Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
11 October 2020
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
(Thanks D. L. Moody)
One evening, at the close of one of D. L. Moody’s messages, two women approached him and told him that they were praying for him. This occurred on several of the evenings that followed, and finally he became a little perturbed about it. “Why do you pray for me? Why don’t you pray for these unsaved?” he asked. They told him that they were praying for him to receive power. He didn’t know what they meant, but those words kept bothering him, so finally, he went back and asked them. They told him that he needed the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. After they explained what they were talking about, he said he wanted to pray with them rather than have them just praying for him. He prayed fervently for this baptism and power. He continued to pray for it on his own.
Not long after that, he was walking the streets of New York and his prayer was answered. In the midst of all the hurried flurry of the city street, he felt the power of God coming upon him. He rushed to a friend’s house nearby and asked to have a room to himself. He stayed in that room for hours and the Holy Spirit came, “filling my soul with such joy that at last I had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest I die on the spot from very joy.” D. L. Moody then went on to be a more effective evangelist who no longer “struggled on” in his own strength. He preached to crowds of tens of thousands and led many more to Christ, without the striving of his earlier days. In his own words, “The sermons were no different, and I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience.”
Reading: Mark 10:46-52
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see”.Mark. 10:51
We are continuing to look at ‘Bruised Reeds and Smouldering Wicks’ (Matthew 12:20) by studying Mark’s account of this blind man named Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46).
Last week we mentioned that Jesus loves intercessors, meaning someone who especially prays for others. The Canaanite woman was interceding on behalf of her little daughter who was suffering terribly as a result of being possessed by a demon. Now here we have Bartimaeus praying to Jesus, asking Jesus to heal him. He is praying for himself and that’s also pleasing to the Lord. Some Christians do not think it is right to pray for themselves, and regard it as being selfish. On the contrary, when we pray to the Lord for ourselves, we are acknowledging His greatness, His goodness, His kindness, His mercy and so on. Also, rather than being selfish, we are being humble, acknowledging how much we need the Lord and His help and His Presence in our lives.
All Bartimaeus had ever asked for was money to be able to get food and the basics of life. Now he was informed (Luke 18:36-37) that Jesus was around (Mark 10:47) he started asking for something very different, not money but mercy: “When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:47).
Those who use the title [‘Son of David’] are people of no social importance, the blind, the lame, the dumb, a Canaanite woman, Galilean pilgrims, and children in the temple. It is these “no accounts,” in their need, who best perceive the messianic significance of Jesus, rather than the theologians and dignitaries of Jerusalem. What is obvious to a blind beggar and a Canaanite woman remains hidden from Israel’s leaders.
J. M. Gibbs
The ‘little people’ in Israel recognise Jesus for who He is.
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do”.Matt. 11:25
Here we have another example of Jesus reaching out to meet the needs of the poor, those who are marginalised. His compassion to the ‘bruised reeds and smouldering wicks’ continues despite the increasing danger to His own life. But Jesus is carrying out the works of His Father and speaking the words of His Father and no-one can stop this, even His ultimate work of dying on the cross!
As we have seen with other ‘bruised reeds and smouldering wicks’ there are a number of similarities in their situations, such as the wretched condition this man has been subjected to in his lifetime. If this wasn’t enough, and when the One and only Person who can help him is nearby, causing him to cry out (can also mean to scream; to shriek), he then has to deal with a large crowd of people rebuking him and telling him to be quiet (Mark 10:47-48). The Canaanite woman also had her opposition. It is a fact of spiritual life that as we get closer to Jesus and doing things His way, there will be opposition! But, as we also saw last week, with the Canaanite woman this opposition only goes to strengthen their resolve. No-one in this crowd knows what it is like to be blind like this man; they all have a much easier life than him, this makes him more determined not to be put off by them: “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48). Note the witness of Jesus as the Messiah rings out even louder and more frequently as a result of the crowd trying to silence this man. Such is the kind of persistence that Jesus and the Scriptures commends and as a result Jesus heals him of his blindness! Suffice is to note 3 points here:
(1) The centrality of faith in healing
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight.Mark 10:52
Again and again we see this as the reason for the healing, or the miracle. As a result of this man’s faith Jesus bestows a marvellous blessing upon him. He’s healed of his blindness, both physically and spiritually. And all because of his faith in Jesus cf. Mark 5:34; Matt. 9:29; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19). We are told: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). This man had every confidence in Jesus that not only was He able to heal him of his blindness, but that also, in His compassion and pity for the man, he really did want to heal him and that he would heal him. Jesus had asked this man:
“What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man responded in faith knowing Jesus was able to do it: “Rabbi, I want to see”.Mark 10:51
What is it that you want Jesus to do for you? Ask Him!
