TEXT: Mark 10:46-52
TOPIC: Right Responses
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
Sunday morning, August 9, 2009
I’m preaching this morning a message that has to be one of the oldest sermons in my sermon files. I first preached this message on April 25, 1982 while I was in my first pastorate at the Hibbit Baptist Church, in Whitesboro, Texas.
I will never forget the day when an old college mentor, who was also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Landrum, S.C., Dr. C.W. Farrar gave me the outline for this sermon. Dr. Farrar had influenced me to go to SWBTS in Fort Worth, Texas, and on this particular day he was sitting behind me in chapel.
After the chapel service we stood together talking for a few moments when he asked me, “Do you need a good sermon?” (Everyone knows that a struggling seminary student in a new pastorate always needs a good sermon!) Anyway, Dr. Farrar proceeded to quote to me the five points of this message. Though I did not write them down I easily remembered them and used them to develop my own sermon and promptly preached it the following Sunday in that small, Seminary training church in north Texas.
I’ve changed the title of the message for us today. I’ve entitled it, “Right Responses.” It is about a man who made right responses. When presented with the opportunity, this man, blind Bartimaeus made the right decisions.
We live in a world today in which we often hear about what is wrong, and the wrong decisions people make in life. It just seems that it’s the negative news and wrong decisions people make that gets the headlines. Often those wrong decisions have a devastating impact even upon others.
ILLUSTRATION: Such was the case this past Tuesday evening in Pennsylvania where a deranged man walked into a LA Fitness Center and opened fire on innocent and helpless women, killing three and wounding numerous others. (August 4, 2009)
Although we live in a negative world, where people often make the wrong choices, the wrong decisions, few are as deadly as the one I just described. But there is one choice, one decision that if we make the wrong decision will have a destructive and a deadly impact upon our lives both in this world and the world to come throughout eternity.
It is important to make the right response when it comes to Jesus Christ.
Such was the case of blind Bartimaeus. (Read Mark 10:46-52)
46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 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!” 48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Mark 10:46-52 (NKJV)
There are valuable lessons to learn from this man Bartimaeus. His name is made up of two Greek words that together indicate that Bartimaeus was not only blind but that he inherited his blindness from his father. The prefix “Bar” means son or son of, and “Temaeus,” which resembles “tuphlos,” means a blind man.
He is a man who was born into a dark world. His only livelihood came from being a professional beggar. There was no welfare system in his day, or food stamps or Medicaid.
He’s not even known by his own name. Here is a blind man, the son of a blind man. He was blind, a beggar, but here’s the good news, he was also born-again on the day he met Jesus!
What did Bartimaeus do that we all also ought to do? Blind Bartimaeus did at least five things that we need to do. Five right responses we need to learn and practice with frequency.
First, we should learn to listen just as Bartimaeus is found listening in our text today.
1. LISTEN, Mark 10:36-47a
46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
We see here Bartimaeus’ perception. Because he was blind, it is very likely he had other senses that were more dominant such as his hearing. Verse 47 tells us when he heard that it was Jesus.
As a blind beggar Bartimaeus’ ears would have easily heard the parade of people that accompanied Jesus as he left Jericho that day. You can imagine the friendly noise, the laughter, the running and playing of children following Jesus and His disciples out of Jericho.
Maybe someone asked, “Who is that?” Perhaps another said, “It’s Jesus.” We don’t know. But what we do know is that somehow Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus because he was listening.
One of humanities common problems today is that we don’t listen as we should. We don’t listen because we are too busy talking, and often, talking about the negative.
The truly wise among us have learned to talk less and listen more. The bible tells us, Be still and know that I am God.
Are you listening to know God today? Are you listening to hear the still small voice of God? God is speaking all around us. We need to listen to hear His voice.
When we hear that Jesus is near, we need next to pray.
2. PRAY, Mark 10:47b
he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Bartimaeus prayed. He prayed for mercy; mercy, the undeserved goodness of God, mercy the loving kindness of the Father.
Someone has said that “prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.” Most of us pray during times of great need. Bartimaeus prayed for God’s mercy. I’ve met lost people who tell me, “Preacher, I pray all the time.” May I tell you that the Bible says that the only prayer of the lost that God will hear is the sinner’s prayer for forgiveness and salvation!
Often the Bible uses blindness as a spiritual comparison to lostness. Jesus told the Church at Laodicea, Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
(Revelation 3:17, NKJV).
Jesus healed a blind man who gave this testimony, One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25.
