Courage - Rise - He Calls!
Courage. Rise, He Calls! (Mark 10:46-52)
Mark records this as the last miracle of Jesus before the cross. That Jesus would hear, stop, and meet an individual need while contemplating His cross arrests us. The very reason for His cross is to address our individual need and to change our individual life. The famous story of Bartimaeus should not be embalmed in our memory but embodied in our life. We should not come to respect an old story but to realize a present possibility. The Lord Jesus still hears and responds to real need with an immediate, powerful word.
You Must Acknowledge Your Real Need
He calls you to acknowledge your real problem. Bartimaeus had the great physical impairment of blindness and the grave personal peril of beggary. He was blind, broke, and bewildered. He had dual hopelessness, twin troubles, and double despair. This story means nothing unless we say, "Move over Bartimaeus. Is there room for me on the Jericho road?" We must admit that we cannot see what ultimately matters. We must also admit that we have spent the stuff of life on our own obsessions, cravings, longings, and compulsions until we are spiritually broke.
He calls us regardless of our partial perspective. Bartimaeus did not have perfect faith or understanding. His recognition of Jesus as "Son of David" (vv. 47-48) identifies Him as no more than a good Israelite from David's ancestry. But he did recognize in Jesus the One of sympathy who responds to an appeal for mercy. Many who never contact Christ plead an inadequate understanding or weak faith. You do not have to be a theologian or a saint to contact Jesus Christ. If that were so, few would ever touch Him.
He calls us through persistence. Bartimaeus had one remarkable, life-changing hope—a persistence that would not be denied. He made himself a nuisance! He did so in the face of everyone who would keep him away from the Christ. Jesus both in His teaching and His practice rewards perseverance. No secular physical achievement happens without perseverance.
Jesus Individually Meets Your Real Need
Jesus hears the one among the many. Amidst the babble of voices, the confusion of conversations, and the footfalls Jesus Christ heard one voice. Our hope yet rests in this today. In the vastness of this universe and in the bigness of this congregation He still responds to the individual human life.
Jesus Christ alone has the right to call for courage. In the New Testament seven times there is a call for courage. The other six times are on the lips of Jesus. Here the call to courage is on the lips of the emissaries of Jesus. No human can ultimately give you courage. We are all in the same dilemma. But when the Risen Christ calls for courage, He creates the courage for which He calls.
Jesus Christ meets you at the point of actual need. He does this by making you face and articulate your need. The blind man had to say, "That I might receive my sight" (v. 51, KJV). We have to own what we are before we can disown what we are. After we articulate, we must act. There was a moment when the man had to stand, walk, and act on the fact that he could now see. Do not blame God for failing to intervene in your life when you will not act in the presence of His power. His power operates simultaneously with your rising to grasp it.
Jesus Acts with an Immediate Power While Calling for an Ultimate Commitment
The Lord Jesus acts with an immediate power. Once the need was acknowledged, the actual healing is almost an afterthought. Jesus did not touch him or even mention the miracle. The need was acknowledged and the deed was done! The difficulty is never with His power. It works quickly and immediately. Lazarus was raised with a sentence. The sea was stilled with a word. The same Lord acts the same today. We admit our need, act on His power, and one of His words makes us whole.
The Lord calls for an ultimate commitment. "Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road" (v. 52). That is to say, Bartimaeus became a disciple. Jesus Christ does not dispense doses of life to those who intend no commitment. Casual Christianity causes no change in life. Had Bartimaeus returned to his seat of beggary he would have been doubly blind, a dog returned to his own vomit. Those who enter Jesus actually follow His way ultimately.
Today is not a rehearsal. If He calls, rise and follow.