Let Me See Again
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Sermon based upon Mark 10: 46-52, Jeremiah 31: 7-9 and Hebrews 7: 23-28
Our scripture today concludes Mark 10 and prepares us for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Mark 11.
We have heard Jesus foretell of torture and painful death. We have heard the disciples argue over status. We have heard Jesus tell us repeatedly, “for many who are first will be last and the last will be first.”
Jesus has given a deaf person hearing, walked on water, fed thousands, cured a blind man that took two attempts (Mark 8:22-26), and healed a woman with hemorrhages. So after all this work, there are folks that try to quiet this fellow sitting on the roadside. Like somehow he was not worthy but they were?
Yet the fellow doesn’t let them quiet his concerns but instead he pleads for mercy, Jesus says to bring him. Bartimaeus springs up with has to be sheer excitement and joy that he was heard and recognized. When Jesus asks what he wants, the fellow says “Let me see again.”
With that sight is restored by faith and Bartimaeus becomes a follower. I think the key word in the request is “again.” Why does this fellow make the request to see again because that implies he once had sight and he wishes to see again. As a someone today who wears glasses, I wouldn’t mind going without.
My paternal grandmother, in her last months, would have made this request when she no longer could see while holding on to a fragile mind that was clouded with fear, dementia and serious memory loss. Perhaps being able to see, her world may not have felt so dark and alone.
This par for the course for Mark. There are classic examples of obstacles and Jesus questioning, “what do you want me to do for you?” Jesus is accessible even though this person is liking in sight and even the disciples surrounding him are lacking in sight. Yet Jesus grants the request not because of pity, but because of the pure faith demonstrated.
Mark wants follower and Bartimaeus becomes a follower. The guy has been sitting along the road for who knows how long but he recognizes Jesus and calls to him. How would you recognize Jesus if you did not know what he looked like or if you could even see Jesus?
Bartimaeus moves to follow Jesus. Why because he wants to go where Jesus is? Do you?
This is also a call story precisely because Bartimaeus calls upon Jesus and Jesus answers. We don’t always know when or where, but if we call upon Jesus, we will have an answer.
Then the reverse happens, Jesus calls for Bartimaeus to come. Jesus is getting ready to walk into Jerusalem, stops and calls the fellow to him. Jesus calls to us to come to him. So take up heart he is calling you. What would you do if you heard that call? Just sit there?
No! This one sprang up to run to Jesus! Finally someone heard him instead trying to SHSH him.
Once he comes to Jesus, ”what do you want?” What is your desire - over anything else in your life? That is a tough question for many of us because we have many eyes and many tastes, but think of the one thing you would ask Jesus - right now right here!
This is a blind person but has powerful insight of Jesus to ask for sight again.
The people around Bartimaeus under-estimated him. Who do we under-estimate in our lives having poor insight? Easily, people do this to youth or homeless but also how we do this to people we don’t agree - especially in this day of divisive politics.
What does that do - except to lower our own insight - lower our value of others, and reduce our brothers and sister to objects of our requests - instead of being children of God.
Thus this asks us what causes us to lose sight, but more importantly, how and where can we raise our insight? Think, who do we perpetually leave out so that we don’t have to see. Who doesn’t show up and why don’t they show up? What do we miss when they are not here?
I submit to you we miss a lot more than just a presence. We miss the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to be in community - to feel and to see community and church.
Thus, the phrase let me see again, applies to us today. Let me see again today what (and who) I have been missing all this time.
This call and the response requires faith. Faith requires us to overcome obstacles, whether disagreements, busyness of life, brokenness, negativity or even blindness. This an important point throughout Mark. From the very beginning, Jesus calls us to recognize the kingdom is near, to repent - as in - change our perspectives.
Let your faith guide you and your heart to what is right, what is true, and what is love.
With your faith, you can do so much because you let things develop before you - for without it, you lose.
So ask God today to let you see again and let your faith guide your call. Then you will understand Jesus when you hear, “Your faith has made you well.” Your faith will save you.
That is salvation folks. To gain sight and clarity, that is salvation. Revelation! When you see this, when you feel this, then you too might be compelled to jump up with excitement and follow Jesus with whole heart and whole faith.
Yes, faith requires us to overcome obstacles. With so much pain and anguish in her last months, faith sustained her and gave her comfort. So again, ask Jesus, “Let me see again.” Folks open your eyes and let your faith make you well.
Thanks Be to God.