RSS

Tag Archives: Mark

“A Lion’s Heart” by Fred Smith

 

Dear God, I read Fred Smith’s wonderful blog post this morning and I thought I’d spend some time with you about it. With all due respect to Fred and his copyright on this material, I’d like to copy and paste parts of his blog that struck me and then talk with you about them. 

It wasn’t a simple disagreement but a showdown that resulted in both men, once fast friends, turning away from each other for the balance of their lives.

The opening sentence had me. Assuming this would be a Bible story, I knew the reference immediately. How sad to have a relationship defined this way 2,000 years later. And I’m certain Paul must have regretted this break between them after Barnabas was dead. How horrible. I’m sure both of them would look back and think that they took this moment much too seriously. And maybe Paul was right and Mark needed tough love. And maybe Barnabas was right and he needed mercy and instruction. Maybe they were both right and maybe they were both wrong. But Satan loves to divide us from each other. Hopefully, you were able to take this break and spread your gospel wider because of it. 

Speaking of Satan dividing us, while I was making my breakfast this morning, I felt different feelings of residual anger towards different people in my life. After a couple of minutes it was almost as if the Holy Spirit would whisper to me that Satan was attacking me and trying to cause divisions, so I would give mercy and move on. Then it would happen again with someone else. I would just be standing alone in the kitchen and start to feel anger towards someone for things done to me years ago. Pitiful. But it’s a good plan of attack on Satan’s part. bitterness feeds those selfish parts of our hearts and tears us apart from each other and you. Thank you for helping me to be aware of what was happening to me. I am sorry to you that I still apparently carry so much bitterness around with me. 

As a young man John Mark was surrounded by the apostles and leaders of the movement coming to his home. His mother, Mary, was wealthy and influential. With access to relationships and rare advantages a young man could not have had more exposure to courage, miracles, heroic figures and the first days of the greatest events in the history of the world.

Still, Mark was weak and afraid. He ran naked from Gethsemane. He quit Paul and Barnabas when conditions were difficult. He disappointed the ones who took a risk on him.

Did Mark have too many advantages? Was he not tough enough because he had been raised in privilege? I was watching one of the episodes in the 10-part series about the Chicago Bulls called The Last Dance. There was a story about two Bulls players on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team who decided they had a score to settle with a player on the Croatia team because their general manager was negotiating to give him more money than one of their current key players. This player hadn’t done anything to them personally, but they decided to teach their GM a lesson by humiliating this kid. And in the first game they did, but one of the people they interviewed made a comment about the Croatian kid’s resilience. He said that the NBA players didn’t understand what a kid from Croatia had overcome in the 80s and early 90s. He was tougher than that and he came back in the second game, played well, and earned their respect. 

John Mark was going to have to suffer some setbacks if he was going to be ready to really serve with the new church. I’m sure this rift between Paul and Barnabas was used by you to help prepare him for future work.

It would be logical to predict he would fade away and self-destruct as a child of privilege who failed to launch.

But we would be wrong for after the decade had passed Paul says to Timothy, “Be sure to bring Mark with you because he will be so helpful to my ministry. Everyone else has deserted me.”

Mark spent over 10 years developing into someone who would be useful to those around him. He recorded Peter’s memories of Jesus and gave us a powerful gospel that we still read today. And he ministered to Paul at the end of his life. 

Ten years. It’s important for us to not be so impatient. It’s important for me to not be so impatient. I’ve said it many times before, but we tend to measure time in days, weeks, and months, and you measure it in years, decades and centuries. As a parent, as a son, as a husband, and a parishioner, and as a friend, it is important for me to give you (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) the time you need to do your work in all of us, including me.

What happened? In those silent 10 years, Mark had attached himself to the sole person in his life – Simon Peter – who could relate completely to one who had deserted and failed his friends while betraying others. In Peter, he finds a father, a fellow sinner and a friend.

Peter doesn’t lead Mark and the rest of us through how powerful he is. Instead, he leads us and teaches us through his flaws and failures. In the same way, I can’t teach people through the stuff I do well. Oh sure, I can pass on some advice, but my real impact comes when I share my weaknesses and failings. In this case, I don’t think Mark would have benefitted as much from sitting at John’s feet for 10 years–or even Paul’s. No, I’m sure he learned resilience, repentance, and rebounding from regret through your grace from Peter.

