Yes, it’s that word.
The words that makes us, our children, and our pets cringe (I don’t have pets, but I’m pretty sure obedience school isn’t the funnest place to be for a dog).
We can’t reason with it, can’t excuse it, can’t overlook it, can’t explain it away.
We just have to do it.
It is so hard it makes our heads hurt and our insides feel scooped out–when we do it and when we don’t do it. Any way you look at it, it’s not any easy thing.
It’s made me look at the story of blind Baritmaeus in a whole new way, though. Having been studying in Mark for the last few months, I’ve had some more time to mentally chew over passages I would have otherwise breezed through, particularly those accounts of healing, but they are all over the place, I mean, they were a key component to to Jesus’ three-year ministry.
But let’s look a the context that surrounds this story, first.
In chapter 10, Jesus once again confronts the trickery of the Pharisees and rebukes them with scripture, welcomes the little children, and spends a good amount of time telling the disciples what it really means to BE a disciple. It’s not glamorous. It means (vs. 29-31) leaving home, brothers, sisters, mother, children, fields for the sake of the gospel. That’s pretty much everything we can possibly think of, right? He ends this instruction with the words: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus then moves on to predict his death, the disciples are astonished and those who follow him are afraid, He is no longer talking in parables, he is predicting something very serious: the end (or at least that’s how they see it).
The next is an account that is almost comical in an very frustrating way. James and John, having just heard Jesus predict his death, ask that they be seated at his right hand and his left in heaven. Whaa? I would be more flabbergasted if I didn’t see their personalities in my own. My own stupid selfishness: “Lord I know this life is completely about you, but I have this one little request that somehow is all about me and my needs.”
Oh, I am so thankful for the disciples and how they point to my own folly and self-serving attitude again and again.
And finally, the story of blind Baritmaeus. As Jesus and his disciples are leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus is sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he began to shout, asking that the Son of David have mercy on him. Verse 48: Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus instructs his disciples to speak to him and they tell him to cheer up, get on his feet, because Jesus was calling him!
Wow. Can you imagine? Jesus calling you personally? Guess what? He does that every day, he is calling us, and he is asking us to jump up and approach him.
He asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go, your faith has healed you. ”
Bartimaeus received his sight.
Here’s the thing: Bartimaeus wasn’t counting the cost, the Lord was calling him and he JUMPED up. His faith healed him. Please don’t misconstrue this last statement. I’m not saying if you’re not healed that you don’t have enough faith, God’s ways are higher than our own, I want to place the emphasis on Bartimaeus’ reaction. He obeyed, he did it, he jumped up and Jesus met him there and after receiving his sight, he followed Jesus along the road.
I have some good friends who have been on a very interesting journey the last few years, they heard God’s calling to be missionaries in India, they obeyed, prepared, they sold their house, raised support, went to language school, and after about a year of preparation, they went. A few months in, the wife came down with a serious physical condition, they carried on their work, ministered, but things weren’t looking good physically. They came back to the States, she was officially diagnosed and they questioned: What do we do? They prayed and felt like God was calling them to go back, they were there a total of 2 years, but now they are back in the States again, getting treatment and it looks like for right now, the door to India has closed.
For them, I know this probably looks like a very frustrating defeat, but for me, on the outside looking in, it represents TREMENDOUS faith and obedience and it is such an encouragement.
When God called they, like Bartimaeus took courage, they had faith, threw off their cloaks and followed Jesus “along the road.”
Care to share any personal roadblocks you’ve seen God use in a bigger way?