Friday, April 22, 2016
"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked.
"My Rabbi," the blind man said, "I want to see!"
Isn't it amazing how we are tagged with a label by others as we go through life?
I look at Scripture, and the first one that jumps out of my brain is "Rahab the Harlot".
I know that some have translated that as being Rahab the Innkeeper. I'm not the theologian so I'll not make an issue of it, but still my Bible says Harlot.
God has a way of removing those tags because if you read Matthew 5:1, you'll see where she is jut Rapha. No harlot or reference to such. I think maybe that is because of the power of forgiveness. God's forgiveness uproots and destroys anything the world has tried to saddle us with.
This brings me to "Blind Bartimaeus".
What a label. Too bad old Bartimaeus wasn't a Blues musician, then he'd have the licks and sounds to give creedence to the lablel. Truth be known, Bartimaeus' condition was the reason for the label....still it is a label, and labels have a way of defining us, don't they?
Funny part in this whole story, Bartimaeus' condition was beyond his control. It was something that happened. He may have been born this way, we're not told. But Bartimaeus ran into Jesus.
Jesus and His crew as moving through the city of Jericho and just happened to intersect where Bartimaeus had his "Begging for money" shop set up. Kind of like when you come off the interstate and run into those people who stand with the hand scrawled signs telling you why they need you to give them some money. Anyway, I digress. Bartimaeus heard from the crowd that it was Jesus that was passing by. Evidently he'd heard stories about this man Jesus. Stories of people being healed....the dead being brought back to life. Now here was the real deal Jesus passing by. One of the most beautiful things in the world is when desperation is coupled with hope, which produces a "what have I got to lose" action.
Bartimaeus begins to scream out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Now that's embarrassing. In fact those around Bartimaeus begin to yell at him to shut up.
Here this important teacher was taking a walking tour through their town and we have this mangy, old blind man messing everything up.....making everyone look bad. Do you know how Bartimaeus responded? He only yelled louder. He didn't care what others thought (now here's a whole other posting about how we need to get outside ourselves and quit caring about what others think). This was his moment. This was either going to draw Jesus' attention or it wasn't. To my way of thinking, Bartimaeus was having one of those moments where it's "Either heal me or kill me, but I can't go on this way!" Such a place is where real change begins to take place. We've had it with the world. We've had it with our state of living. We've tried everything in spite of knowing that Jesus is the real deal answer to our problems. Finally, with nothing left, we cast aside our pride and began to yell like Blind Bartimaeus. "Jesus!!!! Have mercy on me.....And He will. Healed not so that we can continue in our old ways, but healed to be like Bartimaeus.
The last verse of the chapter that has this story of Bartimaeus, reads like this....
Instantly the man could see.......and he followed Jesus down the road.
Maybe that should be the same for us this morning.
We allow Him to give us new sight...
And then leave everything and follow Him down the road.
God on you...
The fall of 1969.... "One way, Man!" One Way! I saw him across the common at Gadsden State. I was headed to my next class and...