If Jesus asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” what would you say. Unlike James and John, who last week asked Jesus to do for them whatever they asked, Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus for Mercy. His simple prayer comes not out of a selfish desire for his own advancement, but from the simple knowledge of his need for Jesus to be at work in his life.
‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!
‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him,
‘Lord, let me see again.’
In those few words lie one of the simplest and most beautiful prayers in all of scripture. If only this was a prayer that we too were willing to pray.
What a world it could be if we were to dare to pray in the same way. For only when we dare to let Jesus open our eyes can we see things as they truly are. In what area of your life I wonder would you like Jesus to open your eyes so you could see more clearly?
‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Jesus says to Bartimaeus. Immediately he regains his sight and follows him on the way. Jesus promises the same for you and me too. Why not ask him and see for yourself?
Til next time Andrew
In a world that is constantly yelling at us that success and greatness come from working your way to the top of the heap, we shouldn't be too surprised at the request made in our Gospel reading this week, by James and John , of Jesus.
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." (Mark 10:35-37)
Perhaps one of the reasons we shouldn't be so easily shocked is because all too often we are guilty of praying the same way. Instead of "Thy will be done", we pray, "Lord this is how you are going to make it work." No wonder it seems like Jesus doesn't always answer our prayers! Effective prayer comes, not by imposing our will on God, but by seeking His way of doing things.
As Jesus so often does he turns their request for greatness on it's head. "You don't know what true greatness looks like", he tells them. "True greatness looks like this;
"whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." ( Mark 10:43-44)
True greatness comes only when we are willing to serve others in the same way that Jesus did and Jesus’ way is the way of the cross! “Are you willing to go that far?” he asks James and John.
“Take up your cross and follow me”, is what he asks of us too.
Well! What about it then? Are you willing???
Till next time.... Andrew
The story of the Rich Young ruler is one of those stories that is so familiar to us that we can be in danger of missing the point. For the point of the story is not so much about what the rich young man has but about what he has not. For even with all the wealth and ability and success in the world we cannot buy or earn our way into the Kingdom of God. What this rich young man lacks is the humility to accept that the one thing he most wants is the one thing that he can't win or earn for himself. For eternal life comes not as a reward for our own efforts but as a free gift of love from Jesus the giver of life.
It's not what the rich young man owns that stops him from receiving Jesus' invitation. Instead it's all the stuff he has that owns him. Notice that Jesus doesn't condemn the man for his wealth. Instead he looks on him with love and asks him to put all the stuff aside for something even better. It's a bit like spring cleaning really! The reason Jesus tells this young man to sell all his stuff is so that he has room in his heart for all the fullness of life that Jesus has for him.
The question for each of us is; What are we hanging onto that is stopping us from fully receiving all that Jesus is offering us? Time to do some clearing out don't you think?
Till next time... Andrew
The contrast can't be more clearer and it can't be more alarming either.
The picture in our Gospel this morning is of;
Children accepting Jesus with simple love and faith
Adults with hidden agendas who think that Jesus would get along a lot better if he did things their way.
The Pharisees try once more to trap Jesus into saying the wrong thing and get himself into trouble over the question of divorce. The disciples get carried away with organizing Jesus' busy schedule by chasing away some families who have brought their children to Jesus to be blessed. But Jesus is quick to put the situation right and expose the hypocrisy of those who would try to manipulate him.
“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15)
What about you? Do you make faith hard or do you keep it simple?
Will you try to get Jesus to do things your way?
will you love and accept him with all the love, trust and awe of a child?
Till next time... Andrew
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Come and see for yourself.
This weeks Gospel contains the the same simple call to faith as last week. "Follow me" Jesus says to Phillip. Phillip follows as willingly as Matthew did last week and is so excited that he can't wait to find his mate Nathaniel and tell him all about it.
“We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” (John 1:45)
Matthew and Phillip both have the advantage of a first hand encounter with Jesus. Nathaniel has not yet had the chance and is not so sure about downing tools to follow someone he hasn't even met, especially considering where comes from . “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” ( John1:46 )
“Come and see for yourself.” Says Phillip. ( John 1:46 )
On meeting Jesus, Phillip is quickly convinced and responds with one of the earliest statements of faith in the Gospels. “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49)
Till next time
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills