What cheers you up? A beautiful day, a good night’s sleep, an evening spent with people you love, or a restful vacation? These are wonderful gifts, and they never fail to cheer me up.
“Cheer up” isn’t the first expression that comes to mind when thinking of Bible passages, but I found those two words in the Gospel of Mark. It reminds me of truth that should always cheer me up.
One day a blind man named Bartimaeus was begging at the side of the road as a large crowd was passing. “When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’…Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you!’“ (Mark 10:49)
“Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you!” are words that describe a change in attitude and are a call to action.
Cheer up! Can you imagine the change in attitude of Bartimaeus? He was a blind man begging for mercy from Jesus while surrounding people told him to be quiet. He shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47) Jesus said, “Call him.”
Is it any different for us? We all sit among a spiritually blind crowd, telling each other not to make so much noise. We are each in desperate need of mercy and healing, and without Jesus we would remain forever in our misery. Nothing should generate more cheer and energy than the words of Jesus.
On your feet! Bartimaeus wasted no time. “Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.” Jesus not only calls us – reason enough for cheer – he then asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) Bartimaeus said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus told him that his faith had healed him.
Do you ever ask yourself what you would say if Jesus asked you, what do you want me to do for you? Bartimaeus probably had no trouble with that question. He needed to see. Period. The deepest need I have, and the most pressing need you have, is to see Jesus, to know Jesus, to rest in Jesus. Jesus may not seem like your most urgent need today, but one day you will understand.
He’s calling you! “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10:52) It probably felt like the most natural thing in the world to do: follow the One who miraculously gave sight. I wonder what Bartimaeus said and did as he followed Jesus along the road. I wonder where his life took him after Jesus had called him. I imagine he has quite a story to tell.
Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you! Does Jesus’s call cheer you up? Does it get you on your feet? Where does your life take you after Jesus has called you?
I heard Malcolm Smith explain why God called the Jews rather than the British to be His chosen people. It was something like this: “If God would have parted the Red Sea and then closed it on Pharaoh and his Egyptian army, the Brits would have said, ‘I say, old chap, that was a smashing good thing there.’ Then, the British would have done little else. But the Jews brought out the tambourines, danced, sacrificed, sang, prophesied, and had a party. When Jews suffered, they wailed, cried, ripped their clothing, threw ashes over themselves, they got into it. If it would have been the Brits, everyone would have said, ‘I say, stiff upper lip, old boy.'”
So, what did Jewish Bartimaeus do after he was healed, he became “Big Mouth” Bart and testified to everyone what Jesus did for him. He pointed people to Jesus.
And if you think about it, that’s what we should do with our callings. Tell people what Jesus has done for us and point them to Jesus. Or we can be like the Brits.
(Just so you know: there have been powerful men and women of God who have been British, like Smith Wigglesworth, William Booth, John Wesley, etc.)
“Big mouth Bart” – I like it! The Jews were expressive people. Culture in general has gotten less expressive, and it’s kind of a shame. I imagine there’s something freeing about celebrating or mourning in a public way and having others join you. Although I really don’t know because I’ve never done it! Thanks Larry!
So, I assume you have never gone up to the front of your church during worship and jumped up and down and danced all over the place. It’s a freeing experience, but don’t expect many to follow you, except the little children.
You assume correctly, Larry. I would love to have seen you and the kids though:)
Thank God, there were no iPhones back then. 🙂