Tag Archives: faith

FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

“Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

“To all at Rome who are loved by God and called to be His holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:5-7.

What a power-packed greeting — the whole gospel in a nutshell, packed into two paragraphs!

In his address, which was the typical way in which ancient letters were written, Paul gave his own credentials; the subject of his letter; and the credentials of his recipients.

Since he was not personally known to the Roman church, he introduced himself to them as a servant and an apostle, set apart by God to deliver His good news to the world. But was Paul not a son of God, like everyone else who believed in Jesus? Of course he was! That was his standing before God, but from his point of view he was a servant. In another letter he described himself as a servant of God, a servant of the gospel and a servant of the church.

Paul was not subservient. He was as an apostle, one sent by God with a message and with authority, but he served God, the gospel and the church in his capacity as an apostle. It was not his right to do things his way. Since his apostleship was a calling from God and his authority delegated by God, he was first and foremost accountable to God for the stewardship of his calling and gifts.

Everything he had and did came from God, both the calling and the grace to carry it out. He was in a partnership with the Holy Spirit. It was not his right to call the shots; to make the decisions about where to go and what to preach. If he encountered trouble and persecution on the way, he was to stick to his calling and trust God for the grace to obey.

His apostleship gave him the right to declare and explain the gospel to the Roman church. He stood alongside the other apostles to whom Jesus had given the commission to place His yoke on those who believed in Him, His way of interpreting and living out the Torah — God’s teachings about Himself, them and the way to live.

The subject of his apostleship was the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the centre of everything, wherever Paul went and whatever the circumstances for him. Unfortunately for Paul, Jesus was a hot potato in the Jewish, Greek and Roman worlds.

To the Jew, Jesus was hated as an imposter and blasphemer because He said He was the Son of God. He angered the Romans because He challenged Caesar’s claim to be the son of God and the Greeks despised Him because He just did not fit their philosophical system. Their gods were powerful and despotic, not weak like Jesus who died on a Roman cross. That was nothing but foolishness to them.

And what of Paul’s readers? However they viewed themselves in the middle of all this antagonism and suffering, from God’s point of view they were His holy people, called and passionately loved by Him, the objects of His special attention, who provided both grace — everything they needed to be who they were — and peace — the outcome of being justified, declared not guilty because Jesus paid their debt.

How much both they, (and we), needed Paul’s reassurance in a world gone crazy! It is easy to doubt that we are God’s beloved children in the filth of the world around us. Just like the believers in Paul’s day, society today is just as rotten with violence, greed, promiscuity, corruption and every other kind of wickedness now, as then, and it is only getting worse.

Like lilies blooming in the swamp, we are God’s beautiful recreation, and we need to keep it in mind constantly lest we also be sucked into the cesspool of sin around us. In the midst of it all, we are called to be obedient to God because of our faith in Jesus. Much more than an intellectual assent to some teaching or other, faith in Jesus has brought us into fellowship with a holy God and requires us to be separated from sin and separated to Him.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

HANDCRAFTED BY THE MASTER

HANDCRAFTED BY THE MASTER

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 8-10).

What a different picture from the one Paul painted in the previous verses! We are no longer dead and stinking but alive to God and objects of His grace and favour. How sad that religion drives many branches of so-called Christianity. What do I mean by “religion”? Religion flourishes by rules and ritual. Religion is a “do-it-yourself” attempt to reach God or to satisfy the perceived demands of a god.

Even believers in Jesus often erroneously think that their response to what God has done for them is to “work for God”. But God’s word tells a very different story. God sent His Son into the world to rescue us from the plight sin put us in, not for our sake but for His sake. He wanted a family of sons and daughters bound to Him by love, not a group of slaves bound to Him by fear.

He did everything necessary to bring us back to His original plan because of His mercy. We did nothing to deserve His grace and we can do nothing to earn it. He did it for Himself so that the minions who rebelled against Him would be confronted with the truth – God is love.

