27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
It’s not unusual for utility bills to be surprisingly high. But Kieran Healy of North Carolina received a water bill that would make your heart stop. The notification said that he owed 100 million dollars! Confident he hadn’t used that much water the previous month, Healy jokingly asked if he could pay the bill in installments.
Owing a 100-million-dollar debt would be an overwhelming burden, but that pales in comparison to the real—and immeasurable—burden sin causes us to carry. Attempting to carry the burden and consequences of our own sins ultimately leaves us feeling tired and riddled with guilt and shame. The truth is we are incapable of carrying this load.
And we were never meant to. As Peter reminded believers, only Jesus, the sinless Son of God, could carry the heavy burden of our sin and its weighty consequences (1 Peter 2:24). In His death on the cross, Jesus took all our wrongdoing on Himself and offered us His forgiveness. Because He carried our burden, we don’t have to suffer the punishment we deserve.
Instead of living in fear or guilt, the “empty way of life handed down to” us (1:18), we can enjoy a new life of love and freedom (vv. 22–23).
Lord, sometimes our guilt and shame can feel so heavy. Help us to release our past and its pain to You and experience Your peace, knowing You have carried it all and have set us free.
Jesus carried the burden of our sin so He could give us the blessing of life.
‘Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believe.’ Mark 9:23
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 4:13–22
Faith studies what the promise is—an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, ‘My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain that this promise will be fulfilled.’ Then faith thinks, ‘Who gavethis promise?’ She considers not so much its greatness, as ‘Who is the author of it?’ She remembers that it is God that cannot lie, God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore she concludes that the promise must be fulfilled; and forward she goes in this firm conviction. Then she remembers, also, why the promise was given, namely, for God’s glory, and she feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that he will never stain his own character, nor mar the lustre of his own crown; and therefore she concludes that the promise must and will stand. Then faith also considers the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father’s intention to fulfil his word. ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ Then faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God never has failed her, that he never did once fail any of his children. She recollects times of great peril, when deliverance came, hours of awful need, when as her day her strength was; and she says, ‘No; I never will be led to think that he can now forswear himself, and change his character, and leave his servant.’ Faith, moreover, feels that she cannot believe a hard thing of her dear God. Is it wrong to use that expression? I must use it, for he is dear to me.
For meditation: The faith of the early Christians was widely spoken about (Romans 1:8; Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 3:6; Philemon 5). What message does your faith convey to you about God, and to others about your relationship with him?
I Want to See
Marlo Schalesky , Author
Bartimaeus may just be my favorite character in the Bible. There’s something about his tenacity, his audacity, and his fierce vivacity that inspires me. He lived in darkness, and yet he saw more clearly than any of his seeing contemporaries. He saw more clearly than I. A blind beggar sitting in the dirt alongside the road to Jerusalem knew what he wanted, and he couldn’t be dissuaded from it.
What if I had his vision? What if, in my own darkness, I had his tenacity, audacity, and vivacity? What if all I wanted was to see?
Even as I write these words, I’m filled with a crazy hope, a wild wonder. What if, when I am sitting in the dirt, in the dark, in my life, I let none of it stop me from calling out to Jesus? What if I don’t care what others think but instead cry out all the louder? What if I believe that Jesus is who he says he is? What if I throw off everything, absolutely everything, that would hinder me, and run in my blindness to him? What if I could speak those four simple words, “I want to see”?
Bartimaeus simply does not give two hoots about conforming to what others want. He doesn’t care a whit about criticism, rebuke, or reprimands. And so he is free to seek only Jesus.
Lord, give me the heart of Bartimaeus! Give me his courage, his faith, his sight.
Jesus’s encounter with Bartimaeus is the last such healing and disciple-making that we will see before Jesus is arrested and killed in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples are traveling with a crowd on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem.
On that road to death sits Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who still dares to hope. He will be the last one to ask for healing. He will be the last one to become a follower of Jesus before Jesus is hung on a Roman cross.
The last one who finally, after all this time, gets it right.
As soon as Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is among the crowd walking by him, he shouts out. He hopes, he reaches, he dares to call for the one thing he believes this Son of David can give: Mercy. He asks for something he doesn’t deserve, but knows he needs. “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” (Mark 10:47).
Everyone around him rebukes him for it. They know he doesn’t deserve it either. He is a blind beggar sitting along the roadside. They tell him to be quiet, to be invisible, to disappear.
So, when you’re afraid you’ve missed him. When you’re sitting in your darkness and blindness, terrorized by the fear that God has come and gone and you didn’t recognize him, take heart! Be encouraged! He’s calling to you.
But this man, sitting in his world of darkness, believes more strongly in Jesus and who Jesus is than he worries about what others think of him. He doesn’t care about that at all.
In fact, in the face of discouragement, he cries out all the louder and all the more: “Son of David, show me mercy!” (v. 48).
To Bartimaeus, Jesus is not just a wandering rabbi. He’s not just a healer or a teacher. He is this one who was promised to open the eyes of the blind and free those sitting in darkness (Isaiah 42:6-7). He is the promise of God to his people. He is the promise of God to Bartimaeus. And Bartimaeus dares to believe it, to believe all of it.
Here there is no “if you want” or “if you are able.” No, Bartimaeus goes all in. He holds nothing back. He stakes everything on the belief that this Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David who will fulfill all God has said, and will fulfill it for him. That is an audacious faith.
And then the voices change. Instead of “sit down and shut up,” they start saying, “Take heart! Be encouraged! Buck up! He’s calling you.”
In your darkness, in your blindness, Jesus is calling you. He is calling you. And he’s calling you in a way that you can hear. He doesn’t motion to the blind man. He calls to him. He uses a sense that Bartimaeus can receive.
So when you’re afraid you’ve missed him. When you’re sitting in your darkness and blindness, terrorized by the fear that God has come and gone and you didn’t recognize him, take heart! Be encouraged! He’s calling to you. He’s calling to you in a way in which you can hear. And you can do as Bartimaeus did—you can jump up and run to him.