TEXT:  Mark 10:46-52 
THEME:  Christ removes our spiritual blindness that we may   be enabled to serve Him.   
TITLE:   "Open Our Eyes, Lord"

Series B
 23rd Sun. aft. Pentecost 

Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
October 26. 1997

INTRODUCTION

(Dreamed of Words:  "This is Publisher's Clearing House...you've won $ 10 million!   The Genie in the lamp says, "You get three wishes!"  Jesus says to Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?"   How would we answer that question?)

 

I.  OFTEN WE TOO ARE LIKE BLIND BARTIMAEUS, OUR BLINDNESS NEEDS REMOVAL!

 

            A.  We often have faith in Jesus Christ, but sit idly by the roadside of ministry and let

                 others do the walking.

                        1.  Like Bartimaeus we know who Jesus is.

                                    a.  He shouted out a clearly Messianic title:  "Jesus, Son of David!"

                                                1.)  In Matthew the people of Jerusalem used this title to greet the

                                                      Christ on Palm Sunday.

                                                2.)  He who bore this title was the one foretold to sit on the throne of

                                                      David, forever!

                                                3.)  Clearly, Bartimaeus is identifying Jesus as THE Christ.

                                                4.)  It is ironic that a blind man should see so clearly what many sighted

                                                      people could not!

                                    b.  Secondly, Bartimaeus calls Jesus "Rabbi" - the only use of this specific term

                                         in all of the New Testament.

                                                1.)  This is an intensified form of the term, meaning "My Lord Teacher".

                                                2.)  He is indicating that Jesus is no garden variety, run-of-the-mill Rabbi

                                                      ....He is THE Rabbi of all Rabbi's.

                        2.  When Bartimaeus is summoned, he immediately jumps to his feet and encountered                                          the Savior and was healed from the terrible blindness that afflicted his life.

                                   

            B.  Many today acknowledge who Christ  is, but who remain seated at the side of the road

                 not becoming involved with Christ in a very personal way.

                        1.  They have a form of faith that is always in a "receptive mode" only.

                                    a.  Here only to receive the blessings of God, but are usually not available for

                                         service.

                                    b.  Here without an understanding of the corporate nature of the Body of Christ

                                         that demands interaction with the rest of God's people in the arena of the

                                         Church.

                                    c.  Mistakenly understand the Church as a place just for "Me and Jesus" and not

                                         a community of faith.

                        2.  We offer one excuse after another for our one-dimensional faith:

                                    a.  "Perhaps another time when I'm less busy with my career, my family, or                                                    weekends elsewhere.  Maybe then I'll have time to be involved."

                                    b.  "I really like the work schedule I have and even though I could change it, I                                                 really don't want to make that sacrifice to be at worship with God's people."

                                    c.  ILLUS:  Sometimes we have a Beau Geste, view of the church  (# 177)...

                        3.  Like Bartimeaus we need to respond to God's call, "On your feet, He's calling you!"

 

            C.  Like the disciples of Jesus, we have faith, but do not seek to include others into the                             family of God who seem "different" than the rest of us.

                        1.  When Bartimaeus made his presence known, others tried to keep him quiet.

                                    a.  Perhaps they only wanted "able bodied" people who would be no bother.

                                    b.  Maybe they concluded that Jesus just wouldn't be interested in a blind man

                                         when there were so many "normal" people who needed Him.

 

                        2.  Do we make the same kind of mistake when we assume that the Gospel invitation

                             should be extended only to those with whom we are most comfortable?

                                     a.  Jesus' interest is for all people to have eternal life:

                                                1.)  The homeless

                                                2.)  The unemployed

                                                3.)  Single parents

                                                4.)  The addicted/drunkard

                                                5.)  The aids patient

                                                6.)  The homosexual

                                                7.)  The convict

                                                8.)  The poor

                                                9.)  The inconvenient

                                    b.  No one is excluded, no one is of less value; all have need of Christ!

 

II.  THE LORD MAKES US WHOLE!

           

            A.  Lord help us to have stronger a faith in Your love and mercy.

                        1.  Jesus alone is the "Lord Teacher" of our lives.

                        2.  Jesus alone is the Son of David, the Promised One in whom all life, hope and

                             salvation resides.

                        3.  It is the faith that He graciously gives us that heals the blindness/hurts in our lives,                                     and the selfishness that plagues our relationship with Him and His Church.

           

            B.  The Lord, will help us to encourage those who need encouragement:

                        1.  Moves us to reach out to those who need Christ:

                                    a.  To touch the lives of the unloved and the unlovable with His love that

                                         covers all imperfection. (Who is not flawed in this assembly?)

                                    b.  To have a heart that sees with compassion the stakes of eternity is on the

                                         line.

                        2.  Moves us to encourage and support others to be involved in the mission of the                                     Christ's Church:

                                    a.  To show by our own example that involvement in Word and Sacrament is of

                                         critical importance in our own lives.

                                    b.  To do all that we can to help others  become full partners in the Church,                                                fellow walkers on the journey of faith.

                                    c.  To speak from the heart to those who are seated at the side of the road who

                                         have become disconnected, uninvolved, and inactive - care enough, love

                                         enough to speak from the heart.

 

            C.  Lord, help us to praise God as we go down the road together.  (Luke 18:43)

                        1.  Praise God for the removal of the darkness/blindness of our sin.

                        2.  Praise God for the faith and eternal life He gives us through His call!

                        3.  Praise God for the opportunity and honor to be at work in His Kingdom - Not a

                             drudgery, not a burden...BUT the joy of our lives!

 

CONCLUSION

 

ILLUS:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed by the Gestapo at the Flossenburg concentration camp on April

9, 1945.   Book:  The Cost of Discipleship, wrote of the concept of "Cheap Grace".  Cheap grace is the false notion that discipleship, work in the Kingdom is not necessary, only faith.  Forgiveness without repentence or reforming of one's life.  Sometimes even grace without the cross was included.  Today I urge everyone to listen to the call of Christ to trust in His mercy.  But let us also listen to His call to get on our feet and remain at the side of the road no longer.  To do what He has called us to do!  To bring the glad tidings of, "Cheer up!  Take heart!  He is calling you!"  In His name. Amen!

 

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