What Do You Want? Sermon

July 12th, 2020

It has been said that a vision is imagining what life could be - driven by the passion that it should be.

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

On the surface, this is the story of a blind man receiving sight. But there is a story within this story. This speaks to us of the obstacle of blindness, the importance of vision, and the way to find our vision again. All scripture is God breathed, good for correction, rebuke and instruction in righteousness. So, when we read scripture, we need to see ourselves - otherwise we will just blindly continue in our ways. We need to consider how, like Bartimaeus, we might have areas of blindness. We might need our own vision restored.

So, let’s consider Bartimaeus. We don’t know that much about him. We know he is the son of Timeous. We also know this. In first-century Israel, the popular opinion was that people who are crippled, sick, deaf, or blind, had physical or mental issues of any kind, were low life. They were cursed of God and obviously someone had done something wrong. God help us if we ever think like that.

But in their culture, Bartimaeus served no other purpose than to be a poster child, a reminder to everyone to avoid living in sin. Jesus and his disciples had encountered a blindman before, and they asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” But Jesus at the time said that nobody had sinned. He was blind for the glory of God. And he healed him. But there was always this assumption that the people setting on the roadside were getting everything they deserved. It is not an attitude that we would speak out loud, but it is one that exists today. This

is such a critical world we live in that sometimes our bias keeps us from seeing what God sees. That’s a kind of blindness that keeps us from ministry to the world.

If Bartimaeus had been like the rest of those along the road, he would have just continued begging but when he heard Jesus was passing by, he began to pray, loudly. Whether you whisper, holler, or talk to Jesus, at least you’re speaking. I admire the fact that Bartimaeus trusted that Jesus could help him. That’s why he prayed. How is your prayer life? Jesus came into this world for this very purpose: To remove the chains of darkness, to heal us, restore our sight, to set us free, to restore our souls. James said, you have not because you do not ask. There is nothing that hurts more than for loved ones to stop speaking. Have you ever been frozen out? Has anyone ever just given up on you? It hurts.

Well I’m afraid that we give up on God all too often. We stop asking for His help because we don’t want to put God in the position of failing us. And if we ask and we think he has failed, how might that affect our faith? So, we don’t ask. We lose sight of God’s love and desi re to bless our lives. It’s blindness to who God is that causes us to stop speaking to Him. And that is a kind of blindness.

But Bartimaeus asks loudly, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Why did he call Jesus the “Son of David?” It is because Bartimaeus was a Jew and he knew the prophecy of the coming Savior. The prophecy indicated that the Messiah would come from David’s lineage and that his kingdom would be eternal. So Bartimaeus already believed that Jesus is the Christ. And I have to believe that he had already considered the possibility of this moment. There was no hesitation. I believe he had imagined that if he ever got the chance, if Jesus ever came near, he was going to beg him for

a miracle. Bartimaeus may have been blind physically, but in his own way, he already had great vision, didn’t he? And vision is something that is lacking today. Most people today have visions that revolve around personal success, or money. Or they have no vision at all. That’s a kind of blindness too. When we don’t recognize that God has a purpose for our lives. What we accomplish in this life will be less fulfilling, less purposeful, and less than what God had planned for us. But more importantly, when we lack a God sized vision, we can’t carry out God’s will in this world.

And there will always be those that don’t want us to carry out God’s will. Those around Bartimaeus and those following Jesus “sternly ordered him to be quiet.” But Bartimaeus remained focused on Christ. How often do we allow circumstances or what others say shut us down and cause us to lose focus on following Christ? Nothing gets in the way of seeking God more than hurt feelings and deciding that we are going to take things into our own hands or we decide we are just going to give up – walk away from God and His church. We can’t control our feelings but we can control our

decisions. That’s why scripture says, “Be angry and sin not.” You can be angry and not sin. We can stay focused on Christ. We can keep praying and, in fact, we need to pray more fervently in those situations. That’s what Bartimaeus did. he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And here’s the really cool part of this story. Jesus stood still. If you think God doesn’t care when your heart is broken, when people come against you, and when you feel like your life is falling apart, you are so wrong. When we cry out to God, not only does God hear, but He puts down his

phone. He gives us His full attention. Jesus stood still and he called for Bartimaeus. Now. Here is a blind man. He wants help. So Jesus stands still but then instead of walking over to him and grabbing his hand and saying here I am, he says, call him over. Upon first glance it sounds almost cruel. But the truth is, this is a kingdom principle for finding God’s vision for your life. Jesus said, No man comes to me unless the Father calls him. God doesn’t need to find us. God knows right where we are. But we have to be willing to find God. Jesus didn’t say, Let me come to you. But He did say, Come unto me all ye who are weary and I will give you rest. If we are too proud to crawl to God, then we will never know Him. When God calls, it’s never ideal. It seems like there is always a hurdle to jump.

Something we have to let go of, something we have to resolve, someone we have to forgive, something to give up. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus saves. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. But coming to Christ means counting the cost. I know people who have never joined the church, never been baptized because they were not sure of themselves. They knew it was a big commitment. There is something to be said for people making a decision that is well thought out and meaningful. You have to respect that.

When Bartimaeus was called, he didn’t say, I can’t come, I’m blind. I can’t see. What did he do? 50. So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. There has been a lot of conjecture about him throwing off his cloak. It’s certainly an amazing image. He’s blind. How many possessions do you think this man had? And he threw off his cloak. He left some things behind to go to Jesus. That’s always true. When we are seeking vision from God, the things that we once owned will lose their value. Finding a Godly vision means, as Jesus once put it, selling all you have to buy the field where

a great treasure is hidden. Finding God’s vision means selling out for Christ.

So standing there in front of Jesus, the most amazing thing happens. Jesus touched his eyes and he regained his sight. No wait, that’s NOT what happened. Jesus asks Bartimaeus what seems like a very strange question. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” But this gets right to the heart of the issue. Nothing that has happened before this moment really matters if Bartimaeus has not weighed the cost of following Jesus. Regaining his sight will change his life completely. But why wouldn’t he want to overcome his blindness? I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine why a person would want to live all their life long carrying a grudge either, but they do. I can’t imagine why a person would want to continue in addiction, or greed, or lust, or hate, bigotry, or any kind of life sapping sin. But they do. Sometimes we would rather live as victims that be healed and have to be responsible to do anything again. Our issues give us an excuse to remain in our misery. So Jesus asks a relevant question that he already knows the answer to. But Bartimaeus needs to own the idea of abandoning his condition and allowing God to heal him. The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”. And Bartimaeus had imagined what life would be like if he allowed God to give him vision. He knew what life was supposed to be, he knew what God could do, and he was ready

for the change. If you are going to allow God to give you vision, you can’t be satisfied with living in the dark. The darkness of hurt feelings. The darkness of pain. The darkness of fear. The darkness of holding a grudge, anger. The darkness of lust, of greed, of rebellion. When we stop allowing God to change us, we are blind, willingly blind. We can remain on the side of the narrow way just begging for crumbs, or we can move towards Jesus in our lives. What will it be for you? 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him

on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

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