On Sunday August 31st Earnest Stephens led worship at Wesley Chapel. Worship began when we sang ‘Alleluia sing to Jesus.’ Earnest then led the opening prayers before we sang ‘Heavenly Father may your blessing.’ The Old Testament reading was from Jeremiah 31v7-9 followed by the first reading from the New Testament, Hebrews 7 starting at verse 23 describing Jesus as the High Priest. We then sang, ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound’ before the second New Testament Mark 10v46-52, the healing of blind Bartimaeus.
In his sermon he set the latter story in context in Mark’s gospel about the fact that Jesus was walking ahead of his disciples who were filled with a mixture of awe and fear as they recognised what faced Jesus in Jerusalem. Jesus had told his disciples that he faced death in Jerusalem. James and John had requested that they be on his left and right side when he entered his glory. Then they encountered the blind man, Bartimaeus. Jesus was walking along in a crowd of people but heard the blind man’s voice and stood still. Crowds had tried to shut Bartimaeus up and told him to stop being a nuisance. Yet Jesus heard that one man and stopped and asked for him to be brought to him. Jesus asked the obvious question; ‘What do you want me to do for you.’ He had asked James and John the same question previously and they had wanted positions of power and prominence in his Kingdom. Bartimeaus simply wanted to be able to see. Bartimaeus was asking to see not as James and John had asked to be seen in positions of power. Jesus would have no throne; he would be rejected, disgraced and killed as a common criminal and even buried in someone else’s tomb. Bartimeaus immediately was able to see. Bartimaeus was not interested in power or position, just in being made whole. Despite what Jesus had told them of what he faced in Jerusalem, the disciples still saw Jesus as a Messiah bringing mastery and joy. Bartimaeus recognised Jesus as the Son of David. Jesus healed the physical blindness of a man who could see more clearly spiritually than his own disciples could. The disciples could see physically but not spiritually. What can we learn? Do we want positions of power, glory or do we want to see spiritually? Bartimeaus wanted to be ordinary and see the world around him. If the church is for Jesus it cannot be like the crowd trying to suppress Bartimaeus’s cries for help. We must be willing to listen, stop and respond to those needs. May we be like those people who see and believe.
We then sang, ‘Give me Lord a thankful heart’ before Earnest led the intercessions and the worship concluded with ‘Ye servant of God, your master proclaim.’