(2) A model of discipleship
(a) Spiritual insight – The disciples have again been shown to be lacking spiritual insight as just prior to the healing of Bartimaeus Jesus has predicted His death for a third time and yet we read in Luke’s version: “The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about” (Luke 18:34). Yet this man can now see both physically and spiritually.
(b) Unhesitatingly follows Jesus – Whereas the rich young ruler turned away sad and wouldn’t follow Jesus because the cost was too high (Mark 10:17-31), this man immediately followed him: “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road” (Mark 10:52)
(c) With hearts full of thanksgiving, praise, and worship – “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus praising God” (Luke 18:43). cf. Such reminds us of the man in Acts, the lame beggar, again another ‘bruised reed and smouldering wick’:
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.Acts 3:1-8
Are we still following Jesus, “walking and jumping and praising God” in our hearts or has it got a bit stale?
These people knew their sorry state and the great transformation that Jesus had made in their lives which all have spiritual parallels. We too have been healed, maybe physically also, but definitely spiritually for once we were blind but now we see; once we were lost but now have been found by the Good Shepherd; dead in sin but now alive in Christ; like a dry barren desert but now like a well-watered garden. We have this and so much more to thank, praise, and worship God for.
(3) Works that result in praise to God
When all the people saw it, they also praised God.Luke 18:43
This man saw light for the first time (presuming that he had been born physically blind – we are not told). All of us are born in spiritual darkness. Jesus is the ‘Light of the World’. He has come to shine in the darkness and overcome the darkness. The fact that this man was healed is an indication that we are in the end-times because these are works that occur as a result of the anointing and outpouring of the Holy Spirit e.g. Luke 4:18; Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28-32; Luke 7:21-23. We are also the light of the world, much smaller lights than Jesus but lights nevertheless:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matt. 5:14-16
All who follow Jesus are to bring glory and praise to God by the lives they live, the words they speak and the works they do in His name:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.1 Peter 2:12
Let’s keep praying for ourselves as well as for others and the humble cry for mercy is a key part of salvation and is part of the same journey as putting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The reality of which is that we will see the kingdom of heaven, our spiritual eyes will be opened. Let us not be put off by those who oppose the Christian faith but grow stronger as a result of opposition.
Let us reach out with the love and compassion of Christ to the bruised reeds and smouldering wicks in society and in our communities.
Let us go about the works of the Lord with hearts full of faith in Him and be a people who are praising our Saviour all the day long such that the light of Jesus, the Light of the World will shine through us and bring glory to His Father and our Father in heaven, Amen!
Quote of the Week
He could tell his children that he was wrong and ask them to forgive him e.g. one day the children let the horses our of the stable and it took him a long time to get them back. He really told them off. Finally, at night when the children were in bed, Mr. Moody went up and apologised to them for having spoken as he did. This trait is what his children esteemed more than anything else in their father.
Mrs. May Moody Whittle – his daughter-in-law on her outstanding memory of his life.
Verse of the Week
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth”.Acts 13:47
Our loving gracious, heavenly Father; Father of compassion and God of all comfort; Comfort all those who are in distress; May they know the peace of Christ, that peace that passes all understanding, that peace that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Lord, let your light shine brightly in the darkness. Where sin abounds let your grace even more abound. Lord we can all testify to the truth of the hymn: ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see’.
Lord let many, many, more people in this nation in our cities, towns, villages and communities come to know the truth of Your amazing grace and love in Jesus Christ. Lord let there be a heaven sent revival in our nation and the nations of the world. As the corona virus has brought so much havoc, upheaval, pain, anxiety and sorrow, let Your Church rise up with acts of love and compassion, doing those good works of Yours, heavenly Father, to bring glory and praise to Your name.
Lord we pray for all our loved ones who don’t yet know you, Father God, transform their lives with the love and light of Your Son, Jesus.
May Your Holy Spirit powerfully move to prepare the way for Your Second Coming. Grant the nations of the world a spirit of repentance, leading to faith and new life in Jesus. Lord in these difficult days bring glory to Your name and work all things for good to those who love You and are called by You. Make Your church strong Lord in love and unity. Bring about those good plans you have promised us, plans to bless us and do us good for Jesus Christ’s sake and glory, Amen!