We are running a preaching and Bible Study series on Cross Culture. No, it’s not what you think, although that’s also needed, isn’t it? This is on the Culture of the Cross. We are looking at four aspects: the cross, as it brings about forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and transformation. We have looked at each of these four from God’s perspective as it were; although that’s a bit of an arrogant statement isn’t it? Put simplistically, how does the Cross become the instrument of God’s forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and transformation?
We are now looking at these same subjects from our perspective—how does the cross bring forgiveness, healing, etc., into our lives. Finally we will look at them with the community at large in mind.
The story I wrote on the Prodigal’s older brother kicked off the series looking at forgiveness. Next week I will be preaching on the cross bringing healing. I have chosen to use the story of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10: 46-52) as our focus.
There are three things that appeal to me in this story in the context of the cross and personal healing. First there is the element of prayer, what we might call ‘real’ prayer. Bartimaeus’s “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me” is reminiscent of Jacob’s “I will not let you go until you bless me” (Genesis 32:26); there is the same urgency, the same determination to be healed, the same confidence that this is what God wants to do, and the same commitment to help make it happen. It’s a prayer that truly partners with God for healing. Prayer for healing is one of the opportunities God gives us to partner with him in re-creation. We can sit back and see what happens or we can grab the opportunity with both hands and express our commitment as Jacob did and as Bartimaeus did.
Second is the question Jesus asks (all of us), “What do you want me to do for you.” It’s a question the cross poses. Healing, like salvation, is not cheap; it comes at a price. What do we expect or hope for? Are our sights set too low? Are our expectations so broad as to be out of focus?
Thirdly, Bartimaeus was set free by Jesus (verse 52a). But he used his freedom to follow Jesus on the way (verse 52b). That is always the choice that the cross gives us—take up your cross daily (or don’t).
Have you anything to add? Any thoughts for me to use or to avoid? I’d love to hear from you.
- The Men in Christ’s Life: Blind Bartimaeus (gospelbondservant.com)
- Does God run? The Older Brother & the Prodigal’s