ cross, “the King of the Jews,” all reinforce Mark’s view that Jesus is Israel’s long awaited and greatest King.
Who is it you are seeking?
I wonder what sort of person I would be in this story?
Would I help the blind man?
Would I tell the blind guy all he wants is a hand out?
Would I holler, “Jesus, please have mercy on this man?”
Why did some people try to silence the beggar?
Perhaps the people didn’t want to see Jesus stop; He was making such great progress?
ILL - While out watering my lawn Friday before last, I planned to go inside when my neighbor drove into his garage. Now, he is going through a difficult time and I thought, “I’ll just stand here for a minute longer and water a bit more.”
My neighbor saw me and came over to talk. As it turned out, he had a lot on his mind and needed someone to listen. Knowing he really needed someone to do some listening, I really got the lawn quite wet.
Now, say that I thought, “That’s enough water, I’m gonna interrupt him to shut the water off?” Or, perhaps I didn’t feel like waiting because I was not as comfortable outside as I would be in my easy chair?
Well, I doubt I’d had the chance to minister to the needs of my neighbor.
God did something in those moments and my neighbor got to tell someone some of the stuff that was on his mind.
Me, it reminds me how God uses us when we put the needs of others ahead of ourselves.
In this case, I put my time, comfort, and even my mouth on hold to hear what the fellow had to say. I didn’t agree or disagree, offer advice, or do much of the talking. I simply made myself available.
Considering Jesus’ mission and Israel’s destiny, did Jesus really have time for one beggar?
If He stopped to help one beggar, would’t all the beggars want Him to stop and give them something?
ILL - Do you know the story of the little boy on the beach gathering starfish from the surf line and tossing them back into the water? A fellow approached the boy and said, “son you can’t possibly save all those starfish!” The boy responded, “Yeah, but, you see this one? I can save him. And, this one, I can save him.”
Perhaps we need a “mercy adjustment?” You know, the one that addresses thoughts like, “There is plenty of work out there.” Or, “If he really was hungry he’d get a job.” Or, “He’s just gonna go get drunk if I give him $5.00.”
I think we forget that Jesus gave us everything he had and we still continue to blow it big time.
Maybe we need to spend more time giving without judgement and less time gossiping about the life of person brought to begging.
ILL - I recall the first morning of turkey season about 6 years ago. On my way here from Leesburg I passed a turkey standing in the median of the highway. Smart bird. You see, maybe all the other turkey’s found their way to the plate. This turkey found his way to safety. Sure it was a bold move, for a turkey to stand in the middle of the highway, but it saved his life!
Maybe one of those people in the middle of the road are seeking to save their life. How do I know? I don’t.
But this I do know, Jesus knows my heart and if I think it’s okay to talk about people and say stuff about them behind their back that I won’t to their face, that is sin and that makes me a beggar misusing what God gave me.
Some couldn’t see Jesus’ compassion for others.
Some didn’t get that Bartimaeus would do whatever he could and begged for mercy.
Jesus heard his call and showed him mercy.
I have to decide each day who I will follow.
And, today I’m not only saying, “Jesus.” I’m willing to put my money, my life, and my gratitude where God would have me place all things; at the feet of Jesus.
How did the blind beggar’s request for sight instead of money demonstrate his faith?
Why ask for sight?
He was on the road begging for money.
Why not say, “God, you own it all, make me wealthy?”
That’s what lots of people think will solve problems.
money to live happily
money to help others
money for the church
money to pay all bills and debts
money to buy anything
Sometimes people miss their opportunities of a lifetime.
Remember the love of money is the root of all evil.
The love for the Lord, now, that taps into life, love, and here it leads to God’s mercy.
Bartimaeus toss his robe aside, probably the only thing he owned, jumped to his feet, and started yelling for Jesus.
He didn’t want anything, not even his every belonging, holding him back from reaching Jesus, from his moment with the Master.
He had nearly nothing and left that for Jesus.
Now, Jesus already knew what the fellow wanted.
Yet, He still wanted to hear Bartimaeus say it.
Like the Palmist notes, God want you and I to cry out to him.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
We need to take a lesson from this blind beggar.
We need to remember to ask for what we truly desire.
Jesus wanted to give him sight, but more than sight He wanted the man to enter into a fellowship with Him.
What was the outcome?
It was more than a miraculous cure.
The result was faith.
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.
“faith has made you well”
In addition, Luke’s account notes how this led to praise for God.
And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
ILL - Remember the fellow who was seeking mercy. Instead of telling him what he already thought about himself (this happens far to often from Christians), that he was to blame, that he needed to stop drinking, that he was going to die if he kept up. Instead of that, he was told that God was already at work in his life. He was shown hope in the middle of his condition and knows God’s great mercy.
Today the same fellow has several years of not trashing his life, but several years sharing his story and helping others find hope in Jesus’ love, acceptance, and mercy.
What do I do with this?
What do I do with this?
Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem, where He will die and rise again.
Yet these important matters don’t distract Jesus from the needs of everyday people.
Our busy lives can sometimes blind us to the needs of others.
Our selfish thoughts can cause us to put self ahead of others.
Let us not view the underprivileged as a distraction, but extend our merciful hands to meet their needs.
As we meet needs to share the gospel and His joy, lets leave the outcome in His hands and walk from each opportunity praising God and how He uses even us, for we are all beggars turning to a merciful Savior.
Consider a short drama or skit in which a busy member disregards the needs of the unprivileged in order to maintain an important schedule.