Blind Bart

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Jesus Changed the Blind—not the Big-Shot (Mark 10:17-31; 46-52; 12:41-44)

Rich. Young. That sounds like the life, right? Rich—able to do anything you want, go anywhere, buy anything. Young—your whole life ahead of you. But for some reason, a certain young, rich guy was thinking of life after death. And he wanted to know what would happen. So he went to talk with the Changemaker. “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered quite simply—keep the Ten Commandments. In other words, be perfect.

Well, not only was he young and rich, he was also proud. “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth!”

Jesus looked at this guy and loved him. That’s not what I would’ve done. I would’ve looked at him and either been very jealous or very annoyed. Who does this guy think he is, claiming to have kept all the Law? But Jesus saw beyond the outward façade and saw this man’s heart. And He knew he needed some changing. He knew he needed something more—or perhaps something less.

“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor…and come, follow Me.”

Just one thing: give it all up! Give up all that you hold dear! That reminds me of the widow at the offering box—casting in all that she had!

But this guy had a lot more than two mites. And he wasn’t about to part with any of it. So, with head downcast, he walked away.

Compare this with a guy who ran up to Jesus—even though he couldn’t see! As Jesus was leaving Jericho, later in the chapter, he passed by a man named Bartimaeus. “Blind Bart,” we’ll call him. He sat by the roadside and begged. But when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth—the One he’d heard all about from other travelers—was coming that way, he nearly lost it. He started yelling,

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He didn’t care what other people thought of him. He didn’t care if he interrupted someone’s romantic picnic. He only wanted to be heard by the Changemaker—the One who could restore his sight.

The people around him said, “Shut up!” But he only got louder.

I can picture Jesus chuckling, stopping, and saying,

“Call him.”

The annoyed people said to Bart, “Take heart and get up! He’s calling you!”

What does the blind man do? He jumps to his feet and throws aside his cloak—probably just about all he had. The only warmth for a cold night on the side of the road. And it’s not like he could find it again—blind as he was, he’d have to scrounge around on the roadside on his hands and knees all night to track it down again. But he didn’t care. He knew that once he encountered the Changemaker, his life would be forever different. He would return to pick up his cloak…with seeing eyes. And that’s exactly what happened.

“Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Only, he didn’t go back for his cloak. Instead, he gave up all he’d known and followed Christ. He did just what the rich, young guy was supposed to do—leave it all and follow Jesus. Bart did what the rich guy refused to do.

Which are you? I can tell you one thing—both were blind as a bat. Only the rich, young ruler was blind to the truth because he had too much gold piled up to see it. One of the men found sight—and he found it by faith. He flung aside all he’d known and got up to encounter the Changemaker. The other encountered Christ and decided it wasn’t for him.

What do you need to give up to follow Christ? You’re probably rich—like me and all Americans. We’ve got a lot of junk. Well, get rid of it! Throw aside all that “stuff” and choose to follow the One Who’s worth so much more than big bucks.

What is the cloak that Christ is calling you to fling off today?

-M@

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