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The Model OF A True Disciple

On The Road With Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction:

Blind Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging. He heard a lot of noise and asked what was happening. He was told that Jesus, His disciples and a large crowd were on their way to Jerusalem. When Bartimaeus heard this, he began to shout and call out to Jesus. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Those around him told him to be quiet. The more they tried to stopped him, the more he shouted, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Jesus stood still and summoned Bartimaeus. The crowd that was shouting at him few minutes ago was now the one informing him that Jesus wanted to talk to him. Bartimaeus jumped to the invitation, threw away his cloak and ran to Jesus. Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus said, “Rabbouni, I want to see.” Jesus said to him, “go, your faith has saved you.” Instead of going, Bartimaeus decided to follow Jesus.
Bartimaeus is a Model Disciple because in chapter 10 people failed over and over again to comprehend what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. At the close of the chapter, one man got it and it was blind Bartimaeus.
What lessons can we take away from this formerly blind man? Isn’t it amazing that the most unlikely candidate has become the epitome of discipleship? Chapter 10 which I believe is emphasizing what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, shows us one failure from the disciples after another. However, at the end of the chapter, the most unlikely candidate got it right. He shows the model of a true disciple.
Blind Bartimaeus conveys to us the model of a true disciple of Christ.
A true disciple of Christ must possess the following:

A true disciple recognizes Jesus identity (VV. 47C-48).

A. Blind Bartimaeus Recognized Jesus:
A true disciple recognizes who Jesus is. Because of his blindness, he hadn’t seen the dead raised, the lepers healed, the calming of the storm, the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on water. However, he heard the stories of Jesus’ miracles and believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the one the prophets spoke about in time past.
There were so many people following Jesus that missed His identity. His disciples did not comprehend who He was. James and John saw Him as a political Messiah. The religious leaders saw Him as a fraud. But the man without sight recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Davidic King. He recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise God made to David in . The educated class within Israel missed the identity of Jesus-the religious leaders, the scribes and teachers of the law missed His identity.
Do you know who Jesus is? If you were asked, “who is Jesus? What would you say? One day, Jesus came to His disciples and said to them, “who do men say that I am?” The disciples responded by stating, “Some say that you are John the Baptist. Others say that you are Elijah and still others say that you are a prophet.” To be a true disciple of Jesus, we must have a clear understanding of the identity of Jesus. Bartimaeus said, “Jesus, Son of David.” Understanding the identity of Christ is not enough. We must also embrace His work on the cross.
By calling Jesus The Son of David, Blind Bartimaeus went back to the beginning of the first gospel, the Book of Matthew. This is how it starts, “The Book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.” Since Matthew was writing to the Jews, he wanted to convey to them that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise given by God to David. He was pointing out to the Jews that Jesus was qualified to rule on the throne of David.
He does not only recognize Jesus’ identity, but He also accepts Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, the Son of David. It is one thing to recognize something, but it is more important to recognize and also accept Christ’s claims. Blind Bartimaeus did exactly that.
One commentator points that Bartimaeus was a man without physical sight, but he had insight.
His blindness deprived him of seeing the works of Christ. But his hearing gave him access to the miracles and teaching of Christ. When He heard about Christ’s work, he believed in him. He had more insight than the disciples and the religious leaders of his day.
His blindness deprived him of seeing the works of Christ. But when He heard about Christ’s work, he believed in him. He had more insight than the disciples and the religious leaders of his day.
We are like Bartimaeus. We haven’t seen Christ but have heard about His miracles and works on our behalf and we believe in Him. The apostle Peter writes in , “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy...” Peter writing to the church in Asia Minor, informed them that not many living at that time had seen Jesus. Though they did not see Him, they believed in Him. This reminds me of Thomas who believed that Jesus was alive only after he saw Him. Jesus states in , “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” This includes all those who have believed in Christ since His ascension to His Father. They did not see Him. They heard about Him and believed in Him.
A true identification of Christ can only be found in His word, which is the Bible. Christ is the focus of the word of God. The Old Testament points to His coming and the New Testament points back at His walk on earth and tells us about the work He did for humanity and also about His second coming.
Some are following Jesus but do not know Him. In our church, we may have people who have been in the church for so long, they preach, teach and attend church regularly but do not know who Jesus is. If we knew who Christ was our lives will be different. This represents the crowd.
Some have been with him for many years but do not know Him. They are following Him for different reasons. The disciples fall within this group.
3.
A true recognition of Christ can only be found through His word, which is the Bible. Christ is the focus of the word of God. The Old Testament points to His coming and the New Testament points back at His coming and tells us about the work He did for humanity.
We can get a true glimpse of Christ by listening to Gospel centered messages.
We can get a true knowledge of Christ by engaging the Gospel centered songs we sing.
We can get a true knowledge of Christ by being a part of a gospel centered fellowship or church.

