This Sunday @ RVPC

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Sunday Morning Worship (9:30 AM)

Sermon Text (Mark 10:46-52): 

“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.” (ESV)

Here we see a miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ that has a lot to teach us. First, look at Bartimaeus’s condition – blind, reduced to begging by the roadside. Is he not a pathetic picture of all of us outside of Christ? Outside of Christ we are all spiritually blind, utterly helpless, and totally unable to do anything to save ourselves.

And Bartimaeus also serves as a stark contrast to the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22). The two men could not be more different. The rich young ruler had every advantage one could imagine, humanly-speaking. And he too came enthusiastically and publicly to the Lord Jesus. He seemingly had much to offer – riches, respectability, morality, religiosity, probably even authority in the local synagogue.

And yet for all of that Mark tells us that “he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (v.22). At the end of the day, he did not come to Jesus looking for sheer mercy and salvation. At the end of the day, he loved his possessions more than he loved God, and even more than he valued his own soul! We don’t even learn his name! But we know Bartimaeus’s name, don’t we!

Bartimaeus couldn’t see Jesus, but he heard that Jesus was approaching. And that was all that he needed to hear! So what did Bartimaeus do? He cried out to Jesus. Repeatedly, unashamedly, and in spite of much opposition on top of it all! Mark tells us that “many rebuked him, telling him to be silent” (v.48). Can you imagine that? As if things weren’t hard enough for him already, there were many there with Jesus who would hinder him from coming to Christ.

And what did this poor blind beggar, Bartimaeus, say to Jesus? He cried out, “‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v.47). The text suggests that he was crying out like this repeatedly. In fact, when many in that crowd rebuked him and told him to be silent, he actually “cried out all the more” and said again “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v.48).

And what happened? Two of the most wonderful words we could ever read: “Jesus stopped” (v.49). Jesus heard the cry of this poor, helpless, blind beggar. And as much of a hurry as Jesus seemed to be in to get to Jerusalem, He took the time for Bartimaeus. Saving sinners was no interruption or inconvenience for Jesus – it was why He came in the first place! (See 1 Timothy 1:15.)

Not only does Jesus stop for Bartimaeus, but he tells those with him (even those who had just been rebuking Bartimaeus!) to “call him” (v.49). He had those who were with him deliver the good news and glad tidings to this poor blind beggar. And that is just what they did! Those who had previously rebuked him and told him to be silent now told him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you” (v.49).

That was all Bartimaeus needed to hear, wasn’t it? He threw off his cloak (his outer garment), and “sprang up and came to Jesus” (v.50)!  And Jesus, like he had done previously with James and John (v.36), asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v.51). And the blind man wasted no time in telling Jesus that he wanted to have his sight restored.

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well” (v.52). The word for “made well” there is the same Greek word that is often translated as “saved.” Surely there is a double meaning of sorts here, for while Mark tells us that his sight was restored, Bartimaeus received far more than that – Jesus saved him!

Now the Lord Jesus tells him that his faith had saved him. Strictly speaking, Jesus Himself saved him, but it was the faith of Bartimaeus by which he received and rested upon Christ for salvation. How great was his faith? Just look at what he calls Jesus over and over again – “Son of David” (v.47-48). Son of David! That is a Messianic title if ever there were one! This blind beggar, having never seen Jesus, nevertheless believed that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and Redeemer!

Not only that, but he believed that Jesus was able and willing to heal him and restore his sight! That is some great faith! And Jesus is one great Savior!

And what else? Jesus told him to go his way (v.52), but what did he do? He “followed” Jesus on the way (v.52). Following the Lord Jesus is ever one of the fruits or results of a true and living faith in Jesus. Bartimaeus decided that whatever way Jesus was going, that was going to be his way as well! As Jesus says in John 10:4, His sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice when He calls them!

And how wonderful is it that presumably the very first thing this man saw when his sight was restored was the Lord Jesus Himself! Who knows how long Bartimaeus had been blind, how long he had suffered and been reduced to begging? But now he got to see Jesus Christ! And not only that, but everywhere the gospel of Christ is preached, this man’s testimony is preached, and sinners are drawn to the Savior just as he himself had been! How many will be in heaven one day who came to believe in Christ after hearing this passage preached and taught!

Have you come to Jesus for salvation? Have you let things, circumstances, other people (even followers of Christ!) deter you from crying out to Him for mercy? Do you believe in Him? Do not delay – turn from your sins and turn to Jesus by faith! He will not turn you away. He will do as He did for Bartimaeus – He will stop and show mercy. As Jesus Himself said back in v.45, “the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We hope that you will join us for worship this Sunday, as we hear the Word of Christ preached to us from this great passage of Scripture!

Sunday Night Bible Study (6 PM)

We are continuing our study through the great historic creeds and confessions of the church. This Sunday night we will mark the start of a brief study through one of the more important but somewhat lesser known creedal statements – the Creed of Chalcedon (also known as the Chalcedonian Definition).

Whereas the Nicene Creed (325 AD) was largely combating against the heresy of Arianism (which denies the full divinity of Christ), and so sets forth a clear and thorough statement of the deity of Christ; the Chalcedonian Creed was dealing with the heresies of Nestorianism (which erred in dividing the divine and human natures of Christ) and Eutychianism (which erred in mixing or confusing the divine and human natures of Christ), and so sets forth a clear and thorough statement regarding the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

In other words, the Chalcedonian Creed teaches us how we are to rightly understand the biblical teaching regarding the two natures of Christ. As noted scholar and church historian Philip Schaff (1819-1893) puts it, “[I]t indicates the essential elements of Christological truth, and the boundary-lines of Christological error” (The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. 1, p.34).

We hope that you will join us for this helpful and informative study. Bring your Bible, bring your questions, and feel free to bring a friend!