October 17, 2021: Pentecost 22

Let us pray: Dear Savior, You define Yourself and the Holy Trinity with one word: love.  That means You are kind, merciful, forgiving, and full of compassion to Your core being.  Since our world increasingly has lost sight of compassion in how we treat others, pour it out mightily upon all Your children.  Amen


TEXT:  Mark 10: 46-52

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          The other night we were watching “Antiques Roadshow.”  Some lady came with a signed picture of Albert Einstein and also a personal letter he sent to her father in the 1950’s.  He was a minister in MI and had quoted Einstein in a sermon.  Apparently Einstein had said in the 1930’s upon leaving Germany that: “Christianity was the greatest foe of Hitler and the Nazi’s.”  (I’m paraphrasing.)  A member challenged that statement, so Einstein was contacted and in that personal letter he said: “Yes, I said that.” 

          Now, Einstein was Jewish and barely escaped the Nazi death camps.  He was also a clear thinker.  He saw the polarization in Germany during the 1930’s.  He saw how the liberal socialist Nazi’s created scapegoats of the Jews and others to unite group-think people behind their agenda.  In fact, the Nazi’s even labeled such people a “virus” that they had to eradicate them to save their nation!  So, the death camps resulted.

          The only real source of compassion and sanity that stood in opposition to this hatefulness was Christianity.  And countless ministers and laypeople died in those camps, too.  The insanity of hate took over for a while until the Allies prevailed.  This is what Einstein foresaw.

          Folks we stand today in similar times.  Christian compassion for the hurting is in short supply.  Branding some people as despicable parasites is still the primary tool Satan uses to divide and conquer.  But Christ stands in opposition to it. 


          The miracle of Bartimaeus receiving his sight is a delightful story.  The one thing  that stands out to me is how our kind and compassionate Savior goes against the crowd to help a sinner in need.  Blind Bart was the lowest of the low on the social scale.  He was a beggar because he could not work and with no social safety net begged just for food.  He must have been dirty, smelly, and most averted  their eyes if they even looked his way.  He wasn’t a leper, but most treated him much the same. 

          Blind Bart heard the commotion when Christ came near that gate of Jericho.  He knew who and what Jesus was as the power of the Gospel message had come his way—literally this time.   So, he raised his voice: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  We’re told that many tried to schuss him but he called it out all the more!  Where was the compassion of this crowd who followed Jesus?  We don’t hear of any lone voices speaking up for him.  Apparently, even the disciples were silent.  But true Christian compassion is never silent, is it? 

          Jesus stops and says: “Call him.”  When no one else listened or helped, Jesus does!  That’s our Savior.  He’s the Son of God.  He’s the One Who died to save all sinners, all spiritually blind men and women.  He doesn’t care about going along with the crowd, but He does care about “helping and befriending your neighbor in every bodily need.”  So He asks blind Bart: “What do you want me to do for you?”   A quick answer comes: “Rabbi, I want to see.”  I want to behold light vs. darkness; colors vs. emptiness; the sky, the trees, buildings, faces, and smiles!  I want to see love.  “Go, said Jesus, your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”


          Blind Bart had seen Christ as His Savior first with his heart.   He was a believer who had heard the message of the Gospel, whispered by unknow people as they passed him by and avoided him.  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  And now that quiet faith paid off and Bart could see Christ with his physical eyeballs!  No wonder he followed Him!  Wouldn’t you?

          All this occurs because Jesus is full of compassion.  He cares about all those little people who suffer and are ridiculed and ostracized by the masses.  He cares about you and me.  He cared enough to suffer death for us and then rise to life so that we could live also with Him someday. 

          We forget the powerful force that is Christian compassion.  It is said that: “evil triumphs when good men stand by and do nothing.” Einstein’s point was exactly that.  Along with the truth that Christianity creates truly good people who like their Lord are not afraid to show and live compassion.  Every day were bombarded with untruths about how the little people don’t count and have no real power–that compassion is weakness.  O how wrong that viewpoint is!  And right here Jesus and blind Bart prove it!  So can you with Jesus’ help.  Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox

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