What did Mark discover as he wrote the Gospel? He discovered himself and a Jesus that changed his life. Peter’s flaws were the same as his and Peter’s Christ became his. In “The Jesus I Never Knew,” Philip Yancey writes, “Jesus, I found, bore little resemblance to the Mr. Rogers figure I had met in Sunday School. He was the undomesticated Lion of Judah.”

I think Mark also learned some humility from Peter. I’ve always noticed that the stories we get where Peter is the most humiliated in front of Jesus are told to us in Mark. Peter doesn’t pull any punches when telling Mark his own story, and, in return, Mark communicates to us a unique version of Jesus. Lest I sound judgmental about the other gospels, I’ll say that we get the worst stories about John from his gospel as well. But in this case, it’s the example that Peter is setting for Mark that I think is important. 

Sent by Peter to Egypt as the first bishop of the Coptic church, Mark – the former coward, deserter and weakling – is horribly martyred by being dragged for two days behind a horse until his skin is torn off his body.

So that’s how it ends? A horrible death for someone who left us so much in Mark’s Gospel? A comfort to Paul in prison? Well, not exactly. There is also the legacy of transformation and courage. So much so that we get this:

Many years later it is said that the founders of the city of Venice in Italy, wanted a saint’s relics, so they stole his head and took it back to Venice. There it becomes the precious relic of one of the most famous cathedrals in the world – St. Mark’s. The deserter becomes the patron saint of Venice.

But here is what I love. Something he would have never believed and we could have not predicted when we first met him. The early church gave him the symbol of the winged lion, and it is the flag of Venice still today. It is a symbol of power, authority and strength. The Lion holds the scroll because he is the author of the earliest gospel and the inscription reads, “Peace to thee, Mark, my evangelist.” Peace and courage – not fear and running away. It is the same boy who fled and then became a lion – just like the Lion of Judah in his gospel.

Father, help me to see people for more than their failings. Help me to see them with your eyes. And help me to see myself for more than just my own failings. Help me to be patient and faithful as I strive to simply worship and serve you. 

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , ,

The Sower — Mark 4:1-20


The image above is from
Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups by Ned Bustard. The image itself is called “Sower (after Van Gogh)” and was created by Ned Bustard.

Mark 4:1-20
Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant. He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Dear God, I used to pray this parable a lot when my children were little. I prayed that the seeds my wife and I were planting each day would find good soil. I prayed that we would be able to plant good seeds in the first place. I loved this illustration.

Now that they are in their 20’s, my prayer has shifted a little. They are on their own paths now. They struggle. They succeed. They have revelations and they have blinders. Just like me. I have all of those things in my life as well. But my prayer for them is slightly different. I am not the one doing much planting in their lives so I end up praying over the seeds that were planted long ago, some of which I am hoping are still there, but dormant with roots that are reaching for good soil. I pray for those who are planting seeds in their lives today. I pray for the soil in their heart.

Sometimes I have the presence of mind to pray about the soil in my own heart. Am I able to listen to those who bring your word to me, or do I dismiss them? Does Satan steal away the seed? Do I allow selfishness and pleasures of the world to choke it the seeds that get through? Do I intentionally cultivate the soil of my heart and make it seed-ready?

Now, for this image from Bustard. I guess one thing about this story is that the sower is not very discriminating. He is very generous with his seeds, scattering them everywhere. He doesn’t seem to care what kind of soil it finds. He’ll put some on the path. He’ll put some on shallow soil. He’ll put some in the thorns. And it seems that, just as randomly, some will find good soil. But the sower doesn’t seem to care. He just throws it out there. I should probably be more conscious of how I sow seeds. Am I stingy with them, or do I just spread them everywhere?

Another thing about this image is that I can see a big crop in the background. I think Bustard must have thought about what a 100-fold crop looked like and included it in the image. The Sun and the sky are there. The ground where the sower is walking is there. But the crop in the background is our goal.