Humans find it difficult to accept a free gift so great that it transfers us out of the devil’s clutches and places us in the hands and under the care of a gracious Father. We would rather attempt to repay God for His kindness in some futile way which does not impress God at all. God is not a tit-for-tat God like the gods of the heathen. If you do this for Him, He will do that for you. Everything He did to save us from self-destruction, He did for Himself, and He gives is to us as a free gift of His grace.

But that does not mean that we simply take everything and give nothing back. As sons and daughters of God, there is a response He requires of us, but it is not a response of repaying our debt. It is the response of the children of God who adore their Father and serve Him out of love and gratitude.

A study of the gospels will reveal that there are five characteristics of a true son which Jesus mirrored in His life on earth.

  1. A son loves his father

A religious leader once asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment?” to which Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Love for God is the atmosphere in which a son of daughter lives.

  1. A son trusts his father

If there is no trust between a father and his child, he then lives like a slave in fear. Love and trust are the basis of the other three characteristics of a son or daughter.

  1. A son submits to his father

Jesus is the perfect model of a submissive son. Even when He faced His greatest battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, He submitted to the Father’s will, and not with gritted teeth but with love and trust.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

  1. A son obeys the father

A son does not grudgingly obey or give in to the father under compulsion. Obedience is the hallmark of love. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love me, you will do what I command you.”

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 1 Hebrews 5:8-10

  1. A son serves his father

This is not the service of a servant but the service of partnership, doing the Father’s will with Him to fulfil the Father’s greater purpose of establishing His kingdom on earth.

The good works of which Paul speaks are not random acts of kindness because we feel sorry for people in need. They are the integrated actions of God’s people which reveal His character to an ungodly world. When we live in harmony and fellowship with the Father, He will reveal His will to us and enable us to carry out His plans in partnership with Him to bring a wayward family back to Himself.

Whatever it involves in the way of acts of compassion and kindness towards others, God wants to reveal Himself through us so that those who have been deceived by the devil into hating God, will see Him in us and turn to Him in faith.

Paul said that we are God’s masterpiece, handcrafted by Him to carry out His will on earth by doing what He planned for us to do long before we were born.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

 

10 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

10 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 NIV

Paul’s declaration puts the gospel in the centre of all the kingdom powers at our disposal to overcome the world. Everything we have in Jesus Christ is made available to us because of the gospel.

Two words in Paul’s statement above form the foundation of this good news that reverse everything that came on mankind because of Adam. These two concepts are righteousness and faith.

RIGHTEOUSNESS

The gospel is about God’s righteousness. He did everything right to restore us to Himself. It’s also about our righteousness without which we have no access to Him.

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26 NLT

Since God did the right thing by punishing a righteous man on behalf of the unrighteous, He is able to forgive our sin, declare us “not guilty” and give us the righteousness that allows us to approach Him without fear or guilt.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV

FAITH

Faith in what God has done through Jesus to reconcile us to Himself is the only way we can receive the gift of forgiveness and the righteousness He freely offers us. Faith receives what God supplies.

Anything we try to add to this free gift immediately cancels the gift and puts us under obligation to please God by our own righteousness. However, since God has already declared our rightoueness inadequate to satisfy His perfect standard, if we try to go it alone, the only alternative is to face His wrath and judgment.

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” Isaiah 64:6 NLT

Can you understand, then, how powerful the gospel of Jesus’s death and resurrection is to change our lives and our destiny?  Nothing else can do what faith in the blood of Jesus has done.

The problem arises when we try to add, subtract or change the gospel to make it more palatable to ourselves or other people. Satan will do everything he can to distort the gospel and rob it of its power. Anything that takes away from the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus weakens the gospel and makes it ineffective to save people from their sin.

It makes sense, then, that Jesus entrusted His message to the men who would receive the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Through the Spirit who would lead them into all truth, they would accurately interpret His death and resurrection and open the kingdom to those who believe.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be  loosed in heaven.”  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Matthew 16:19, 21 NIV

The keys Jesus was to give them were the truths about His sacrifice that would set believers free from the bondage of wrong beliefs (loosed on earth) by binding on them the truths of the gospel (bound on earth).

Before we examine some of the issues that detract from the centrality of the cross, let’s look at the gospel message Paul preached.