Not only should we pray, but like Bartimaeus, we need to pray to the right person.
3. PRAY TO THE RIGHT PERSON, Mark 10:47b, 48b, 51
“Jesus, Son of David,…“Son of David,…The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni,”
Notice the essence of Bartimaeus’ prayer:
1) He prayed through the name of Jesus, v. 47, Jesus, Son of David,
He acknowledges Jesus to be the Son of David which was a common Messianic title. So Bartimaeus prays to the One he believed to be the Messiah or Savior.
2) He also prayed respectfully, in verse 51, The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni,”
Rabboni can mean “Sir,” a term of respect or even “Lord” a term of devotion.
3) Verse 48 informs us that he prayed to Jesus with a sense of urgency and persistency. Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more,
ILLUSTRATION – I once heard Dr. James H. Smith recount the story of his salvation. As a young boy, Smith grew up in West Texas during the days of the Great Depression. He attended a small local church and was a member of the Bible class. During the church’s Unified Revival Meeting, young Smith told another member of his class, I’ll go if you go. The boys’ SS teacher had told his class he wanted 100% of his members present and committed to follow Christ.
So young Smith went forward during the invitation with the rest of his SS class. The Pastor asked a series of questions to the young boys to which he must have given the right answers. So Dr. Smith, as a young boy, was baptized a dry sinner and came out a wet sinner.
Later Smith moved to Alabama with his family where his sister was saved at 15. Because she was being baptized in a creek, Smith thought he also ought to be baptized. Once again, he went into the creek a dry sinner and came out a wet sinner.
Then in August of 1939, after graduating from high school, Smith was so burdened emotionally about his salvation that he recalls kneeling at the mourner’s bench. He kept praying over and over, “O God, save me.” After awhile a church deacon knelt with him and told him, “Hold on, son, just hold on.” So there he was, praying at the altar, “God save me,” and trying to hold on. Then the Sunday School Director knelt beside him and told him, “If you want to be saved, you have to let go.” So he prayed, “O God save me,” while trying to hold on and let go at the same time.
Then the pastor decided to speak to young Smith. The pastor’s spiritual counsel was a question, “Have you seen the light yet?” Now more confused than ever, Smith is praying “O God save me,” holding on, letting go, and trying to see the light.
Finally, Smith said a red haired woman knelt beside him and told him, “James, the bible says, ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ If you will simply trust Jesus Christ as your Savior you will be saved.” And for Smith, that was what he needed to hear.
After many, many years, Dr. James H. Smith simply tells sinners to trust Jesus by taking Him at His word and they will be saved.
Oh, we need to pray to the right person. And the right person is Jesus Christ.
4. PRAY FOR THE RIGHT THING, Mark 10:47b, 48b, 51b
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!….but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” …. The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
Bartimaeus prayed for the right thing. As I said earlier, he prayed for mercy. Before he asked for his eyesight, he first prayed for mercy in verses 47 and 48.
We often pray for God to get us out of a jam, to help us get out of trouble, before we pray for salvation. But mercy is the primary blessing.
I love how verse 49 describes Bartimaeus’ moment of salvation. So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
In the O.T., we can read about the great miracle when God caused the sun to stand still. But an even greater miracle occurs each time the Son of God stands still and calls us to Himself.
On this day, as Jesus left Jericho, the Son stood still for a poor blind man. Bartimaeus never forgot that day when the Son stood still for him. I’ll never forget that day when Jesus, God’s Son stood still for me!
Finally, He listened, He prayed, He prayed to the right person and he prayed for the right thing, and he prayed at the right time.
5. PRAY AT THE RIGHT TIME, Mark 10:46-47a
46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out….
Just as Jesus was passing by, Bartimaeus cried out, Jesus, Son of David, Have mercy on me!” This would be the last time Jesus would be in Jericho, for He was on His way to Jerusalem where he would be crucified.
In spite of the large crowd and the discouragement he received, he cried out. Verse 50 tells us Bartimaeus cast off his outer garment, lowered his head and drove his feet, moving toward the voice of Jesus. 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
He rose and came to Jesus, another right response for Bartimaeus.
Have you come to Jesus? If not, you need to make the right responses just as Bartimaeus.
- Listen for the moment when you hear that Jesus is passing by.
- Pray, and
- Pray to the right person, to Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, and
- Pray for the right thing, ask Him to save you, and finally
- Pray at the right time. Today is the day of salvation. Do not pass Him by.