B. A true disciple of Christ is persistent (V. 48):

The crowd warned Bartimaeus to be quiet. But he was persistent. The “many” are not identified by Mark. The “many, ” I believe, was a reference to the crowd and to the disciples.
The crowd and the disciples probably rebuked Bartimaeus because they felt that he was too insignificant to bother a significant rabbi like Jesus. After all, he was just a blind beggar sitting on the side of the road.
Blind Bartimaeus was going against the disciples and the crowd. The disciples were known for being obstacles to “would be” disciples of Jesus. In , they stopped the mothers from bringing their children to meet Jesus. In , they stopped a disciple from casting out demons in Jesus’ name. But Blind Bartimaeus would not let their antagonistic behavior silence him. He recognized that this was his only chance for healing.
Persistence is an important feature in Mark’s gospel. It is often rewarded by Jesus. In , Jesus was in a house teaching, when 4 men came with a paralyzed man on a stretcher. These four men tried entering the house, but because of the crowd they couldn’t. So, they devised a new plan. They decided to go up to the roof, take out some of the tiles, and let the man down into the room. When Jesus saw this, He did not only forgive the man’s sins, He also healed him.
In , we meet a lady with the issue of blood. She had been sick for many years and had visited many doctors but could not find a solution to her crisis. One day she saw Jesus in the crowd. She said to herself, “If I can only reach down and touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed.” She pushed through the crowd and touched the helm of Jesus’ garment and she was rewarded for her persistent faith.
Jesus did not rebuked Bartimaeus, but accepted the Son of David title.
Are you persistent? Are you looking for relief from a burden? When we trust God and persistently reach out to Him, He will answer our prayers. Bartimaeus’ persistence was rewarded.
Bartimaeus’ faith had an impact on Christ.
Mark tells us that Jesus stood still because of the persistence of Bartimaeus. How powerful it is, for Christ who is God in the flesh, to stand still because of a simple beggar on the side of the road crying out to Him. Jesus did not take the cry of Bartimaeus lightly. He will not take your cry lightly either. He stood for him.
What causes Christ to stand? Christ stands for men and women who demonstrate their faith by standing for Him in the midst of their own difficulties and persecution. In , When Stephen was Martyred, we read, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Christ was standing to welcome home a man who trusted in Him in the face of severe persecution.
What a Savior. We have a Savior who stood to listen to the need of one blind beggar by the side of the road. This beggar demonstrated the utmost faith when others did not understand who Jesus was.
Jesus called Bartimaeus:
3 times in those verses, we see the word “call” being used. Because of Bartimaeus’ persistence, those who were obstacles to him are now the ones saying, “take heart, He’s calling you.”
Bartimaeus was burdened by his blindness but persisted in getting the attention of Jesus.
Mark tells us that he threw aside his garment and ran to Jesus.
Why would Mark tell us about Bartimaeus garment? In , Jesus said “no one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else, the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.” This means that the new message that Jesus was proclaiming cannot be fitted into the old system of Judaism.
Mark is pointing out that Bartimaeus’ old garment represents all that a disciple must leave behind to follow Jesus. In , Simon and Andrew left their nets. In , James and John left their father. The garment indicates Bartimaeus’ break with his past. He does not need the old garment, because he is embarking upon a new journey.
When we were called by Christ, we were called upon to drop our old garments. In we read, “that you put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, that you put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness.” When we come to Christ, we must leave behind the garment of the past.
We cannot follow Jesus in old garments. Paul writes in , “But you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him...”
What Paul is saying is that because of our walk with Christ, we must be dressed differently. The old garment must be put away and the new one must be put on.
Do you know that some of us claim to be following Christ but are still dressed in the old garment?
But there are others also who are following Christ and are dressed in the new garment provided by Christ. People who once knew them are astonished because of the changed lives that they are living today.
The question to Bartimaeus:
Jesus asked Blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” It was the same question He asked the sons of Zebedee. They asked for positions on either side of Jesus. Their desire was to rule with Christ.
The question to Bartimaeus:
Bartimaeus’ response to Jesus was, “Rabbouni, I want to see.” The New King James Version got this translation right. The word is Rabbouni and other translations have “Rabbi.” This word is also found in . Mary Magdalene was at the tomb of Christ. She was weeping because the body of Christ was missing. Jesus called her, “Mary.” And she said, “Rabbouni.” I learned that the word “Rabbouni” is seldom used with reference to humanity. And practically never as a form of address. It is frequently used as an address to God in prayer. It’s use here conveys Bartimaeus’ understanding of the person of Christ.
If Jesus was to ask you, “what do you want for me to do for you?” What would be your answer? Bartimaeus was burdened by blindness. He said, “Have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus pleaded with Jesus to have mercy on him because within the Jewish culture people saw blindness as God’s judgment on a person for their sins. In , the disciples saw a man who was blind from birth. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Bartimaeus pleaded with Jesus to have mercy on him because within the Jewish culture people saw blindness as God’s judgment on a person for their sins.
Bartimeus came humbly to Christ seeking His mercy. Jesus said to him, “go, your faith has made you well.” The word for well is the same word for saved. Bartimaeus was not only cured from his physical ailment. He was also cured of his spiritual ailment. He experienced his salvation because of his faith in Christ.
When we were called by God, we came seeking the mercy of Christ. I realized that I wanted the mercy of Christ so that my spiritual blindness could be lifted. Paul writes in , “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 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.” Paul is pointing out that we were blind. We were born blind. The only solution to our spiritual blindness is found in , “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Just like how God in turned on the light in the world, He also turns on the light in our hearts. When He does, the only response from us is to repent and believe in His Son.
What do you want Jesus to do for you?
If you will sincerely call on the name of the Lord, you too will receive mercy, unmerited kindness from Him.
When the group called on Bartimaeus to be quiet, he persisted all the more shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” He understood the pain of blindness and was not going to allow the crowd to cause him to miss his last opportunity for healing.