“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NLT

What did Paul battle in his defenSe if the gospel?

  1. Another gospel

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Gal. 1:8-9 NIV

In Paul’s day, some of the Jewish believers, especially the Jewish religious leaders, were trying to convince Gentile believers that, to be Christians, they had to become Jews first by being circumcised and obeying the Law, . Paul called this a substitute gospel.

The result, for Paul, was frightening.

“Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” Galatians 5:2, 4 NLT

Jesus plus anything else cancels grace.

  1. Foolishness to the unbeliever

Outside of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, the gospel makes no sense to the unbeliever. It takes the power of God’s Spirit and the faith He gives, to receive the message about Jesus in its simplicity.

“Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 NLT

  1. Unbelief keeps people in darkness

Unbelievers are held captive to the devil by the lies they believe. Only through the work of the Spirit can they recognise the truth of the gospel.

“If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God… For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 6 NLT

  1. Clever preaching and eloquence that robs the cross of its power

The power of the gospel lies in the simplicity of truth, not in the eloquence of the preacher.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 NIV

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 NLT

  1. Some preach out of impure motives

This is a relevant issue today. In Paul’s day, some preached the gospel to increase Paul’s suffering.

“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.” Philippians 1:15-17 NLT

Paul’s motive, on the other hand, was to bring people to know Christ through the power of the gospel.

“We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.” 2 Corinthians 4:2 NLT

  1. Some preach for personal profit

Money is a powerful motive for people in the ministry today. Preachers are some of the wealthiest people on earth. Their excuse is that money is their reward for what they do. They extort money from vulnerable believers through guilt by preaching the “faith” message.

They drive huge charity programmes with other people’s money while they live lavish lifestyles on the money that they get from people  by promising great return on their “seed”.

Paul’s response is simple.

“You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.” 2 Corinthians 2:17 NLT

  1. Some use a variety of methods

All kinds of methods are used to create a ” seeker friendly” environment instead of trusting God’s way of reaching unbelievers.

“Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” 1 Cor. 1:21 NLT

How, then, will anyone ever come to salvation through faith in Jesus and the message about His death and resurrection? Why does God not need our help to get anyone saved?

“But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).”

In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach:

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”…

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:6-11, 13 NLT

For the Apostle Paul, the power of the cross was the centrality of his message and his life.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”Galatians 6:14 NIV

This is the simple message that looses us from every yoke that is based on lies and binds us to the yoke of Jesus which sets us free from sin and empowers us to live in His kingdom as true sons and daughters of God.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – WHO IS IN CHARGE?

3 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – WHO IS IN CHARGE?

 Now that we have finally settled the issue of who is in charge, we have our first weapon against the devil’s lie that he is in charge – TRUTH.

Our immediate response to adversity should never be, “I am under attack.” Wrong focus! Our first response should be, “I am being tested.” Who is testing me? Definitely not the devil. He has no authority to do anything without Jesus’s permission.

Why am I being tested? To find out whose word I believe. Do I believe the TRUTH that Jesus is in charge, or do I believe the lie that Satan controls my life? Jesus will continue to test us in this area until our automatic response is confidence in the love, goodness and power of God, no matter what.

When we are finally secure in the conviction that Jesus is in charge, we can begin to explore the power given to us to respond positively to every test.

We have two resources at our disposal, God’s TRUTH which tells us what the real issues are in every situation, and God’s PROMISES which show us what He intends to do if we trust Him.

We also have two channels through which we access those promises, FAITH, our only connection with God in the unseen realm, and PRAYER, our direct access to God to tap into the resources He has made available.

We have already briefly commented on faith as the only thread that connects us to God. Without the confidence that God is who He says He is, loving, faithful, reliable and trustworthy, and that He will do what He says He will do, prayer would be a waste of time.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NLT

Today, we take a closer look at prayer because it is only through prayer that we have direct access to and contact with God.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT

“So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT

From the many studies we have done on prayer, let me summarise the Bible’s perspective rather than what we have learned from others.

