Day Forty with Mark: Mark 10:46-52

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Now we are entering into the time of Advent, getting ready for Christmas.  During this season, may our eyes, our ears, our hearts, all that we are be looking for the grace of Christ in each moment!

Today we look at Mark 10:46-52:

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Blind Bartimaeus alteredToday we see Jesus heal Bartimaeus, we see Jesus restore his sight. And when we read this passage, there are a couple of things that stand out to me.  First, notice what the man calls Jesus.  Son of David.  Jesus is called Son of God a lot in the Bible.  He calls Himself Son of Man a lot as well.  But this is a unique title that is telling.

Bartimaeus, in calling Jesus Son of David, understand that He is the one that is to come from the line of David.  The Messiah is to be a descendant of David.  Bartimaeus is speaking the truth, Jesus is the one that is to come from David’s line. But here’s the thing.  The Messiah, the Son of David, that they were looking for was a political king that would drive out the Romans and establish that earthly kingdom like David.

So, yes, Bartimaeus was right in knowing who Jesus was.  But he was wrong in understanding what Jesus was here to do.  He made assumptions about who Jesus was.  And he missed what Jesus was wanting to do.

Let’s not make the same mistake.

Second, notice that once again Jesus heals someone’s sight. Someone is able to see because of what Jesus has done.

One thing to always remember in the Gospels when Jesus heals the blind and restores sight, He isn’t just restoring physical sight.  He’s restoring the ability to see spiritually.  In 2 Corinthians 4:4 it says:

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Without Christ, we may be able to “see” but we can’t see.  The sight that Jesus provides is more than physical.  It’s spiritual.  Jesus grace (we in the United Methodist tradition call this grace prevenient) restores our ability to see.  To know.  To understand.  Jesus’ grace, given to all, allows us to choose, to follow, or to reject.  To not follow.  Not all that Jesus healed followed Him.

But when He restores our sight through His grace, we can see.  We can choose.  We can follow.  We can see.

Today, may we allow His grace into our lives, may we see.  And may we follow Him, wherever He calls!

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 11:1-11.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Day Thirty-Five with Mark: Mark 9:9-13

Today in Mark we look at Mark 9:9-13:

The Coming of Elijah
9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. 11 Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 He said to them, “Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.”

urlToday in our reading, we see the disciples continue to struggle to understand what it is that Jesus is doing.  They don’t understand that it means about Him being raised from the dead. That’s not their idea of what a Messiah should do.  They don’t understand who Elijah was in reference to Jesus. They don’t understand what it is that God is doing. They don’t get what is happening.

You kind of hurt for them.  I mean, they wanted to understand.  They left everything to follow Jesus.  If’s always easy for us to make fun of the disciples for not getting it.  But think about the faith they had.  They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand.  But they still left everything and followed. Because while they didn’t understand everything that Jesus was doing or saying, you know what?  They knew that Jesus was life.

Wow, what a testimony of faith.  What a testimony of being faithful when they didn’t understand.

Faith is often the most strong when we don’t understand, but we still follow.

Today, even when we don’t understand, may we have that faith.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 9:14-29.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Day Thirty-Two with Mark: Mark 8:11-12

Today we look some of the doubters Jesus had to deal with in Mark 8:11-12:

The Demand for a Sign
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

faithI love certain words in scripture. I love how they jump out, how they explode, how the just kind of hang there.  Today for me in this reading that word, or that phrase was “He sighed deeply in His spirit.”

Jesus has literally just feed thousands of people twice.  He has healed Jews and Gentiles across the land.  People are flocking from all over to hear Him preach and to just perhaps touch the fringe of His robe that they may be healed.

Miracles are literally, not figuratively, literally happening everywhere.

And the Pharisees come, asking for a sign.  And He sighed.  Why?

Because what more signs could He produce.  Short of His death and resurrection, which was going to happen, and which they didn’t believe either, what could He do?  So He sighed.  Was is frustration?  Was it exasperation?  Was it just exhaustion?  We don’t know, but we know they He knew they wouldn’t get it. They wouldn’t see, no matter how many signs He did.

Why?  Why wouldn’t they see the signs?  Because they didn’t believe.

When we believe, we see. When we have faith, we see miracles everywhere, every day.  When faith enlivens the eyes, we see the signs of God, of faith, of miracles every day.

When we do not, we do not. When we do not see through faith, we will look, but never see. When we look though, through the eyes of faith, we see them everywhere.

Today, do you see?  God is work. Jesus is doing great things.  It is happening everywhere.

It is.  We can see it.

We just have to look right.  We just have to look through the eyes of faith.

Today, do you see?