3. A true disciple will follow Christ (V. 52B).

If you will sincerely call on the name of the Lord, you too will receive mercy, unmerited kindness from Him.
When this story began, Bartimaeus was a beggar by the side of the road. At the end of the story, he is on the road following Jesus.
Bartimaeus did not receive his healing and turned his back on Jesus. He followed Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. Discipleship is about following Christ.
Following Christ should be the logical response of everyone who has experienced healing from him. Paul writes in , “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
Christ’s agenda supplants ours when we come to know Christ. Bartimaeus was told to go on his way, but he refused. Instead He followed Christ. He abandoned his agenda and embraced the agenda of Christ.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If you want to be my disciples, then you should deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” Faith that does not lead to discipleship is not authentic.
To follow Christ means to live our lives as if Jesus was living it for us. To follow Christ means to live in a way that will cause Jesus to feel honor. The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we can live the “Jesus way.” To follow Christ means to live like Jesus in our present context. When we are followers of Christ, we will serve God and our community. Jesus said that the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.
When we follow Christ, there is a shift in our position. Blind Bartimaeus is no longer sitting by the side of the road, he is walking with Christ. After our healing too, we must be walking with Christ.
Within the crowd, there are 2 groups represented. I want you to look at these groups and find out which group represents you.
Some are following Jesus but do not know Him. In our church, we may have people who have been in the church for a long time, they preach, teach and attend church regularly but do not know who Jesus is. If we know who Christ is our lives will be different. This represents one group- the crowd.
Some have been with him for many years but do not know Him. They are following Him for different reasons. The disciples fall within this group.
We can only follow Christ by reading His word. That is how we keep our eyes on Him. We can follow Christ through prayer. The victory over sin is only won on our knees. We can follow Christ through fellowship with other believers who will motivate us to holiness. We do it through meditation on the word of God.
Bartimaeus experienced healing. His faith led him to to become a disciple of Christ. Are you walking with Christ?

Conclusion:

There were a lot of people following Christ. The disciples wee following Christ. The large crowd was following Christ. But these two groups failed to recognized who Jesus was. It was Bartimaeus who understood who Jesus was.

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