Giving Ear To The Voices

6 Oct

This is another example of why the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for every tribe, tongue, race and nation:

“And they came to Jericho.  And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’  And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.’ And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.  And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to him, ‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight.’  And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way, your faith has made you well.’  And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)”

This is a story of a man who was blind.
This is the story of a man who was oppressed; commanded to be silent.

Bartimaeus was an outsider, a blind beggar who sat alongside the road. He was probably looked down upon, and considered to have been stricken by God with his blindness for some sort of sin (John 9:1-2). Then, one day, Bartimaeus hears that Jesus of Nazareth is walking by, and he cries out to Him.  Yet, he does not merely shout out the name of Jesus.  Bartimaeus calls Jesus the “Son of David.”  Despite his physical blindness, God had enabled Bartimaeus to recognize Jesus’ lineage.  He knew Jesus was the Messiah, the one who was to come.

And while Bartimaeus could see who Jesus was, no one was listening to him, nor did they want to hear him speak. The rest of the people tried to silence Bartimaeus.  They commanded him to be silent, rebuking him for speaking out. Jesus, this healer and teacher from Nazareth, was about to come by and they did not need the blind man making a scene.

This is a story about Jesus Christ.
This is the story of a God rich in power, mercy and grace.

But Jesus calls out to Bartimaeus.  While everyone else is deaf to the man’s cries, or trying to silence him, Jesus hears him and beckons that Bartimaeus come to Him.  The blind man springs up to his feet and over to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” asks Jesus.  This man is asking Bartimaeus what he wants!  This man, Jesus, wants to hear from the blind man!  Bartimaeus asks that he might recover his sight, to which Jesus replies, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.”

This is a story about the healing power of the Gospel.
This is a story that calls us to recognize the voices around us.

Jesus heals the man.  Jesus saves the man.  Sōzō, the Greek word for “made well” points to both healing, as well as deliverance or salvation.  Just as Bartimaeus is healed by Jesus Christ, we too are healed by Him.  In the Gospel we receive every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ. In suffering on the cross as a sacrifice for our sin, Jesus accomplished salvation for all.  And as we are drawn to God’s grace in the cross and the empty tomb, that salvation is applied to us and makes us well.  The Gospel heals.

Yet, the Gospel enables us to heal in another way.  There are people who, like Bartimaeus, have been silenced by the majority.  There are people who have been looked down upon and judged.  They might be the Latinos who work in your city.  They might be the Hmong families who live in your neighborhood.  They might be the Somali students who go to class with you.  Have you heard their voices? Do you know what they are saying?  What they are feeling? What they are looking for?

We serve a God who cares for the afflicted and the oppressed (Ps 22:26, Ps. 140:12).  We have been transformed by a Gospel that gives us eyes and ears to these people.  We can bring healing as we come to them and listen.  We can bring healing in advocating for them and empowering them to speak out.  By proclaiming the Gospel, we not only proclaim spiritual healing and salvation to all who are drawn, we proclaim emotional healing to all who yearn to be heard and recognized in a society that so often fails to do so.

Give ear to the voices, bring the Gospel to them and see yet another work of God displayed (John 9:3).



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