With the Father’s love and the Spirit abiding in us, we go and make disciples as the Son has declared: following Jesus and taking people with us. This series of messages provides an opportunity to remember the essence of what it means to follow Jesus. We receive love from the Father and respond with love in return. We evidence the fruitfulness of abiding in Christ through our stewardship of gifts He provides. We leverage our giftedness and fruitfulness to maximize our opportunities in declaring the good news of Jesus. Declaring the story of God’s love for His people has been and will always be central to the message of the Bible. In Christ, we have become ambassadors with a great story to tell.
It is easy for us to read the story of Bartimaeus and miss just how awkward his exchange with Jesus must have been at first. For days, he would sit along the path and beg for money. There was no hope for him other than the small gifts or alms given by a generous passerby. Bartimaeus had lost his sight long ago and now he spent his days sitting cross-legged catching coins with his robe. The crowds that week would have been quite large at times with the traffic headed to Jerusalem for Passover. All of these Jewish people were excited to gather in the capital to celebrate the deliverance God had granted His people centuries ago. Word spread that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby. With hope like he hadn’t felt in years, Bartimeaus began to cry out for Jesus’ attention. As the crowds responded with their own shouts trying to shut him up, Bartimeaus only got louder. Jesus heard Bartimeaus plea and responded with a kindness like no one before. Mark’s story of Bartimaeus serves as an illustration for what the Kingdom of God looks like for those who want to live for Jesus. The last become first and the first become last.