Bustard says that his rendition of this story is inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s painting. Here it is for reference.

Apparently, according to Bustard, van Gogh’s piece was inspired by Jean Francois Millet’s piece describing the same parable Here is Millet’s image.

I guess the last thing I will notice about all of the art is that none of them created an image set in Jesus’s time. They are all more modern than that. I suppose Millet is the one who started with that concept. This isn’t just a story with a lesson for 2,000 years ago. It is a modern story.

Father, I will have opportunities to spread some seeds today. I will also have opportunities to prepare the soil of my heart to receive the seeds you have for me. Help me to be mindful of that. Help me to embrace this whole concept. Help me to give you a great harvest that will help your kingdom to come and your will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , ,

Mark 12:38-44

Mark 12:38-44
Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.” Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Dear God, I think one of the biggest obstacles for people as we try to read the Bible is the same obstacle we have when we read a text from a friend–tone of voice can be everything. This story about the widow is a great example. I’ve read it countless times. Most Christians are familiar with it. If I say the words “The Widow’s Mite” to a group of Christians, they immediately know what I mean. But how much do we miss in this story?

Several years ago, I had a revelation from you that this widow likely never knew that Jesus saw her faithfulness that day, and she likely went home that day as poor as she was when the day started. She likely died however many years later as poor as she was when she dropped in those coins. There was no monetary reward for her faithfulness. There was provision from you. There was peace. And there was the immortality of me even knowing about her 2,000 years later. But here were no earthly riches for her.

So that’s a pretty good revelation. But then I read Fred Smith’s blog post this morning, and he pointed out another aspect of this story. Because of story headings, chapter breaks, and verses that translators of the Bible have given us so that we can more easily find things, we often make the mistake of separating stories in the middle. This one is an example.

Fred pointed out that Mark tells us two stories back to back. Jesus has just finished a rant about the Pharisees taking from widows (among others) and then he goes over to the offerings and seems to wait for a widow to come by to make his point. Fred mentioned that this widow was giving to the very group that Jesus said had held her down and even taken from her. This add even another layer to this story. How do I keep myself from being a Pharisee that 1.) takes advantage of widows and 2.) doesn’t squander the offerings the give to you?

I’m in a unique position as the director of a nonprofit that takes donations from hundreds of people each year, including some widows. This story is not just a reminder for me to be a giver of my personal resources, but also reminds me to make sure I am being fair to and loving each donor and then using their donations to reach out and help everyone we can.

Father, help me to hear your voice when I read my Bible. Help me to hear your tone of voice in the words. Reveal to me the things I’ve missed over the years. Help me to break away from the erroneous teaching that has been accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) passed down from each preceding generation. Love through me, and help me to decrease so that you will increase. Of course, the ultimate goal for my life is that you will use it however you need to so that you kingdom will come and your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Mark

 

Tags: , , , ,

Mark 10:32

Mark 10:32
32 They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him.

Dear God, there seems to be a throwaway line here in the middle of this passage: “…and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.” I looked up several different translations, and I really didn’t get a better description of why these people we so afraid. Or maybe another way of looking at it is to wonder why the twelve were not afraid. Why did Jesus keep having to explain his impending suffering and death to them?

But back on the people following being “overwhelmed with fear.” I wonder why they kept following. They apparently had enough perspective to sense the danger ahead (maybe the twelve were too close to it to see it). Yet they pressed on in their fear. Maybe it was their faith in Jesus that propelled them on. Maybe it was morbid curiosity. Maybe it was a sense of calling. I wonder what happened to them on that Good Friday/Passover evening after Jesus was dead. I just realized I’ve used the word “wonder” several times this morning. I suppose that’s what I’m left with at this point, just to wonder.

As for me, even now, I have things about which I am afraid. I have challenges at work, with my children, with family members, with friends, etc. And that doesn’t even count politics, societal issues, and what’s going on around the world. Yes, there can even be times when I am “overwhelmed with fear.” But I follow because there is no other hope for me outside of you.

