May the peace of Christ reign in our heart
I once knew a young man in college who was great at sports especially ultimate frisbee.
He had a winning personality with lots of friends, and was a straight A student.
The only burden he seemed to carry was a stutter which would make it’s presence felt only once in awhile.
It would have been easy for him to turn into himself, limit his relationships, and stand by the sideline but he refused. He looked this challenge he had been given in the eye and he never let it hold him back.
At the end of his career in college the university wanted to honor him with an award. The only problem was he would have to give a speech to accept it.
He faced this challenge without fear. Now I’m happy to say he is priest doing great work. S
ome would say that having a stutter and being a priest are incompatible after all most of what a priest does is speak. God sees things differently.
I have to say it was an honor to know this young man and it was inspiring to see him overcome the challenge he was given..
I mention his story today because Bartimaeus also had a challenge. He was blind, he could not work.
He was forced to beg on the streets. He was dependent on the goodwill of others.
The gospel mentions no family or wife or children he was alone. In that culture and that time who would marry a blind man?
One scholar I read said that many people who lived in Jericho were members of the priestly class who would have been opposed to Jesus and his followers.
By reaching out to Jesus Bartimaeus risked alienating the very people he depended on to live.
Let’s look briefly at the scene and try to see what at the see Bartimaeus really did.
It might not be clear to us but when Baritmaeus stood up and started yelling Jesus Son of David he was making a profession of faith. By using the Title Son of David Baritmaeus was proclaiming his belief that Jesus was the Messiah. This was sure to alienate the people whom he depended on.
He continue to proclaim his faith in Jesus even when people rebuked him publicly.
When Jesus called him Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and ran to him.
A poor man’s person’s cloak what his also his bed. It kept him warm in the night the pockets of the cloak might have had a little bread or food they had managed to save.
The cloak was also like a poor man’s wallet. Any coins he had collected would have been squirrelled away were probably in the cloak there were no pockets in the other garments a poor person wore.
By throwing away his cloak he was risking everything he had.
Bartimaeus could have stayed on the roadside that day
He probably could have begged a lot of money from the crowd that had gathered along the road that day but he wanted more and he took a big risk to obtain it.
All of us have challenges.
All of us have weakness.
Some of us face illness and handicaps.
Some of us have addictions.
Some of us regularly drink the bitter nectar of anger or resentment
There is not a person in this church that doesn’t have some burden some sin which limits their ability to live a happy normal Christ filled life.
The question we have to ask ourselves is simply this.
Are we going to to let these things win and stay on the side of the road like Bartimaeus could have done or are we going to ask God for help.
Are we willing to make the changes in our lives needed to move beyond our limitations and our problems.
With God all things are possible. The first step is simply to ask for help or to ask for healing.