I want to thank you for allowing me to come and speak to you this morning. Red Springs Baptist Church holds a dear place in my heart. For several years before moving to Seymour, I knew and worked with the RA leaders here. When my boys were younger I can remember attending and speaking at a RA Lock-In here at your church. We have a picture of Leah and I standing in the parking lot out front on the night of a Father-Daughter Banquet which was hosted here by the GA’s. When we first moved to Seymour, before becoming established at Calvary, our kids came out for Wednesday night activities and in the summer for VBS. You all have been a tremendous blessing to our family.
Since moving to Seymour, I have had the great pleasure of being involved in Bible Study with some of the men from your church. I took part in a study through Wayne Grudem’s systematic theology while Brother Aaron was still here. I learned much from our discussions and from the wisdom of guys like Larry Bandy, Brian Allen, and Toby Arnold. During Brother Cody’s tenure as pastor, our group studied through a book about idolatry and then went through Paul’s letter to the Romans. I was delighted by the thoughts and insights of Gabriel and his boys. Red Springs has been like an extended family for me.
As I thought about what message I would bring today, the Lord led me to a familiar passage. It is the story of Bartimaeus found in Mark 10:46-52. If you have been a Christian for a long time, there is probably nothing that I will say this morning that you haven’t heard a thousand times before. I am not going to dazzle you with fresh interpretations and/or contemporary understandings of Scripture. I am simply going to preach the old, old story because we can never hear it enough.
I. HIS CONDITION (v46)
As Jesus and His followers were passing through the city of Jericho on their way to Jerusalem they encountered a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He was sitting by the road, likely just beyond the city gates. Day after day he would ask those who passed by for money to provide for his basic needs. He was poor and blind - an outcast of society.
The name Bartimaeus has a fascinating etymology. The prefix “Bar” means “son of”. Thus, this name literally translates as “the son of Timaeus”. In this passage, the Bible introduces him as “Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus” which, on its face, seems rather redundant. However, this repetition may be intentional as name Timaeus has 2 possible translations.
If the name was derived from the Greek word “time” it describes something that is dear, valuable or honorable. If it was taken from the Hebrew word “tame” then it means to become unclean. Either of these roots words, or indeed both of them, provide a fitting description of Bartimaeus. He was “the son of honor who had become unclean”.
II. HIS CRY (v47)
When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus passing by, he began to cry out for mercy. Obviously he was somewhat familiar with Jesus’ reputation as a healer. Perhaps he had heard the many wonderful stories about Jesus and the amazing miracles that He’d performed. Maybe he’d even met or spoken with someone who had been healed by the Lord earlier. Bartimaeus knew that, in this moment, the Savior was near and that he might never have another opportunity to be healed. Now was the time and this was his chance to meet Jesus.
During this time, most people that blindness and other such impairments were the just consequences of sin. Those who suffered with physical handicaps were thought to be deserving of their fate. Bartimaeus realized and accepted the unsettling truth that he was a sinner, which is why he cried out for mercy. He had offended God and knew that he didn’t deserve the Lord’s favor, but he sought it anyway.
III. HIS CRITICS (v48)
When Bartimaeus began to cry out, the crowd immediately tried to silence him. They sternly warned him to be quiet and to leave Jesus alone. They reasoned that someone of Jesus’ status should not be burdened by an insignificant roadside beggar. They probably thought that Bartimaeus was undeserving of the Lord’s mercy. Why would Jesus care for someone like him?
The more they insisted that he be quiet, the louder he cried. Rather than letting his critics silence him, Bartimaeus shouted out all the more. He knew that Jesus was compassionate and forgiving, unlike the callous naysayers in the crowd. He refused to shut up or acquiesce to the demands of those who wished to keep him silent.
IV. HIS CALLING (v49)
When Jesus heard him shouting out over the crowd, He stopped and called Bartimaeus to come. This was it! The moment that he’d been waiting for. Some of the people told Bartimaeus to ‘take courage”, to “stand up”, and to go to Jesus. It must have taken tremendous courage to approach the Lord, especially with everyone watching and some looking down on him, but Bartimaeus didn’t care about their worthless opinions.
V. HIS CHEERFULNESS (v50)
Having received the call, Bartimaeus didn’t hesitate. He immediately jumped up and rushed to Jesus. His didn’t second guess himself or try to talk himself out of it. He didn’t put it off for another day or wait to think about it some more. He heard Jesus calling and cheerfully hurried to answer the call. He threw “aside his cloak”, probably one of the few and most important things he owned, as if to say goodbye to his old life. Jesus was all he needed now.
VI. HIS CURE (v51-52a)
Jesus knew that Bartimaeus wanted to be healed, yet waited for him to ask. When Bartimaeus did so, Jesus immediately spoke and the blind man was cured. Jesus said, “Go, your faith has made you well.” Clearly it was not his faith that brought about the miracle, but rather the power of Jesus who acted in response to Bartimaeus’ faith. Jesus didn't act until after Bartimaeus expressed his faith.
VII. HIS COMMITMENT (v52b)
Having regained his sight, Bartimaeus began following Jesus. He left Jericho behind and started down the road to Jerusalem along with all of the others who were traveling with the Lord. His encounter with Jesus was more than a one-time event, but rather the beginning of a lifelong commitment. Bartimaeus was forever changed, and not just physically. His life had taken on a whole new meaning and purpose. He had become a follower of Christ!
The story of Bartimaeus has a universal application to every person who has or will ever live. Like him, we are all sons and daughters of honor. We have been created in the image of God and each of us is infinitely valuable to Him. That said, we have also become unclean as the result of our own sinfulness. All of us have broken God’s laws and become spiritually blinded. As a result, we are unholy, unrighteous, and deserving of condemnation. In our sin we are hopelessly and helplessly separated from God.
But I have great news! Jesus is near and today is your opportunity to cry out to Him for mercy. This may be the last chance you ever have. Don’t let it pass you by. Acknowledge the fact that you are a sinner, that your sin has blinded you and kept you in darkness, and that your only hope is salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. Cry out to Him while you still can!
Ignore the voices that you hear in your head telling you to be quiet. They are lies from the pit of Hell. Jesus does care for you! Jesus longs to save you! There is absolutely nothing that can separate you from His great love. There is no sin that He won’t forgive. Don’t let this world keep you silent. Don’t let Satan tell you what to do.
Jesus is calling right now. Scripture says that today is the day of your salvation. Be courageous. Be brave. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Stand up right now and run to Him. His invitation has been extended. It is open. So throw off the things of this world and put your past aside. It is a new day. Sprint down this aisle and bow your knee joyfully before Jesus because He alone has the power to save!
The Lord Jesus is able to save any sinner who will turn to him in faith and repent of their sins, but He will not save those who do not ask. Jesus acts upon the basis of our faith, which is why the Bible tells us that we must confess Him as Lord and Savior. It is a public declaration. If we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will be ashamed of us before God the Father.
Finally, realize the true salvation isn’t an event, but rather the beginning of a lifelong commitment. When a repentant sinner turns to Jesus in faith and becomes a born-again believer, they enter into a relationship with the God of the universe. From that point forward, they are expected to obey, serve, and mature in Christ. There is no going back to those carnal things which came before, but instead a wholehearted faithfulness and allegiance to Jesus.
My friend, Jesus has the power to cure your spiritual blindness today. How do I know? Because many years ago He cured mine. And even though I’ve made many mistakes along the way, He has lovingly forgiven them all, and I continue to follow Him down this straight and narrow road. I can say without any doubt that it has been the most incredible journey of my life.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see!"