Sunday, October 25, 2015

Called Out of Darkness: What We Need to Follow Jesus on the Way

Year B • Track 2 • Proper 25

Jeremiah 31:7­9 • Psalm 126 • Hebrews 7:23–28 • Mark 10:46–52

                           Come, Holy Spirit, and kindle the fire that is in us.
                            our lips and speak through them.
                           Take our hearts and see through them.
                           Take our souls and set them on fire. Amen.

The Question
What do you need to follow Jesus? What do you need to follow Jesus more closely, more consciously, and more faithfully? That’s the question we are going to wrestle with today. What do we need to follow Jesus?

This question is directly related to the question that Jesus poses in today’s episode: “What do you want me to do for you?” It’s a simple, straightforward question. Yet how one answers this question has profound implications for the life of discipleship. Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus is a blind beggar, so his answer does not surprise us: “Master, let me see again” (10:51). Jesus is merciful and grants his request: “Go; your faith has made you well,” and immediately, Bartimaeus regains his sight.

How remarkable, not simply because it happened immediately, but because it happened at all. Of course, we are not surprised that Jesus restored his sight; this has become all too familiar. But sometimes we need to pause and reflect because, despite its familiarity, it is still remarkable. Can you imagine what it would have been like for Bartimaeus to receive his sight, to be called out of darkness into light, to see the face of the one who just gave you sight?

That being said, today’s gospel is not only about the recovery of one man’s sight. For notice how the story ends. After Bartimaeus regains his sight, he follows Jesus on the way (10:52b). Jesus had said, “Go,” but Bartimaeus followed. So, today’s episode is not simply a miracle story, it’s also parable, a parable about discipleship.