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“The Man I Was Supposed To Be”

For the past 3 weeks I have begun each message with the account of a pastor that was being harassed by a homeless man at the train station as he was picking up a very important dignitary?
Here is his account:
“Can you spare 50 cents?” the beggar cried out over and over again.
Finally, the Pastor said, “Go away, sir, don’t bother us.”
The man persisted and Pastor Hayden tells us what happened next
“I got angry, and I just shoved him. And he fell off the platform onto the tracks.”
Laying on the ground…the man looked up and said,
“You should have seen the man I was supposed to be.”
You should have seen the man I was supposed to be?
As you look at this account there are two pictures of the beggar that was at the train station that day.
First: there was the beggar, asking for change from the passengers in the station.
Second: there was the broken man that was looking up from the tracks…lamenting over what he could have been.
Most of us can relate to one or the other portraits of this man.
I have a question? Are you the beggar?
Are you the beggar that has been thrown on the train tracks wondering who you could have been?
Can I ask another question? How do we rise up and walk away from our former life of begging?
Today, our teacher will be Bartimaeus
Turn with me to Mk. 10:46-52  (Click to read)
Mark writing for Peter tells us that Jesus was walking down the road in Galilee and the blind man, Bartimaeus, called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me”.
The apostles tried to quiet him, but he cried louder,
The term for crying out found in verse 48 is interesting. It meant a cry that was uncontrollable. Like the cry of a desperate animal. It was raw.
The cry had no sense of respectability. No sense of decorum. Jesus was passing by, and Bartimaeus wants to be heard and known by the Lord. He needs to be heard.
For years Bartimaeus has sat outside of Jericho and begged for scrapes of those that were going up to Jerusalem to worship God who lives in the Holy of Holies. For years he has sat on the dusty roadside cloaked in blindness and begging for alms.
For years he has heard countless others go up to Jerusalem for the Passover.
To celebrate the day that God would Passover their sins.
This day, tho, God is not passing over…He is passing by…Jesus is going up to Jerusalem to present Himself before the Father as the Passover Lamb.
The King is going up the road…and will not come by this way again.
“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me”.
Jesus stops and turns, and asks, “What do you want?”
Without hesitation, the blind man says, “I want to regain my sight”.
Jesus replies, “Your faith has saved you.” Hmmm?
Can I ask you a question?
What does Jesus’ reply have to do with Bart’s faith?
Bartimaeus has made straight the way of the King. And the King does so much more than Bartimaeus could ever ask or think.
Although Bartimaeus couldn’t see…he knew that he didn’t want to be a forgotten one, laying on those tracks looking up and crying out,
“You should have seen the man I was supposed to be.”
Not only does he receive his sight, his wild, raw, desperate cry to the Messiah, is counted to him as faith…because of that cry we will see…Bartimaeus when we get home…and he will see us.
Notice this: This is the secret of how Bartimaeus rose up off the tracks and was a beggar no more…
When his sight was immediately restored Mark notes “that Bartimaeus dropped his cloak.”
Why is this a picture of saving faith?
In that time, for a blind man, the cloak represented security, as the blind in the first-century Palestine were considered cursed by God. Often their families would abandon them to the streets.
Their only protection against the elements was their cloak. They lived with two things that were most precious…their cloak and their beggar’s bowl.
Mark notes that he dropped his cloak.
He dropped all the security he had ever known to follow the one named Jesus.
This is the definition of the word “Know”:
“To have a clear perception or understanding of; or to be sure of.”
We live in a world that values knowing things. Knowing things in our world brings power and influence. It brings security.
Bartimaeus “knew” that his cloak could shield him from the sun, provide a covering when it was cold and a cushion when that old dusty spot by the road got too hard. These are the facts.
“Knowledge is often understood in terms of factual information. Knowing something about an object or an idea or a person. This type of knowing is not so bad on facts, but it does not translate well to relationships.
There is a difference between knowing facts and being known.
This is partly due to the way go about the process of knowing and being known. We tend in our culture, to place a great deal of emphasis on the ways and the degree to which we know God (or things about God) rather than to the degree we are “being known by God.”
I want to be clear here. I am not saying that research and study, or knowing empirical truth is unimportant. But I am emphasizing how much of our lives and our world revolve around knowing in a manner that assures us that we are Right!
This need to be right, to be rationally orderly and correct, can subtly prevent us from the experience of being known…of loving and being loved…which is the highest call of humanity.
Look at again at Bartimaeus…Bartimaeus knew things:
The facts were this…he was one of the roadside people. He was blind. He was a beggar. He was never going up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. The people of Jericho “knew” him as a blind person.
He “knew” things but hadn’t been known by anyone in such a way that he felt understood, forgiven, or even encouraged.
No one even knew that his one passion that he would have given everything up for…was to see.
I want you to hear this…his world was shaped by what he knew, and what others knew about him.
The downside of this type of knowledge is this…you will run right up against this wall…there are limits to our knowledge.
There is a difference between knowing facts and being known.
Faith is a response to go beyond what we know.
Faith and trust is the call to go beyond.
Just knowing facts is not good enough. The process of being known is where our lives are kneaded like bread…this is where God brings us closer to our true identity…getting us ready for the return of our King.
This process of knowing and being known by God can be a very fearful proposition.
To know God, you must be willing to be known.
To come out of hiding and bring everything that you are and put it on the table…
I wonder if the people of Bartimaeus’ town knew that beneath those rags was a passionate man who could no longer live in the place that he knew so well.
I wonder when Bartimaeus finally got fed up with where he was and who he had become?
Was there more there than a blind man with only a cloak and a bowl to his name?
There was a heart yearning to be free. And so Bartimaeus cries out…and no one could shut him up.
The call to leave the cloak life is a call to a life that we cannot be sure of…something that we don’t know.
Know this, as you rise up and scream out for the Lord as He is passing by the world will try to sit you down and shut you up…
“Don’t bother the King…this is all you are and all you are worth…this is all you will ever be…sit down.”
Your fears will echo and whisper what the world knows: “This is all I am…and all that I am worth…quit making a show…sit down and shut up…Let the king pass by…
But listen to what the Holy Spirit is shouting to your heart, in a raw uncontrollable overpowering call:
“Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you”
“and throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus.”
I once was blind…here me beloved…you need to do what Bartemaeaus did…this is revival..
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