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.
My first time watching Star Wars versus seeing the trilogy again via the Special Edition radically changed because my whole perspective had changed from youthful ignorance to true student. One might say I became a “follower”, especially surrounding Yoda and Jedi training.
We have heard Jesus tell us repeatedly, “for many who are first will be last and the last will be first” while disciples bicker over statuses. Here is a great story to show this.
We know Jesus built a reputation with revolutionary teachings and miracles. Somehow, this blind person, Bartimeaus, on the roadside realizes that this Jesus is walking near and cries out! Then, the folks around Jesus then try to quiet him (Like somehow he was not worthy but those around him were?) He is someone who has been living on the fringes of society and isolated and pushed away. He is what some may call among “the last” despite all these people around Jesus.
Bartimaeus continues and pleads for mercy. Jesus says bring him. Bartimaeus springs up with what has to be sheer excitement that he was even heard. 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.
“Let me see again.” I think the key in the request is “again.” Why is this request to “see again” because that implies he once had sight. He wants that again. He wants to free of the darkness. As someone who wears glasses, I wouldn’t mind going without.
This par for the course for Mark’s gospel. There are examples of obstacles and Jesus’s questioning in this story. Yet, Jesus is accessible even though this person is lacking actual sight and even the disciples surrounding him are lacking sight. Yet, Jesus grants the request not because of pity, but because of the pure faith demonstrated.
1. Jesus wants followers and Bartimaeus becomes a follower. The guy has been sitting along the road (for who knows how long), but he recognizes Jesus calling to him. How would you recognize Jesus if you did not know what he looked like, or if you could even see Jesus? Good question for us here.
As well, Bartimaeus moves to follow Jesus. Why because he wants to go where Jesus is? Do you?
2. 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 this person to him. Jesus calls to us to come to him. So take up heart, Jesus 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 of trying to SHSH him.
3. Jesus then asks, ”what do you want?” What is your desire - over anything else in your life? This is not the genie of lamp with three wishes, this is an opportunity of a lifetime a moment we all could want. What is the one thing over anything else you would ask of Jesus now? 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! Can you do it?
Would you ask for a million dollars perhaps? Jesus might respond to that with, “You ask for too much.” Why because it is not about wealth and power. This is a blind person that has tremendous insight, courage, and faith 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 value of others, and reduce our brothers and sisters to objects of our requests - instead of being children of God - just lower our own insight.
Rather, more importantly, Bartimaeus remind us to use the gifts we have and now is the time to act. What will you do for God? 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 change our attitudes and our perspectives.
Let your faith guide you and your heart to what is right, true, and love.
With your faith, you can do so much because you let things develop before you - for without it, you lose.
Ask God today to let you see again and let your faith guide you. Then you will understand Jesus when you hear, “Your faith has made you well” for your faith will save you.
That is salvation folks. To gain sight, freedom and clarity, that is salvation. Revelation! It is not about health and power. 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.
This is not just about regaining physical sight but the ability to witness the truly remarkable with God’s eyes and be willing to speak to that. Be willing to call God and walk with God. We don’t have to stay in the dark because we can learn something from Yoda and the Rebel Alliance. We can learn much from Jesus let ourselves see and walk with him.
Yes, faith requires us to overcome obstacles. Ask Jesus, “Let me see again.” I say to you, Folks open your eyes and let your faith make you well.
Thanks Be to God.