Monday we’ll look at Mark 8:14-21.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Look Around

One of the troubling things about faith is just that.  It’s faith.  It’s something you can’t explain, you can’t really even make sense of, it’s something that you just have to believe.

But here’s the deal.  When you believe it, when you take that leap of faith, when you jump, this amazing thing happens.

When you jump, you see.  Faith is something that can’t necessarily be reasoned.  And believe me, I enjoy reasoning faith.  Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, The Reason for God by Tim Keller, and God: The Evidence by Patrick Glynn are books that have really helped me think through my faith and better explain my faith to folks that don’t believe.

But even with all this, here’s the thing.  We’ve still got to take that leap.  We’ve got to have that childlike abandonment and just jump.

When we do that though, you know what happens?  When you take that leap of faith, when you jump, when you leap into the arms of Jesus, you see!  Our eyes are fully formed by our faith.  Listen to what it says today in Psalm 19:1-4:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

starstreeWe are reminded.  Look around.  But don’t look with your eyes.  Look with your faith.  God is everywhere.  The heavens are telling the glory of God.  He’s everywhere.  We just have to look.

Today, look around.  We get so busy.  Our schedules take over our lives.  We go and move and act and everything; so much is going on.  We get so busy that we aren’t able to see sometimes.

Today, look around.  You won’t have to look far.  You can look to the heavens.  Look in the eyes of a child.  See someone helping someone less fortunate.  Hear the good news of someone coming to know Jesus Christ.  Sharing a cup of coffee with a  friend.

His glory is there.  It is.  It is everywhere.  We just have to look around through the eyes of faith.  And when we do that, we will see God everywhere.

Today, look around.

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How to See

Sometimes it can be very easy to get frustrated with others when they don’t see. I am the kind of guy that often misses things that are right under my nose, the very thing that I’ll be looking for will be right in front of me, and I’ll just miss it.

We can all miss things, not see things.

This is true with the stuff of life. And it’s also true with the stuff of the spirit. Listen to what Paul writes today in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

579938003_oThere are forces working that do not want others to see the good news of the Gospel. The Gospel is freedom. The love of Jesus Christ, and His power, it is freedom. It frees the oppressed. It gives hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak.
It is life.

And as Paul says, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. Have you ever just wondered why those that don’t believe just don’t “see?” This is why.

The devil doesn’t want them to see God’s glory. He doesn’t want them to see what life is really all about. He doesn’t want them to know the life, joy, and peace that comes from Jesus.

He wants them blinded.

So, how do they see? How do we see? Not with our eyes.

With our faith. We walk by faith, not by sight. We with faith, not with our eyes. We “see” through our faith in Jesus. He allows us see things not as we “see” them, but as we really are.

I tell folks when you look just through your eyes, you won’t always see the miracles. But when you look through faith, you see miracles everywhere.

Today, for those that are blinded and cannot see, the most important thing that you can do for them is to pray. Pray that God, through the power of His spirit opens their eyes to truth and to life.

And today, for those of us that do see, let’s walk by faith, not by sight. For in that, that’s where our sight is really found.

That’s how we really see.

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What are you Looking at?

What are you looking at?

Well, you are probably thinking right now, my email.  Or my smart phone.  Or your blog.  That’s what I’m looking at right now.  Ok, what will you look at next next?  What you have you looked at already today?

And I’m not just talking about what you’ve “seen” with your eyes.  What have you dwelled on with your soul?  What have you allowed your mind and your spirit to rest upon today? What have you focused your thoughts and your presence upon today?

In the Bible, one of the things that we see Jesus do over and over again is heal the blind. Now, in scripture there is a physical miracle that happens here, but there is a deeper spiritual miracle. To heal the blind isn’t just to bring sight to the eyes, it’s to bring sight to the soul. Not just to let folks “see” physically, but to really let them see what’s going on in a deeper, spiritual way.

So, today, what are you looking at?  Where are you gazing?

Listen to the words of Psalm 101 today:

I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.

What are you looking at? Where are you dwelling? Where is your soul today?

Today, are you “looking” at the things of God? Are you “looking” at the things of the world? Are you “looking” at your own fleshly desires?  Are you looking at the things that dishonor God?  Or are you looking at the things that honor God and give life?

Are you “looking” at anger?

Are you “looking” at pride?

Are you “looking” at hatred?

Are you “looking” at unforgiveness?

Are you “looking” at you?  Or are you “looking” at God?

Our kids used to sing that song – Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little eyes what you see.

Today, are you being careful what you see?  Are you placing your eyes, your mind, your soul on the things of God?  For only in doing that can we find life, love, peace, and joy.

Today, what are you looking at?