Thursday, January 16, 2020

Julie Smith and the Gospel of Mark

I have been enjoying Julie Smith's Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. I do not know her personally, but her writing resonates with me. Let me give you one example from Mark 10.

Bartimaeus is begging near Jericho because he is blind. He figures out the JESUS and a crowd of people are passing nearby. He cries out for JESUS, and continues to call on the Savior despite members of the crowd trying to silence him. JESUS knowing that his best male disciple is nearby asks for him.

(verses 49-52)

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.

And they call the blind man, saying unto him,

Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment

rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him,

What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

The blind man said unto him,

Lord, that I might receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him,

Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.

And immediately he received his sight,

and followed Jesus in the way.

I have read this passage more than once, but less times than I should have.

It has never occurred to me the importance of Bartimaeus casting away his garment.

My focus is always on JESUS and the miracle.

Julie Smith points out in her outstanding book that Bartimaeus is the only named recipient of a miracle in Mark.

Why? She first presents the fact that the only thing in the only world Bartimaeus owns besides his clothing is his garment. That garment was used to sit upon and beg. It is his only possession. Why does he cast it aside? 

Because he knows that if JESUS is calling for him, he will get to petition for his sight. He knows that JESUS has to power to grant his request and the love to do so. He knows all of this about CHRIST without ever having literally seen Him. 

Bartimaeus knows before ever even speaking to JESUS that he is not going to need his garment anymore!

JESUS is using Bartimaeus as an example for everyone to follow. Most of us have not seen JESUS yet, but that should not change our ability to trust in Him. 

I believe that when each of us is ready to cast aside our proverbial garments, JESUS will come to us. That garment can be religion, or sin, or false traditions, or selfishness, or money, or fame, or any number of things. Whatever we show by our actions is more important than JESUS is making us blind. Physical blindness is temporary, but spiritual blindness can last forever.

Let us be like Bartimaeus and cast all the truly trivial things aside. We will not need them after JESUS makes us whole.