Get Up Jesus is Calling You
Get Up Jesus is Calling You
The healing of Bartimaeus is the second healing story in Mark’s gospel where sight is restored. Why does Mark share two very similar healing stories in his gospel? What is the significance of Bartimaeus receiving his sight and what is different from this healing story versus the other?
Scripture: Mark 10: 46-52
Get Up Jesus is Calling You
Often when I read through scripture and prepare for Sunday morning a word or sentence will jump out at me. Sometimes that sentence that first jumped out at me doesn’t pan out. It’s interesting, but as I work through scripture, read commentaries and consider the times we find ourselves in the passage just doesn’t work. Still other times those words that first leap off the page at me stick all week. This week was such a week, but there was more than one passage that shot their hands up and said use me!
Fortunately, they work well together and are further augmented when we consider that today is Reformation Sunday. The first passage is this, “Cheer up! Get up, he is calling you.”
This is what the crowd said to Bartimaeus when they realized that Jesus was actually going to stop and spend time with him. Now I want to pause and consider the significance of what is happening here, but first I want you to hold onto those words that the crowd spoke, “Cheer up! Get up, he is calling you.” Remember those words.
Now let’s pause and consider the significance of what is going on here. First who is being told to cheer up and get up because Jesus is calling him?
It’s not a trick question, you know the answer. Feel free to shout it out. Bartimaeus. Yes, how do we know that? We know it because Mark names Bartimaeus. Mark tells us who this individual is and that makes this story very important. Consider that this is the second blind man that Jesus has healed in Mark’s gospel. Can you tell me the name of the first individual? Again, not a trick question.
The man’s name is never mentioned. Jesus has also healed others. He’s raised a dead girl, healed a sick woman, a paralyzed man, a deaf and mute man and a demon possessed boy. Other than being healed by Jesus they all share the fact that Mark does not give them names. But for some reason Mark names Bartimaeus and that should tell us something.
Let’s go back to Mark 8, when Jesus heals the first blind man. Between that encounter and the one we have with Bartimaeus Jesus predicts or talks about his death three times. After the final prediction of his death we have the passage where James and John ask to sit at the left and right hand of Jesus in glory. That’s the passage we looked at last week. Then we have our passage today and for the first time Mark names the individual that Jesus heals.
We have two stories where blind men are healed. The first individual is anonymous, the second is not. Sandwiched in between these two healing stories Jesus lays plain what he has come to Earth to do.
Here is another interesting tidbit about all the other healing stories that Mark has shared with us. After Jesus heals the individuals they go back to their lives. But not Bartimaeus, he follows Jesus. It is this that is the second sentence that jumped out at me. “Immediately Bartimaeus received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
Do you see the shift that has occurred as Mark is telling his gospel story? First, we are blind and we do not follow. It is only after Jesus makes things plain that we receive our sight and can truly follow Jesus. Consider that the next passage in Mark’s gospel is the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the healing of Bartimaeus is a bedrock text that we need to take seriously.
Cheer up! Get up, he is calling you. You, each one of you. Jesus is calling you.
Today is Reformation Sunday. A day when we look back to events 500 years ago and we remember the changes that occurred in the church. The traditions that brought us here. But we also remember that we are reformed and reforming.
Often when we look at the Reformation, when we think of reforming we do it with a mindset of getting back something we used to have. We need better children’s programs, so we can have a bustling Sunday School. Remember when? So many pews are empty and attendance always seems down. Remember when? This isn’t what reformation is about, this is looking back with fondness on a time that is gone. Nostalgia. Which is fine, but it won’t drive us forward.
In her commentary on this passage Karoline Lewis writes, “The church desperately needs a ‘take courage, get up, he is calling you,’ kind of reformation. A reformation with courage and heart at its center, that doesn’t sit there silently, but answers God’s call to resistance and persistence and then follows along the way. Recognizing an ecological God instead of an economical God.” (reference)
Now, here comes the ask. Don’t worry, it isn’t me doing the asking, it’s Jesus.
Jesus says to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Can you even imagine. Just consider that is only a few passages ago that James and John are asking Jesus to do whatever it is they ask. Here is Jesus saying to Bartimaeus, what do you want me to do for you?
James and John wanted to be exalted, at the left and right hand of Jesus, in glory.
Bartimaeus says, “Teacher I want to see again.”
Pastor Sara Wilson writes, “Bartimaeus’s story is … wedged between the Zebedee boys’ massive miscalculation on the nature of glory and Jesus’ apparently glorious entry into Jerusalem. Between these two manifestations of glory is a manifestation of mercy, sought and bestowed. Those who have ears to hear know which one to prefer.” (reference)
If Jesus asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” How would you answer?
At once he was able to see and followed Jesus on the road.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Cheer up! Get up, he is calling you.” Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.