Damariscotta Baptist Church
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

05/03/15 Sermon - What Do You Want?

“What Do You Want?”

Mark 10:46-52


Today’s narrative in Mark 10 offers us an example of what Christianity should look like. The thing I like most about out blind beggar Bartimaeus is his willingness to respond to Jesus regardless of who else or what else is around him. Because his faith in Jesus was greater than his desire to meet the social requirements set upon him by the people around him.

Let’s review for a moment what actually occurred.

Our story begins with Jesus and his followers walking through the gates of Jericho on their final leg of their trip to Jerusalem. Something interesting to note is the topography of the last part of this journey. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem is basically, straight up, which is very a pro pro for Jesus as he is fully aware of what will happen to him when he arrives. However the rest of the group with Him are anxiously awaiting what they think will be the final overthrow of the Roman Government and the establishment of God’s kingdom, in its entirety.

So we can expect that everyone is anxious to be off and get the journey started. However, they are interrupted before they can even begin. The well-known blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, who is already out at the city gate, is begging for alms He hears that Jesus is in the group that is going past him and starts to shout.

Oops!

Bartimaeus has broken social boundary #1. You see, beggars are allowed to sit and beg, but they are not supposed to be obtrusive and bother others.

Why

we can tolerate the poor, as long as they don’t get in our faces.

But Bartimaeus is not bothered with social norms. This is his chance to possibly meet Jesus, he is not about to let this opportunity pass him by. And how interesting to note, what he yells.

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Immediately those around him start shhhing him, telling him to be quiet. Especially, I suspect the disciples. They are probably thinking, “Not another disruption!”

But we are told, these words cause Jesus to stop….

And Jesus tells those around him to call Bartimaeus to Him.

Those around him, tell him to get up, that Jesus is calling for him.

And Bartimaeus proceeds to do social boundary #2 and #3.

Blind beggars did not “throw off their cloaks” and “jump to their feet” and go to people, especially well known leaders.

Oh, no.

Beggars have a particular protocol that they adhere to in order to maintain the aura of “needy” and they cower and cringe if anyone were to pay them the least bit of extra attention.

This demonstrates that Bartimaeus’ faith has initiated a transformation in his life.

When Bartimaeus gets to Jesus, notice Jesus’ question…

“What do you want me to do for you?”

On the surface this sounds like a silly question. Wouldn’t a blind man want Jesus to heal him from his blindness?

But Jesus chooses not to take anything for granted. Jesus does not impose on anyone. He listens to their needs and responds accordingly. How many of us have requested things from God that would alleviate our immediate discomfort but have not requested complete healing as that would cause us to have to actually change our life?

But for Bart, he is seeking a real change. He recognizes Jesus for who he really is, the Son of David and there is no doubt in his mind that Jesus can give him his sight back. Before he even gets face to face with Jesus we have noted that he is no longer wearing his beggar’s coat and no longer cowering and sitting by the city gate. Bart is up on his feet and “seeing” Jesus for who he really is.

Which is in direct contrast to the disciples’ response to this question last week. You see, Jesus asked the exact same question to James and John last week, and their response revealed they were blind to what was really about to happen. They didn’t have a clue.

Yet here was a blind man who understood who Jesus was, straight away. The disciples were more interested in who was going to be the greatest in God’s kingdom and Bartimaeus recognizes his affliction and his desperate need for Jesus’ mercy. Bartimaeus sees both the truth of who Jesus is and why He is present.

We would do well to follow the example of the blind man, at this point. The Son of Poverty shows his need for the Son of David.

The ability to recognize our place aside the Messiah is the essence of discipleship. It is necessary for us to admit that we are in need of Jesus’ help, of God’s grace.

Bartimaeus demonstrates his ultimate dependency on Jesus, when he throws off his coat. This would have been the only earthly belonging he would have had. And he leaves it behind. He leaves everything he owns, to follow Jesus.

This narrative is not just a story about the healing of a blind man.

Mark uses this story to contrast a couple of things he has already shown us.

For one thing we have a story of a poor blind man who is willing to give all he has, in contrast to the rich ruler who walked away sadly because he was not prepared to sell everything he had to follow Jesus.

And second, this narrative also shows us the difference between the sight and blindness in the disciples.

Which brings me to the question of day:

“What do you want Jesus to do for you?”

What are the things in your life that keep you from seeing the truth of who Jesus is and is holding you back from true discipleship, which is trusting in Jesus in and for ALL things.

I would like to suggest a few things which can dim the light of Jesus and cause us spiritual blindness.

First, we can start right inside the church itself. Today it is difficult to really see Jesus because there are so many variations being proclaimed about who Jesus is and so many different groups claiming ownership of Jesus.

Think about it, today there are over 33,000 Christian denominations in the world today. Each one, is just a bit different or a lot different from the other.

Which one is right?

We can add to this the institutionalism of the church and its traditions.

Some people have become so set in the way church is done and in their traditions, that they have become blind to the meaning of what and why they are doing things.

Then there are many churches that are no more than a social club.

All of these things keep us in the dark about the truth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s step outside the church and take a look at the world. We don’t have to go too far before our vision is blurred.

To start with Christianity is one expression of spirituality, what about Buddhism, Islam, Shinto, and New Age, the list goes on.

In order to be known as “tolerant” Pluralism has been taken over. This is the view that suggests that all religions are valid.

Which if you follow this to its logical conclusion then none of them are valid.

We also have the view of humanism which has dominated Western thinking for around 500 years. This view suggests that humans have no need for a God or anything divine, that we are quite capable of taking care of things ourselves.

And then we can look at those things in society that take over our minds and time such as consumerism, information overload, entertainment, and self-gratification.

All of these things do a great job of keeping us in the dark about our true nature and about who Jesus really is.

I would like to bring you back to the light and remind you what we at the Damariscotta Baptist Church believe. I am taking this directly from the Apostle’s Creed:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

            it refers to the universal church rather than a specific branch of Christianity

10. The forgiveness of sins:

1l. The resurrection of the body:

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

And there is no better way to affirm this belief than to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

The good news is that Jesus, the Son of David, reaches down to us, sinners, and gives us hope in God’s love by reminding us of the gift He gave each of us.

And like Bartimaeus we need to act on our faith and open our eyes and see.

So as we take time to prepare for the Lord’s Supper, by taking a Deacon’s offering and while David plays for us, I would like you to be thinking about what things are in your life that are in the way of your experiencing Jesus, as freely as Bartimaeus did.

May we begin by stating,

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Repeat after me:

 

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Let’s pray.