  1. Prayer is, firstly, changing our awareness. We deliberately turn our thoughts away from the earthly circumstances we are embroiled in to contemplate the glories of the one whose help we are seeking.
  1. We can only approach the Father on the authority of Jesus (in His name). He has given us power of attorney to use His name ONLY if our prayers meet the requirements of His character and will.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:12-14 NLT

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” 1 John 5:14-15 NLT

  1. Our motive for asking for help is to protect our unity with Him and to glorify His name no matter what it costs us. Look at Jesus…

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!  Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” John 12:27-28 NLT

“He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:35-36 NLT

Whenever we effectively engage the power of God in any situation, the outcome reflects back on God.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

  1. Having established that Jesus is in charge and that we have help available for every situation we face, now we turn to the Word and the Promises and ask for discernment to engage whatever resources are available in God’s realm (kingdom) to resolve the situation for our good and His glory.

The New Testament gives us many examples of the way Jesus went about dealing with seemingly impossible earthly situations by engaging the kingdom’s resources. Just one powerful example comes to mind, the feeding of the five thousand.

“Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”  He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.” John 6:5-6 NLT

Jesus was already convinced of the Father’s character and will. He (the Father) would never send people in need away to seek help elsewhere.

Jesus showed His faith in the Father by giving thanks for the food available in His hand. He acted on that confidence without hesitation.

“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.” John 6:11 NLT

Please understand that I am not giving you a check list to tick off but rather showing you how to develop a mindset that responds to challenges rather than reacts in panic.

John wrote an absurd statement which is impossible to achieve UNLESS we do it by using the resources God has given us to overcome the world.

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So, we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence BECAUSE WE LIVE LIKE JESUS HERE IN THIS WORLD.” 1 John 4:16-17 NLT

How is this possible? We’ll discover how as we go along.

What I have done so far is to lay a foundation to enable us deal with the whole variety of challenges we face in our lives in this world. I have discovered that every challenge and every test has a specific resource that God has provided for us to overcome the world (the way the world thinks and reacts) in the problems we face and turn them into opportunities to shine the light on God.

In the next few weeks, we’ll explore every resource and find out how to apply them as situations arise. I would love you to add to the list as you recognise, in the Word, what God has provided for you to overcome the world.

Scripture  taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – “I WANT TO SEE!”

“I WANT TO SEE!”

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. Mark 10:46-52

What did it mean for Bartimaeus to be noticed by Jesus? It seems that the only time he was ever noticed was to be silenced or to be chased away. His calls for mercy produced irritated voices telling him to shut up but he refused to be silenced. This was his one chance in a lifetime and he was not going to miss it. Jesus might miss it  in the din of excitement the crowd was making.

What did Jesus hear?  If the noise was anything like the din our indigenous people can make, there was no way He could have heard him with His natural hearing. Bartimaeus must have surely been on the edge of the crowd. He would not have risked getting mixed up with pushing, jostling people. But in the midst of the din, Jesus’ ears caught the cry for help. His heart connected with the desperate call and He stopped. “Bring him to me,” He commanded.

The attitude of the people changed dramatically. Instead of trying to shut him up, they now became patronising. Instead of ignoring him and treating him like scum, all eyes were on the blind beggar. Notice the reporter’s comment, “Throwing his cloak aside…” Why did he do that? Didn’t he need it any more or was it a symbolic act? Was he tossing aside whatever got in his way of getting to Jesus?

His cloak was his beggar’s licence to beg. When he threw it away, it was an act of faith in Jesus’ willingness to heal him. He would no longer need it when his sight was restored.

Willing hands now guided him through the path the crowd had opened up for him. Perhaps he knelt reverently in the dust, sightless eyes looking expectantly into the Master’s face. He heard the gentle voice, “What can I do for you?” and, without hesitation he responded, “I want to see.” Jesus only spoke, nothing else. No touch, no spit, no mud as at other times. “Go! Your faith has made the connection.” Instantly the darkness vanished, the mist cleared and he stared into the most loving, compassionate and gentle eyes he had ever seen. He was smitten forever. He not only saw but he SAW and he followed. Never did he want to be parted from Him again.