This is a recap of the first sermon in our current series: Jesus & People
As a society, we have an empathy deficit. Ours is an age of fake news, undocumented families being ripped apart at the border, enormous economic inequality, and vitriolic political rhetoric. In this series, we will look at Jesus to help us learn to see others with the love, compassion, and empathy that he embodied. Mark 10:46-52 gives an example of Jesus and the broken.
1. Bartimaeus was broken.
Everyone in Jericho would have known Baritmaeus as a poor, blind beggar. In Mark 10:48, we see the crowd treating this marginalized man with contempt. Contemporary Jewish literature said things like "it is better to die than to beg" (Sirach 40:28). Many in the crowd likely felt that this broken man would do better to give up and die than be such a nuisance to them as they tried to see Jesus.
2. The broken cry out to Jesus.
Because Bartimaeus was a broken man, marginalized in his culture, he had nothing to lose. When he heard Jesus was near, he cried out "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (v.47). His cry of desperation is a profound prayer that we should learn from.
- "Jesus" - God made himself available to Bartimaeus in the incarnation. He could call out to God because God made himself present and gave himself a name in Jesus.
- "Son of David" - Bartimaeus recognizes that Jesus is a King in the line of David, the promised King who would put things right again in Israel. Jesus was that King, but his throne wasn't golden. His throne was a wooden cross.
- "Have mercy on me" - As a broken man, Bartimaeus understands his relationship to Jesus better than those who are wealthy, strong, and capable. He knows he is broken, poor and needy and speaking to the King of kings. His prayer is a plea—not for his rights—but for Christ's mercy.
3. Jesus heals the broken.
Jesus responds to Baritmaeus's request to see again in v.52: “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Bartimaeus’s brokenness makes him throw himself on Christ’s mercy by faith. He doesn’t trust his own strength, ability, intelligence or goodness. He doesn’t have any of those things. He only has his brokenness. And THAT is why he trusts Jesus alone! His brokenness leads to faith. And it’s that faith that Jesus says leads to his healing.
Reflection & Application Questions
- It can be easy in our day to think about social issues in the big picture, but fail to treat individuals who are hurting and marginalized with dignity and love. The crowd treated Bartimaeus with contempt—who are you tempted to treat that way? What kind of person is especially hard for you to love?
- Do you believe Christ will answer your prayers? He promises to in John 14:13-14. What stops us from believing in prayer's power?
- Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus in prayer because he was broken. How frequently do you find yourself broken before the Lord in prayer? Why?
- What is your greatest need right now? Take a moment and ask God for his help in prayer.
- In what ways do you tend to rely on your own strength rather than put your faith in Christ alone? How can you grow in faith and decrease your tendency to self-reliance?
- Bartimaeus started the story on the side of the road; he ended the story healed and on the road, following Jesus. How is God calling you to follow Christ on the road of your life right now? How is calling you to grow as his disciple?