Christ Gives Us The Confidence To Stand
Concert with Joel and Mark
Full Service Video
Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus (Listen)
46 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. 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 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 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.” 52 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.
This is my canoe paddle. A lost my other paddle, and since I only have one it doesn’t work very well as a canoe paddle. It does still work great as a tool of intimidation. Walking around with this I could probably chase you from the building if I wanted. But this would only work if you believe that I might actually hit you with the paddle. If you are confident that I would never do that you probably would have no problem sitting in your seat. It would be hard for me to chase you out of the church if you are confident that I would not actually swing the paddle. Confidence gives you the ability to stand or in this case sit.
When Jesus calls to the blind man the crowd says to the blind man in the English “be of good cheer” but in the Greek it literally translates “be strong, or good courage.” This phrase can easily mean either, “be of good cheer,” or “be bold.” It shouldn’t surprise us that the same phrase can mean either boldness or joy. Those who are confident about the future are generally cheerful and those who are afraid are not. If you can be confident about tomorrow, you can enjoy this day that God has given you.
Here in our text is a man of great confidence, of great courage. Look how Mark empahsizes this man’s confidence.
He keeps calling out. He will not be silenced. When Jesus calls for him he throws off his cloak. That is a very bold move, especially for a blind man. He doesn’t walk hunched over wrapped up in his cloak. He walks in confidence, even though he is blind, to Jesus. When Jesus asks what he wants he doesn’t hesitate or doubt that Jesus can do it. This is a man of confidence. But his confidence is seen above all in in this that he calls Jesus “son of David.”
When the blind man hears that it is Jesus, he calls out, “Son of David.” He gives to Jesus without hesitation the true title of Messiah. This does not happen often in the gospels. In the gospel of Mark it is the only time. The Gospel of Matthew tells us of three other times. Many come to Jesus for healing. Few are willing to name him “Son of David.”
But this man does not hesitate to name Jesus for who he is. To name him correctly and confidently. Jesus “son of David.” Even when the crowds try to hush him, he cries out even louder “Son of David.”
The crowd tries to keep him from crying out to Jesus. Either because they think that a blind beggar is beneath Jesus’ notice, or because they do not like the fact that the blind man is calling him, “The son of David.” It doesn’t really matter why they try to keep him from Jesus, only that they are. If the man was not sure of whom Jesus was, he may have easily given in to their hushing. Just as those who are not sure that I will not swing the paddle may easy give way before it. But the blind man in confidence cries out louder, “Jesus Son of David.”
Satan would love more than anything to cast doubt in our minds concerning who Jesus is. Once we doubt who Jesus is. It is easy for Satan to separate us from Him, to lead us astray.
Paul reminds us in Eph 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
If we are weak in our knowledge of who Christ is, Satan can deceive us. If we are children in his word we will easily give into the crowd. If we are confident in our confession, we stand firm. If we have grown up as adults in His word we can not be tossed about.
James reminds us James 1:6-7 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Consider those who doubted and what happened to them. How easily Satan lead them away from Christ.
Satan lead Eve to doubt who her God was and she was lead to the eat the fruit.
King Ahaz was not confident in God and lost the opportunity to see the wonder of God. Isaiah the prophet came to King Ahaz and told him he could ask anything he wanted from God. Ahaz responded, “I will not tempt the Lord.”
Since the reformation is upcoming, we can consider the difference between Melanchthon and Luther. Melanchthon Luther’s right-hand man. Many thought that he would lead once Luther died. But Melanchthon wasn’t confident in who his God was. He was pushed back and forth by waves.
On the other hand, think of those who approached God without doubt. Abraham who kept asking for the city of Sodom. Moses who stretched out his rod over the red sea and saw dry ground. Joshua who walked around the walls for seven days.
This blind man if he had given in to doubt might easily have been swayed by the crowd to remain silent and never seen the power of God in his life. But because he was confident in who Jesus was, he cried out all the louder and received sight. This blind man took his place with Moses and Joshua and Abraham as a hero of faith.
No wonder James says to “ask without doubt.” With confidence in Christ we too can stand as heroes of faith, but if we give in to doubt Satan can easily drive us from Christ.
Where did the blind man get such faith?
It is evident from out text that he was confident in whom Jesus was not because of what he saw but because of what he heard. He was a blind man.
The disciples had an advantage over us. They saw the miracles, the resurrection, the mount of transfiguration. This man saw nothing. He like us only ever heard about Jesus. Yet he shows greater confidence, greater faith, even than the apostles.
It is through hearing that we have confidence to stand in Christ
Joh 17:8 “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
It is God’s word alone that can create such confidence as this man has
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
By hearing the blind received faith as a gift of God. By faith he knew who Jesus was. In that confidence he stood and called to the Jesus as the “Son of David.”
What effect did this have in the blind man’s life?
Jesus changed his life, not only giving him sight but leading him in a new way. What does our text say?
“Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Most of the time when we hear of a miracle that Jesus did, it is very impersonal. Ten lepers, a Canaanite woman, a blind man, a lame man etc., these people have no names. But here Mark is very specific. Not just a blind man but Bartimaeus and not just Bartimaeus but “the son of Timaeus.” This implies that this was someone the people Mark is writing to knew, or at least might meet. It implies that he was a part of the church.
Jesus says “Go your way,” and the blind man says “My way is your way.”
As Peter said, “to whom shall we go.” Where else should we go?
God called this man to faith and give him the confidence to stand on this faith. But such confidence does not last on its own. We well know how easily we can stand confidently one day and fall the next. This man follows Jesus in order to continue to receive the strength to stand. He follows Him to receive faith. He follows Him to stand. He follows Him to see His resurrection. And in Jesus this man does stand, so that so many years later the church still knows his name and knows him as a brother.
Christ gives us the confidence to stand and rejoice. Amen