Printable PDF: 11-1-2020 Reformation 2020
David R. Clark ~ Mark 10:46-52 ~ November 2, 2020 ~ Reformation
WHEN JESUS COMES TO TOWN
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 friends in our Savior Jesus,
I want to start this morning by thanking all of you who sent me cards, texts, emails and especially for those of you who prayed for me. It was truly appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am healing quickly and doing fine.
With that said, I learned a few things during the past three weeks that I never expected to learn. I learned that daytime TV is HORRIBLE! I was also amazed at 10-12 phone calls every day from people running for office. That doesn’t count the 4-5 cards in the mail every day and the commercials. It also seems that our presidential candidates think Arizona is the place to visit. Over and over again they have come to town and reporters dutifully show people excited and inspired by their candidates.
Jesus had that experience in Jericho. You know Jericho in the Old Testament as the place where the walls came tumbling down. In the New Testament Jericho had a reputation as a low city. It’s almost 800 feet below sea level, close to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. But it was also low because the people who tended to live there were not the respectable part of society. So when Jesus came to town, the people were excited and agitated and provoked and inspired.
- People got shook up!
46 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.
Being blind meant a challenging existence. Bartimaeus couldn’t work, so he begged. If he got a handout, he ate. If he didn’t get a handout, he didn’t eat. People were used to hearing him beg but they didn’t want him raising a ruckus when this celebrity, Jesus, came to town. Then Jesus shook everything up. Bartimaeus called out to Jesus. Jesus answered and everything changed.
Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and came as quickly as a blind man could. Jesus healed his blind eyes but more importantly, he healed his blind heart. The man believed and his life changed. When Jesus came to town, the gospel shook things up.
- Martin Luther shook things up.
There was blindness at the time of Martin Luther too. But the greatest blindness was spiritual. They had churches and worship services and choirs and organs and clergy but still were spiritually blind. So the church came up with all kinds of tricks to get people involved, tricks like promising people they could get their dead relatives into heaven for a certain amount of money.
Then Jesus came to town. Martin Luther learned through the Bible that people are saved by faith alone apart from anything we do and he began to preach that message to eliminate the spiritual blindness of his time. Many who were spiritually blind called out to Jesus. Jesus called them to be his own and everything changed.
Clergy preached the forgiveness of sins through Jesus and people rejoiced. Offerings were given but out of a thankful heart to Jesus. Gathering together in worship became a blessed privilege. The gospel shook people up.
- We still get shook up.
The gospel still shakes people up today. There are so many people, even spiritual people, who walk around spiritually blind. Paul describes them as (2 Ti 3:5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Without Jesus, without the gospel, they are lost and don’t even know it.
By nature we are all spiritually blind beggars. So what has happened in your life since we learned what corona virus was? Does your family worship hour have the same prominence today that it had? Do you still rejoice and participate in the fellowship of your church in whatever way you are able to celebrate it? Are the sacraments a priority? Or are you more focused on local and national elections than you are on your spiritual life? Just like those people in Jericho, we can become spiritually blind spectators – that is, until Jesus comes to town.
To be clear, Jesus is here calling each of us out of our spiritual blindness. He is here to touch our hearts and give us hope. He is here to show us the nail holes in his hands and feet, to show us the marks of his love. He is here in the sacrament and whenever two or three of us come together in his name. He is here ruling over our lives and the world for our benefit. Jesus is also here today shaking us all up through his gospel.
On Tuesday people to elect those who will be God’s servants. If you have not voted, please do so. But as important as your vote is, please do not lose sight of the most important thing in your life! One of the last things Martin Luther wrote, which was found after he died was this: “We are all beggars.” Continuing to hear the gospel of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins through him alone is what we need the most. Our focus is on restoring sight to the spiritually blind, healing the hurts of the broken-hearted, and shaking the apathetic from their indifference. That is what happens when Jesus comes to town. Amen.