Part 3

April 26, 2020


Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”


In last week’s Teen Tree, we learned that when Our Lord was getting closer to entering Jerusalem, great crowds had collected, on both sides of the road, waiting for Him. They had cut palm branches and were shouting, “Hosanna to the king!” Excitement was at a peak! As anyone would, Our Lord and Savior probably looked over the people who awaited Him. He probably took in the differing expressions on their faces. He was probably so moved to see those in the crowed who loved Him so deeply.


Maybe Bartimaeus was there – no longer in his beggar’s rags. He was the blind man whom Jesus had healed, right before He left Jericho, on His way to Jerusalem. Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus is an interesting one. What happened was that as Jesus and His disciples were leaving the city – along with a huge crowd – a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting along the roadside begging. Then: When he [Bartimaeus] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (MAR 10:47) Many people in the crowd scolded Bartimaeus, telling him to be quiet, but he ignored them and shouted even louder! Then: Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (MAR 10:49-52 New International Version)


Now sit back, relax and picture this… Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be arrested and crucified. The pressure He was under is beyond our imagination because, remember, He knew everything what was going to happen over the days that lay ahead. This was the last time He would pass through Jericho. It was one of the places that Jesus made a point to visit on his past trips to Jerusalem. Jericho was known as an oasis city. In fact, Herod the Great built his winter palace near here because of its warm climate and fresh-water springs. The Bible describes Jericho as the “City of Palm Trees.” Since Jericho catered to the rich and powerful during the time of Jesus, homeless outcasts often lined the roads in and out of town because it was a good place to encounter the well-to-do traders and political elites. So, it was a bustling city and as Jesus walked through, people were selling merchandise along the roadside, shouting to those passing through, on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover Celebration. Therefore, Bartimaeus had to yell really loudly to be heard above the noise.


It was actually against custom to shout at a rabbi, but he ignored the rule and kept yelling more; Bartimaeus was dead set on not missing his chance to be healed. As we just saw in MAR 10:47, he knew who Jesus was because he called Him “The Son of David.” That tells us two very important things about Bartimaeus: that he accepted Jesus as The Messiah and that his faith was strong enough to believe that Jesus had the power to heal him.


Now, the blind man’s friends and acquaintances tell him to stop yelling, but it doesn’t stop him. As he continues to yell, Jesus stops and says, “Call him.” Jesus could have walked over to Bartimaeus to talk with him. Instead, he tells the onlookers to bring Bartimaeus to Him. So, it ends up that those who sought to prevent the beggar from getting Our Lord’s attention, are now being asked to help in His Ministry to Bartimaeus! Think about that! Do you see how Our Lord worked it??


Then Mark adds one more important detail in retelling the events surrounding this encounter: Bartimaeus throws aside his cloak. What is fascinating about this detail, is at first glance, you might not think this small act means anything in the scheme of things – but it does. It tells us that Bartimaeus had such great faith, that he expected to regain his sight! We know this because a blind beggar would ordinarily have kept his possessions close at hand – probably inside his cloak. He obviously expected to be healed; and as with many of the other healings Jesus had performed, He could restore Bartimaeus to a place of wholeness which would completely change his status in society. His health and his economic problems (blindness and begging) went hand-in-hand. And when Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, he was completely faithful that he would no longer sit on his garment, begging for handouts from people passing by, in order to eat.


Then Jesus asked him what might seem to be an unnecessary question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Without a doubt, Jesus knew what Bartimaeus needed but wanted him to acknowledge it. Bartimaeus could have asked Jesus for a silver coin, but he went for it all and asked for his sight. By this he showed Our Lord what faith he had in Him! The lesson here for us is that we need to tell God what we really need in our lives and not hold back. The problem is some of us are ashamed to ask Our Heavenly Father for certain things because we feel embarrassed about what we’re asking for. This might be because what we’re asking Him for might seem too far-fetched or even too minor. But look at what Jesus said about asking for what you need: “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? (MATT 7:7-11 The Message Bible)


At the end of MAR 10:49-52, Jesus tells Bartimaeus that it was his faith that had healed him. God uses our faith to deliver His Grace to us. Our Lord and Savior teaches this in JOH 6:28-29 (New International Version): Then they [the crowd of people that got into small boats to follow Jesus] asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”    It is that simple!


Finally, let us look at Bartimaeus’ response to being healed by Our Lord and Savior: he “followed Jesus along the road.” When God answers our prayers, our response should be to follow His Son. Are you willing to put Him first in your life? Are you willing to get to know Him? The only way you can know Him, is to learn God’s Word. We don’t have the luxury of being able to physically follow Him, in order to learn from Him, like Bartimaeus had. However, we do have the opportunity to learn Bible doctrine under a pastor/teacher. Did you know that your pastor/teacher is sharing with you his gift from God? He is and this is taught in EPH 4:11-13 (The Message Bible) He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.


Zacchaeus was another great believer who encountered Jesus Christ on His way to His Crucifixion. This encounter was written about by Luke (who also tells the story of Bartimaeus’ encounter with Our Lord in LUK 8:35-43). Do you suppose Zacchaeus had shown up – part of that crowd waiting to see Jesus Christ pass by? The Bartimaeus’ healing had happened just outside Jericho, as Jesus approached the city. The incident with Zacchaeus happened in Jericho, as Jesus was passing through. No doubt, word of His healing the blind man had spread quickly, adding to the crowds which had begun to gather, as Jesus passed through Jericho. It was something like the triumphal entry would be in Jerusalem, in that Jesus would be enthusiastically received. But the crowds were fickle here, as they will be in Jerusalem. Those who hailed Him as the coming King were later those who cried out for His death.


{to be continued}


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