Father, I have a lot of things to do today, including one very important thing that I have to get right. Please give me wisdom and discernment as I evaluate my options Thank you for putting options before me in the first place. A week ago at this time I felt like I was at square one. But I prayed to you and followed a path, and it feels like you have brought the right person to me. I just need to figure out which one it is. Be with me as I have lunch with a friend who is battling cancer. Thank you that what he has is very treatable. Be with my wife’s and my time with our daughter tonight as we celebrate her birthday. Give her a sense of your love for her and our love for her through our time together. Help her to make the decisions that are in front of her as well. And I guess, going back to the passage today, I pledge to you that I will take my fears, lay them at the foot of your cross, and take up your yoke. You are my only path to a peace that passes understanding. Thank you for being my God.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 15, 2019 in Mark

 

Tags: ,

The Baptism of Christ — Matthew 3:1-2, 11-17

IMG_1695
The image above is from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-ups by Ned Bustard. While not all of the images in the book were created by Bustard, this one happens to be. It is called “Baptism (after Otto Dix).”

Matthew 3:1-2, 11-17
1 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

11 “I baptize with[a] water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened[d] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Dear God, when I think about this story it always makes me wonder where baptism came from and why it all of a sudden appeared with John. And why did Jesus need to be baptized? It’s really interesting.

But today isn’t about wrestling with that question. The point of this series is to take an artist’s interpretation of this story and see if there is something she or he saw that I missed. In this case, Ned Bustard (and Matthäus Evangelium) did some interesting things that I’m noticing here:

  • The first thing I noticed was that the Holy Spirit, as represented by a dove, seems to be funneling through the water in John’s hand. The image makes me think about your Holy Spirit entering the world through us through our baptism.
  • John is wearing his trademark animal skins for clothes. No shoes, of course, but that leads me to the next point.
  • He is not in the water with Jesus. It would have been easy for the artist to put John in the water with Jesus, but John is intentionally drawn as standing on dry land. I’m not sure how to interpret this except to say that this baptism is all about Jesus.
  • Visually, the artist depicted John as being completely dry. The lines that make up his body run in every direction. Up, down, crisscross, diagonally, etc. On the other hand, Jesus is drawn under the water  as represented by the water flowing over him. Except for his specific facial features, nipples, abdomen, and belly button, everything else is drawn vertically and seems to represent the water flowing over him.
  • John is just using his hand and seems to be getting a lot of water to pour from that method. This again leads me back to the idea that there is more than just water flowing over Jesus, but it is your Holy Spirit flowing through the water that is pouring from John’s hand.
  • Jesus’ face looks sad, and John looks very serious. I don’t know why the artist chose these facial expressions. Perhaps the artist was thinking about what was about to come in Jesus’ live over the next 40 days?
  • Jesus is clean-shaven with a nice haircut, and John has long hair and a beard. This certainly shows a difference in the style of the two men.

I intentionally didn’t read Bustard’s description of this piece until after I had gone through this exercise. Here is what he had to say about it:

Baptism (after Otto Dix)

Dix (1891-1969) was a German artist, painter, and print maker know for his harshly realistic depictions of the brutality of war; but his post-World War II work was largely religious in nature. This linocut is based on Baptism of Jesus, a lithograph from Matthäus Evangelium. Art historian James Romaine observed that the Holy Spirit is funneled through the hand of John like a sieve, baptizing Jesus in both water and in the Spirit. About the Bible, Dix is quoted to have said, “You have to read every single word. For the Bible is a wonderful history book. There is great truth in all of it. Most people don’t read the Bible, but reading the Bile, reading it as it is, in all of its realism, including the Old Testament: It’s quite a book. Quite a book, you even say it is the book of books…simply magnificent!”

5950-2

Reading Bustards description reminded me of something I noticed, but forgot to mention. I am a believer in both the baptism by water and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I think there is good evidence for it in not only the book of Acts, but in my life as well. This image shows that both water and the Holy Spirit were involved in Jesus’ baptism, with Bustard’s interpretation making that point a little more obvious than the original.

