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The Anatomy of a Cry

Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)
46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Oswald Smith wrote a song about blind Bartimaeus many years ago:

 One sat alone beside the highway begging,
His eyes were blind, the light he could not see.
He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows
Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee.

When Jesus comes, the tempter’s power is broken;
When Jesus comes, the tears are wiped away,
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.

It is a beautiful, moving story.  “Jesus heals blind man.”  We rejoice!  Every story about the miracles of Jesus inspires us, not only to praise God for his power over sickness and disease, but because we believe He can do the same thing today.  

But there is always a story behind the story.  We know about the chain of events between the cry and the healing, but I submit to you this morning that there was another story between the condition and the cry.  How did Bartimaeus find the motivation, how did he find his way out of his darkness to utter his life-changing cry?  If you say it was simple, you don’t understand the complicated nature of the cry for help.  

I know what happens, for example, between a person’s decision to step out from their pew into the aisle and come to an altar of repentance.  I know that story.  But I don’t always know how that same person got from their situation in life to the pew in the church.  What motivates a person to finally cry for help?  The greatest struggle is before the cry, not after. 

The cry for help takes many forms.  For example: 

Jogger jumps off Calif. cliff to flee attacker  (AP) – 1 day ago

MALIBU, Calif. — Authorities say a man tried to assault a Southern California jogger who escaped by jumping off a cliff and sliding about 100 feet down a steep hillside.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Derek Sabatini says the woman was taken to a hospital Friday with cuts and bruises from the fall in Malibu.

She told deputies she had finished a run at about noon at Point Dume State Beach and was standing at the edge of a cliff when she was grabbed from behind. She says she and the man struggled for several minutes before she was able to break away. That’s when the woman ran and jumped off the cliff.

Deputies say the suspect then escaped in the woman’s Toyota Land Cruiser.

A search for the suspect is under way.

Talk of suicide is often a cry for help:

I don’t know his name, but someone tried to talk him out of taking his life.  Here is his answer: 

“Yes, I have talked to a psychiatrist already. And if I’m here asking for ways to die, how well do you think that worked out in the end? I’m 21. Sure, I got my whole life ahead of me. My life isn’t bad, at all. But you know what? Everything I’ve worked for and obtained has done NOTHING to inspire any passion in me or care. I cared about having it, but once I had it, it actually helped NOTHING. A crippling depression sucks the life out of you, especially after having it for years. I’ve accepted I’m a lost cause.

Sure, I could go on to live a long life of stuff, and feel absolutely nothing about it.

There may not be completely painless methods, but there are at least drugs you can take that will put you to sleep and you’ll never wake up. Probably go with a lot of Xanax and some cheap whiskey, but don’t know if that will just knock me out for a long time or actually do the trick. I’ve got one shot at this, and if I don’t want to fail.

As for the people? I’ve already broken up with my girlfriend. She doesn’t completely understand what’s going on, I think I made her cry, but she’s got a long life ahead of her and she’ll deal with this just fine in the end. My other friends don’t know what’s going on, but they rarely have time for me anyway, I doubt they’ll care beyond the simple things like, “Oh hey, I guess he’s gone, what a bummer.” 

What is a cry made out of?  What would really motivate a person to escape the suffocating, suppressing sightlessness of his existence and scream out to God? 

For every effect, there is a cause.  For every object set in motion, something had to first set it in motion.  There must be an action before there is a reaction.  

His condition.  Bartimaeus was a beggar.  (Blind, penniless, without credibility, powerless.)

I preach a gospel that knows no boundaries.  Gender, race, skin color, background, social or economic status, education—none of that is an issue for the gospel.  

His opportunity.  He cried out for mercy from Jesus, calling Him the Son of David.  You do not ask mercy from a peer or a subordinate.  Mercy must be asked from a person in authority who has the power to determine your fate. 

His adversity.  The crowd told him to be quiet.  The blind man was a disturbance.  They had no sympathy for him.  The represented a barrier between the blind man and his healing. 

I am asking you to do some introspection with me into Bartimaeus’ soul.

This was much more complicated than just a blind man crying out for sight.

Neither his condition nor his opportunity were, in themselves, enough to elicit a cry from his soul to Jesus.

The pressure for him to remain silent was far greater than we might imagine.  He had to overcome the voices from inside his head that tried to silence him. 

First, there was the doubt that he could be healed.  People educated in this modern system have had many doubts sown into their hearts about the power of Jesus to heal.       

        I want to assure you today that the problem is not with God’s power but with our faith!  We have witness after witness of the miraculous works of God in the lives of real people—people who are in this sanctuary this morning. 

Second, there was the fear that he would not be heard.

You have no right. 

You have no standing. 

You have no worthiness.

You have no purpose. 

You have no divine plan for your life. 

You do not count. 

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

Third, there was the possibility that he would not be received

        Rejection is one of the worst emotions a human being can experience.  Jesus knows the trauma of rejection. 

John 1:11-14 (KJV)
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 6:34-37 (KJV)
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Once Bartimaeus conquered the enemies within, he had the strength and courage to fight the enemies without! 

His determination.  He cried out louder still.  Your healing does not depend on the power of God but on your reaction to the barriers that stand in the way. 

His divine impact.  Jesus stood still and called for Bartimaeus. 

His changing environment.  The crowd turned in his favor.

His miracle.  He received his sight and followed Jesus. 

What I am suggesting to you today is that your journey to Christ is much more complicated than we may understand—or even that you understand. 

        Who knows what voices you hear from your past?

        Who knows what images you have of yourself?

        Who know the depth of your self-doubts, insecurities and fears?

        We may all think we know what’s bothering you, but we may not have a clue.       

Could there have been another blind man somewhere?  Could there have been someone that lacked the courage to cry out to the Master? 

Could another blind man have heard the approaching crowd and fleetingly entertained the possibility that he could receive his miracle?  

When his opportunity arrived, did he gather his robes around him and shuffle off into the dark night, convincing himself that things could never be any different for him?

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