22d Sunday after Pentecost/Baptism

Sermon Title: 22nd Sunday after Pentecost/Baptism
Date: 25th October, 2015
Preacher: Rev Susanne Chambers
Church Calendar Date: 22nd Sunday after Pentecost/Baptism
Lectionary Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, Ps 138, Revelation 12:7-12a, John 1:45-51

“As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.”

Jericho is one of the oldest archaeological sites on earth.  Its history can be traced back about 11,000 years. Here in this ancient and significant place a named beggar invokes the name of David and calls on Christ to heal him.  Jesus does so, and sets this man free.

Not only has blind Bartimaeus been able to place Jesus in the ancient tradition stemming from David, calling out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”, but also his faith and courage have set him free.

Bartimaeus was a known beggar. Son of Timaeus and he was blind. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he shouted out to get his attention, but many told him to just be quiet… actually they probably weren’t polite about it and told him to shut up!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when we try to get our voice heard, and someone politely or not politely tells you to be quiet, it is easy to go silent. Don’t want to offend anyone or hurt feelings or be rejected.

Bartimaeus gives those who have lost their voice for whatever reason confidence to ‘find their voice’!

Bartimaeus defies those who try to silence him.  He calls for help. He calls to Jesus in his time of need.  Maybe he felt he had nothing to lose, we don’t know but maybe he senses or ‘sees’ that in the presence of Jesus he is no longer ‘blind Bartimaeus’ the known beggar, but instead “Bartimaeus, Child of God.”

It takes some time to realise that we are not defined by a disability, or a past hurt, or where we have come from or the clothes we wear..the cars we drive…the suburb we live in.  We are often quick to pigeon hole people and to even pigeon hole or box ourselves. This is not freedom.

We may also be trapped by our past failures or shortcomings and disappointments.

Time to find our voice.

Our illness, disappointment, hurts, being pigeon-holed by others, do not define us.  We may be a cancer survivor, but this does not define us, even though this is true, that we have survived cancer.  We may come from a dysfunctional family, but this does not define us, even though this is also true, that we have come from a dysfunctional family.  We may have been ‘shut down’ from speaking out in the past, but this doesn’t mean we have to remain so.

Bartimaeus was told to shut up by those who didn’t like him shouting out but he called out even more loudly and Jesus heard him and called him over, much to the surprise of those around him. Bartimaeus was so excited that he was heard that he threw off his cloak and sprang up and came to him eagerly.  You can just picture him doing this!

Jesus asks him “what do you want me to do for you?”  It may have been obvious, since he was blind, but Bartimaeus needed to ‘voice’ what he was wanting.

“My teacher, let me see again.”

His sight was restored…but not just his sight, but his whole sense of who he is in the presence of Jesus. He is Bartimaeus, child of God…beloved child of God.

For young Paige who is to be baptised very shortly and for her brother Lachlan who was baptised a couple of years ago and also for Sharon, Matthew, their parents and Susan and Byron, the godparents, this message of freedom is for you and for me and for everyone here!

But it takes time to be free from the past, from regret, from fear, from self-limitation, from old hurts and mistakes.

To come for baptism means that you want to follow Jesus and begin the pilgrim way with him and become a Christian and be part of his Church. For Paige and Lachlan you are saying this on their behalf until they are of age to understand and make that decision for themselves.

I can only say from my experience, that to follow Jesus is life-giving…not easy because to be set free from ourselves takes practice and then healing happens over time.

Let me show you a picture.

This was ‘me’ many years ago…feeling rejected, lonely, fearful.  What was going to jump out from the bushes! And what lurked down the track that I couldn’t see? I didn’t have a lot of confidence and there was no way I would be doing what I am doing today!

Now, this is me, heading off barefoot, enjoying the flowers that I now see on the side of the road, and intrigued and open to whatever lies down the track of my life!

I am growing into this freedom that Jesus offers.  No strings attached. Just love.

So, the message here is to find your voice.  Find your true, whole self in knowing and coming to Jesus.

But that’s just it, you have to chat with him, find out about who he really is for you and tell him what’s going on in your life and ask for help as Bartimaeus did.

Bartimaeus was able to place Jesus in the ancient tradition stemming from David, when he called out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” and his faith and courage set him free.

What a great example Bartimaeus is for us and also that Jesus will always hear us when we call to him.

 

The Lord be with you.