I know I won't do justice to the sermon, but he started out talking about Nazareth. He reminded us of the question Nathanael asked Philip when Philip invited him to meet Jesus of Nazareth.
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
Philip pointed out that the people had kind of adopted everyone else's opinion of Nazarenes. They thought of themselves as losers. These thoughts had them doubting that the Messiah could come from a town of losers. BECAUSE OF HOW THEY VIEWED THEMSELVES...They brushed Jesus and his reputation off by saying,
"Isn't this the carpenter?.....Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home. He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith."
Philip likened this crowd to those of us who have been in church forever. Grew up with Jesus, more or less. He's familiar to us, and we don't really see any miracles.. and so we don't really ask for them. We have become too familiar with Jesus to see Him for Who He Really Is. He might also be amazed at OUR lack of faith.
THEN.. Philip compared that attitude to the one that Blind Bartimaeus had. (Mark 10:46-52)
Blind Bartimaeus didn't want to be blind anymore. So he SHOUTED,
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
People around him told him to be quiet. Why would people tell him to be quiet? Why would people not want a blind person to see? Their cautions to be quiet made him shout even MORE. He was crying out for MERCY. Jesus didn't owe him anything. He knew this.
He was crying for mercy. His situation was so pitiful that ONLY THE MERCY OF GOD could repair it.
His shouts for mercy got Jesus' attention.
He called for the man to be brought to His side. He asked:
"What do you want me to do for you?"
What? He's blind, Jesus. He wants to see. Jesus KNEW what Blind Bartimaeus needed and wanted.. still.. He wanted him to use his mouth, to speak the words out loud, to tell Him what he wanted.
Philip reminded us that we have to use our mouths... to cry out.. to SHOUT out.. to tell God what is in our heart.
Blind Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside to be able to better run to Jesus. We also, Philip said, have to throw off whatever may hinder us - pride, doubt, fear - from running to Jesus. People around you may mock you for your shouts, for your passionate belief that Jesus is able to heal you and heal you completely. Shout to the Lord! Shout Louder! Shout more!
After Jesus healed him,
Blind Bartimaeus was no longer blind!
Philip said, "He could no longer be referred to as Blind Bartiemaeus. Maybe.. from that day on he was simply known as 'Bart." His identity was no longer as a sickly and needy man but as the healed man."
When God delivers us it is because of His mercy.
When God delivers us He delivers us completely.
Philip reminded us that we can be changed from "the person with the addiction" or the "couple with the bad marriage" or "the depressed person" to be people who shouted from our hearts, cried out to God in desperation and God heard us.
Blind Bartimaeus had an identity change.
I wonder what he would have said to anyone referring to him as "Blind Bartiemaeus"? I'm sure he would have pointed out, "Uhhhh.. excuse me.. I'm not blind anymore. Jesus healed me. Just call me 'Bart'"
I wonder what we say when someone reminds us that we used to be wild and crazy? Sinful and lustful? Angry and hateful? Weak and sickly?
"Uhhh... excuse me... I'm not those things anymore. Jesus has healed me. Just call me Bart." Well... o.k.... maybe your name isn't Bart, but you get the idea...