I once saw a birthday card that began its greeting with “Everything I love in life is illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
December 14, 2022
“…but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:48).
When blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming his way, he began to cry out for Jesus to have mercy on him. He called him “Son of David,” so he more than likely believed that He was the promised Messiah. He apparently also knew that Jesus could give him back his eyesight. Jesus had been hitting the Jerusalem headlines for some time, and His healing reputation had gone before Him. But there is something more here than meets the eye—something more than a blind man crying out for the healing of his eyes. He called out for “mercy.” At that point, many warned him to be quiet. What was their problem? This was just a poor blind man calling for help. Who wouldn’t have a sense of pity and want to encourage him to make sure he got the attention of Jesus?
Here’s what was going on behind the scenes. It is offensive to the world when we speak of our desperate need of God’s mercy. A need for mercy insinuates our sin and guilt, and an evil world insists that we are all basically good people. As far as they are concerned, God is not offended by sin; all is more than well between Heaven and earth.
“It is offensive to the world when we speak of our desperate need of God’s mercy. A need for mercy insinuates our sin and guilt.”
However, those who know that Jesus is the promised Messiah know that He is the only one who can forgive sins, and they will not be silenced. They know that there is a coming day in which the world will be judged in perfect righteousness by a holy God. So they will not be silenced. The stakes are too high. They cry out all the more because He is the world’s only hope of eternal salvation. Without Him, they will justly be damned in a terrible place called Hell. They know that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
And our cry isn’t for ourselves. We have tasted of mercy. We can now see all things clearly. Our deep concern is for those who are still under God’s wrath and blinded by the god of this world. They need to know that they have sinned against God and that the only one who can save them is Jesus of Nazareth.
So, with all the opposition, how can we effectively reach a dying world? One way we can learn to do that is by studying Scripture—especially how Jesus dealt with opposition. This wasn’t always people crying out for sinners to keep quiet. They were more subtle, and the opposition often came from those who professed godliness—the religious leaders.
At one time they formulated a scenario to try and trap Jesus in His words. They had created a script worthy of a Hollywood movie, in which a woman had seven husbands who all died. She went from one to the next, until all had left this life. “In the resurrection,” they asked, “who’s wife would she be?” This was a jigsaw puzzle into which no piece could possibly fit. Their reasoning made the resurrection impossible. According to the Gospel of Mark, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?’” (12:24). Their mistake was two-fold. They were ignorant both of Scripture and of the power of God.
“Those who have problems with the Bible almost always don’t know the Bible.”
When unbelievers come to us with the problems they have with God and the Scriptures, they are mistaken on both counts. Those who have problems with the Bible almost always don’t know the Bible. They know particular verses, but they don’t know how to rightly divide the word of truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15). Every difficult passage is only difficult because of our ignorance. And every problem sinners have with God exists because they don’t understand the exceeding greatness of His power. With Him, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Every decision He makes is in absolute righteousness. All of His judgments are righteous and true altogether. That puts every “problem” with the Scriptures and with God back up on the weak and sinful shoulders of humanity. For more teaching on how to reach the lost, make sure you check out The Evidence Study Bible. It contains over 200 commonly asked questions and objections about Christianity.