Roger's Postings

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mark 10:46-52.                       Lord, have mercy on me!                    28/10/12

 {46)  Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. {47} When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" {48} Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" {49} Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." {50} Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. {51} "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." {52} "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

 Many people today know they are in trouble, in one way or another, and cannot see a way out. They know that their life is far from what they believe deep down it is meant to be, but cannot see any way out. We like to have a whinge about our problems and call for mercy: for help. However, we are living at a time when we are discouraged from talking about this. Instead we are encouraged to not think about the negatives, but to think positively. So this reading here this morning is relevant to our situation today.

 Think about poor, blind, Bartimaeus, he has got nothing going for him: he does not even have a welfare system like what we have in this country of ours. So he is left to beg on the side of the road, in order to get enough scraps to survive on. So when he hears that this new guy, Jesus, is coming up the road he yells out for help, for mercy. The locals only give him a few scraps, so maybe this new guy might give him a bit more, so he has a good whinge. Just maybe he might give me a little more help; even if he doesn’t provide a miracle.

 But of course, he is told by the locals to just shut up. Nobody wants to hear someone putting a dampener on the situation and reminding them of the tough and negative things of life. No, we are here to find out about and focus on all of the good things of life. We want someone who can drive out the Romans and give us a good life. Then all will be well for us.

I would be fairly confident in saying that their attitude back then was little different from what it is today. None of us wants to be reminded of the bad stuff that is there in our lives: it is too depressing and negative. We don’t want to think about our faults and failures and the fact that we are constantly facing a messed up world. We would much rather pretend that it is, or at least should be, all good and rosy.

 However, in the end we have only two choices open to us. Either, we give up in despair or cry out like Bartimaeus; Lord, have mercy on me!

Many, have just given up. In light of the endless treadmill of life that promises much but doesn’t deliver they decided to just live for the moment. Get out of life now, what you can, while you can: To hang with tomorrow or with having to make tough decisions.

 Sadly, many have listened to those who say there is no God and those who say we are only descendants of monkeys, and as a result see no ultimate meaning and purpose to life. Others are seeking after important breakthroughs in human science, in the hope they we can make a better world for the future. The hustle and bustle of our ‘busy’ lives drowns out the still small voice of the reality of life and the fact that there is a God out there. The alcohol, drug and sex addictions, allows us, for a short time, to escape the hopelessness of it all.

The result of this is that we don’t want hear the sad woes of most of the people around us. We don’t want to ask the deep questions of why there is all of this trouble and hardship. And we don’t want to be out of step with the majority around us, and reflect on the reality of God, of sin, and of the one true help that there is for us.

But for Bartimaeus and those who recognise the depth of this world’s sin and that there is a God out there; these attempts to quieten the Christian voice and the cries for help, only compels them to cry out all the more: Lord, have mercy on us! He alone can give us what we need in order to get past the difficulties that we are facing. He alone can give us the good life that we know should be there for us: He alone can give us the eternal youth that we desperately yearn after.

‘Blind Freddy’ can see that because of our sinfulness, humanity cannot, and will never be able to give us the life that we know should be there for us. So we call on God for his mercy – his help. He alone can get us out of this mess that we have made for ourselves.
It is in the midst of this confusion of noise, thoughts and happenings the call of Jesus goes out to those who are longing for this mercy. Even today God voice and call go out to those who know they are in trouble. He hears and knows our situation and he longs to give us the help that we need.

In fact even before our cries start, he came to our aid. God himself comes into our world as a human being to overcome the stench of death that hangs over humanity because of its sin. He came and performed many miracles as a sign that, here in Jesus, God himself was present to do what was need for our salvation. Then he goes to the cross and takes the punishment that we deserve, on himself, so that we may be forgiven and given eternal life. Then he rises from the dead three days later so that we can be absolutely sure that this is all for real. He has had mercy on us.
That message and mercy goes out week after week as he calls us to come to him: to come into his house so that he can give us the help that we need. Through Word and Sacrament he reassures us of his greatest commitment and help, by reminding us in a very practical and personal way that he forgives us and accepts us as his very own. There he reminds us that he is with us even now as we go about our daily lives and as we live in the face of even our severest problems. He is here in our fellowship and support that we give to one another in very practical ways.

 In that personal relationship that he has with us, he also asks: "What do you want me to do for you?"  He seeks from us what we want in the face of the troubles we face; whatever they might be. He wants to do for us, what would enable us to see that which is important for us to see and know and be a part of. He does listen to our every cry and every concern, and is eager to do what is good for us.

 So the miracle that we look for may not necessarily be that which we have in mind. But it will be that which is beneficial for our long term good. Because he knows all things, he is able to do, and even allow for those things that we might in the short term see as bad, but which is best for us and for the spiritual welfare of others.

So the miracle might be to allow us to go through some suffering or difficulty so that we are able to witness of our faith in the Lord Jesus. Which in turn has enabled someone else to come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Or it might be the case that he allows us to die prematurely so that we do not have to go through even greater difficulty in which we or someone else loses their faith. Ultimately the greatest miracle is his taking us to be with himself in heaven.

So as we look to him and trust that he has what is good for us in mind, we hear his word: "your faith has healed you." In him we know that that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. As we look to him we know that miraculously we are a part of that which is good and eternal, whatever our current situation may be.

 With that we know that we have immediately received our sight. We are able to see through what is around us that which is truly good and eternal. We are able to see that in and with Jesus Christ it will all work out for good. Yes, we like him, may have to endure suffering along the road of this life, but we can now see that this is God’s way of working life and salvation in the midst of a sinful world.

 So now we too can follow Jesus along the road. We too can take up our crosses and follow where he leads and endure something of what he endured. But we know that we are a part of his work of bringing life and salvation to a broken hurting world. We also know that we will be following him through death to life in eternal glory.

 What a miracle! The Lord has had mercy on us. To him be all glory and honour, now and always. Amen.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish



  • Wow. What an amazing view. I loved every minute reading it. So much it brought me to tears and made me cry out to my Lord. I recently lost my mother suddenly. She was diagnosed with cancer and four days later passed away unexpectedly of heart and kidney failure. Even through the pain and sadness and the shock I could see God's hand and blessings in this. She would have suffered a horrible and painful death and the cancer was a particular nasty one. I believe God spared my mother and her family the additional heartache of watching her suffer and wither away. I now know she is in heaven with my heavenly father. No greater honour I believe. My family is having a tough time dealing with things. They are angry. They don't believe in God. I'm going to email this post for them to read.

    God bless all who are struggling with sadness and loss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:04 am  

  • This sermon is what the Gospel is all about, it is clear, it is concise and it is centred in the work God did for us through Jesus Christ.

    By Anonymous Keith John Mildura, at 2:14 pm  

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