Father, help me to remember today that I am covered in your water, in your Holy Spirit, and in Jesus’ redeeming blood. Help me to remember that I am not only covered by these things, but filled with them as well. I am no longer my own. I am a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. Help me to remember that.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , , ,

Mark 10:1-12

Mark 10:1-12 (NLT)

 Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”

“Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”

But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

10 Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

Dear God, I wonder why the Pharisees picked this topic to trap Jesus. There were a lot of things they could have asked him about. Why divorce? What were they hoping he would say? Were they trying to get him to say that divorce was okay so they could pounce on him? Was one of them wanting a divorce? It seems like a weird thing to ask him.

“He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts.” When I think about it, this is a surprising line. Why would Moses (or you through Moses) have made this concession in the first place? Is there a point that my hard heart/stubbornness can change your law?

Then I have to ask myself where my own heart is hard? Are there beliefs that I have that I stubbornly hold onto for selfish/self-indulgent reasons? Just because Jesus mentions in verse six that “God made them male and female,” I wonder about the gay marriage thing and if the belief that is spreading in our generation that gay marriage is biblically okay is an example of this hard-heartedness. I have certainly evolved on this issue over the course of the last 20 years. Is that me finding truth, or is it the hard hearts winning?

Well, I probably just touched the third rail of theological topics there, so I’m going to move on and wonder what other areas in my own life might be driven by a hard heart. The scary thing is that I can’t immediately think of any. That scares me because it makes me think I am likely blind to my own stubbornness.

Father, help me to hear your voice. Help me to know your truth. Help me to accept your will and submit to it. Help me to stand up for your Kingdom.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2019 in Mark

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – Loving God with all of my Understanding (Mark 12:8-34)

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Dear God, I was in mass yesterday and these verses were the Gospel reading. I noticed something for the first time in verses 30 and 33. Part of the commandment as stated in the Old Testament and by Jesus is to say that we should love you with all of our mind. The scribe, however, changes that word to “understanding.” I looked it up in a couple of translations, and the change is consistent. Frankly, this change helps me a little, and it should help each of us receive your grace as we work out our faith with fear and trembling.

To say that I love you will all my heart, strength and UNDERSTANDING is big difference. The word understanding, for me, implies that there is grace for my limited mind. As long as I am giving you all that I have in the understanding department, then I am fulfilling what the commandment meant when it said to love you with all of my mind.

Father, help me to understand you better, and reveal to me where my understanding is flawed. I am sure that there are parts of my theology that have been corrupted by thousands of years of errant teaching that has been handed down from one generation to the next—mostly innocently, I’m sure. Help me to break beyond that and to feel your presence with me as I evaluate any given situation and submit myself before you and your throne.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Emails to God – Bartimaeus’ Bad Week (Mark 10:46-52)

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Dear God, something new occurred to me yesterday as I heard about this story in church. Bartimaeus was about to have a very difficult week. On a scale of 1-10, I would imagine that this day was a 15 for him. How can it get any better for a blind man than to be given his sight. Amazing. He figured he would follow this Jesus guy because there must be something to him. Jesus really was the Son of David that Bartimaeus had hoped he was.

Then came Friday. If Bartimaeus followed him into Jerusalem that week then he had to live through Friday. He must have at least been in town when Jesus was beaten and taken up to Golgotha. I wonder how all of that hit him. He knew, tangibly, who Jesus was and yet he saw him killed. How did he respond that day? What was Saturday like for him? Was he around when Sunday came? The pastor yesterday said that some scholars believe that because we are given his name and his father’s name then they believe he was part of the early church. If so, then I’m sure he was a disciple who had seen it all. But if he gave up on Saturday then he missed the greatest victory in history.

Father, I face challenges. I am facing challenges today. Through my faith in you, I refuse to give up. I refuse to leave the game early. There is a great victory in the midst of these setbacks, and I want you to know that I am going to stick with you through them. There was ultimate victory for the Israelites in Egypt. There was ultimate victory for Jesus (and, subsequently, for me) in the Passion and resurrection. Now, there will be great victory in these things too. The victory might not look like I expect it to look, but I will trust that you are in control and your will will be done. I submit myself to that will and ask that you allow me to come along for the ride.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

Tags: , , , , , ,