Our hearts stir with the many stories of bold and courageous people in the Bible.
We admire and are greatly inspired by the Patriarch Noah, heard the command of God, who stood alone built the Ark in the face of enormous unrighteousness.
We admire Abram for leaving his homeland to follow the Lord.
We applaud Moses for marching in before Pharaoh with God’s demand “Let my people go!” We love to hear of young David going out to meet mighty Goliath.
Well, we look at God’s approach to Joshua, who is about to take over in Moses’ place. God’s first words to Joshua are about courage. Three times in his address to Joshua, God repeats the challenge for all to hear “Be strong and courageous.”
Courage is needed when the task is big–and this task of communicating the Gospel is immense! God says, in effect, “Call Israel together; cross the Jordan; conquer the cities; overcome the enemies; resist their gods. Yes, the enemies of the Gospel will be many and will be fearsome, but you, I, must be courageous!”
Courage has always been a necessary quality among the people of God. Standing up in the face of opposition for the sake of God’s righteousness in a society that freely accommodates itself to evil takes courage.
Communicating and spreading the true gospel of Jesus Christ in a culture that wants to say any religion will do, takes courage. Allegiance to Jesus Christ in a world that is often against the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ takes great courage.
David’s confidence, immense courage in the Lord in the face of his enemies –
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
“Thou preparest a table before me in the face of mine enemies.”
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”
“Thou anointest my head in oil, my cup runneth over.”
Paul’s charge to his friends in Corinth applies to us all. “Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NCV).
Mark 10:46-52Amplified Bible
Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting beside the road [as was his custom]. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and say, “Jesus, [a]Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly rebuked him, telling him to keep still and be quiet; but he kept on shouting out all the more, “Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called the blind man, telling him, “Take courage, get up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni (my Master), let me regain my sight.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith [and confident trust in My power] has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Throwing his cloak aside, [the blind man] jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
The expression “in a nutshell” describes an important point that can be shared in just a few words.
Did you happen to notice that in the VERSE about the ‘BLIND’ Bartimaeus “THROWING HIS CLOAK ASIDE, HE JUMPED UP and HE CAME TO JESUS.”
this series of actions includes a critically important detail!
Bartimaeus’s cloak was probably his only possession, and he needed it for his meager life sitting around on the side of the road, on the fringes of society.
DAY IN AND DAY OUT! EVERYDAY WITHOUT CHANGE!
AS WAS HIS CUSTOM …
HOW MUCH COURAGE DOES IT TAKE FOR US, THE CHURCH, TO SIT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, DAY IN AND DAY OUT, EVERY DAY, AS IS OUR CUSTOM?
Bartimaeus was blind and could not see what people might toss to him as they passed by, so he would have to spread some of his cloak on the ground to catch the small bits of food or gather the small number of coins that he might receive.
Then he would have to search, to feel around the cloak, find the offerings on the cloak. In other words, he needed his whole cloak in order to gather his income.
At night he would wrap the cloak around his body for warmth. It was his bed.
His courage was essentially what he searched for every day on his spread cloak.
So, to THROW HIS CLOAK ASIDE without thinking about it …. represented what?
What did that moment of ‘throwing the source of his courage aside’ represent to the Blind Bartimaeus?
Throwing his cloak aside … the cloak which served critical purposes for him …
Covering his nakedness? Collecting his source of income? His food for the day?
Throwing it aside … to who knows where, … to who knows who …
Exposing himself before those who he could not see, every last vulnerability?
“For the absolute shame, which was ever before him, which he could not see?
“For the absolute shame, which was ever before him, WHOM he could not see?
The absolute courage to stand there at the risk of ultimate public humiliation?
The absolute courage to stand there and either be arrested for indecency or to see, to be healed and made whole by his faith in Jesus whom he could not, see?
By the way, wow old was Bartimaeus? What season, stage of life, was he living?
Every age, every season of our lives carries with them different vulnerabilities!
How long had Blind Bartimaeus been Blind? From birth or from what age?
Physically Blind or Spiritually Blind?
If “spiritually” blind – for how long, to what effect, affect, on his faith in God?
How long had Bartimaeus been customarily sitting by that customary roadside?
How long had Bartimaeus been customarily waiting to finally “jump up?”
How old are we now? How long have we been, like Bartimaeus, “customarily” waiting by our “customary” roadside, to shed our own “customary customs?”
What would it take for the Peanuts character Linus Van Pelt to stop sucking his thumb, carrying his security blanket over his shoulder – as was his “custom?”
Does Linus Van Pelt ever give up on his custom of philosophically sucking his thumb?
Does he ever give up on his customary “I always carry my blanket” philosophy?
When Jesus called the first disciples, they left everything behind to follow him (Mark 1:16-20; 10:28).
Similarly, blind Bartimaeus stands up, leaves his “security” cloak behind as he jumps to his feet to come to Jesus, to have his life changed, and to follow Jesus.
This is the gospel in a nutshell. Bartimaeus leaves his security blanket behind as he jumps up, comes to Jesus, gains his sight, follows his Savior into his new life.
What “customs” do we still “customarily ” still carry around with us – on the side of the street, we customarily sit at every day – waiting for Jesus to come?
Are we really ready to do as Blind Bartimaeus did – shed all of our “customs?”
Are we genuinely ready to expose all of our “nakedness/vulnerabilities” before a world we cannot see to communicate a Gospel, so few ever wants any part of?
Job 1:20-21Amplified Bible
20 Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. 21 He said,
“Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb,
And naked I will return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Cheer up! Jesus is calling you too!
But not just “cheer up”
The Gospel promise of God is this: Jesus is absolutely coming back!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
O Lord, my Salvation, I am blind to the world around me. I know there are issues to face, temptations to withstand, and enemies to meet. You gave us the Gospel! Give me a courageous heart, that I may be firm in my obedience. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Dear Jesus, in your mercy and with your grace, restore my “sight,” please give me new life. Help me to see that following your call is the way to live each day. Amen.