When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Instantly the man could see, and followed him along the way. – Mark 10:47, 52
Around the world, millions of people claim Jesus as their Saviour, and are indeed saved according to Biblical definition. Yet, of those, only a few will ever experience in this life, what it means to have the fullness of Christ. That is, a relationship with Christ which is simply fully immersed into him. There is no ‘Jesus-and.’
Such a bond doesn’t involve a 5-step process, or adoption of Four Laws, signing a piece of paper or saying a prayer. Neither is it about my doctrine, the one that insists I must repent sufficiently, attend church, be baptized or pray regularly enough. Incidentally, if you settle for religion – no matter how high, or pure, or lofty the ideal, you will end up frustrated.
You can see and enter the Kingdom of God, only by being born of God, through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. The Father has left it to the Son to save us. It is his choice. But there is more, much more than just this.
Every spiritual blessing is in Christ as well. If you want to relate that to ‘a great prayer life’, or holiness, peace or something else, then just fill in the blanks with him, because Jesus is that blessing. He is Salvation in its entirety. We still think it has to do with some nugget, some teaching or activity of ours that we can do, and then we will have it. Jesus-and.
When blind Bartimaeus was along the roadside, he didn’t cry out to Jesus, “what must I do to receive sight?” he cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Everyone pushed him back, in unison they told him “he doesn’t’ have time for you, just follow his teaching (you can collect your Braille book on the 20-greatest teachings of Jesus from over there). But he said, NO!, I just want Him. I want Jesus. So it is with salvation. A saved person should never be someone who has accepted just a set of ideas, or teachings and has therefore become a Christian. They are someone who says, “Jesus or nothing.” The set of ideas, the handout, the philosophy or theology, none of it is enough. Only he will suffice.
We, you and I, need to decide whether we really want to see or whether we are happy to pretend. It has been concerning me for so long. Jesus-and, doesn’t work.
If that is true of salvation my friends, then it is also true of becoming a man or woman of God. Or, perhaps of becoming a person of prayer, of being set free from whatever bondage in your life you need release from, or from becoming the person of sacrifice you always intend to be. Let us, all of us, just go after the person, not a self-help list of things to do, which gives us temporary success at best. Finally, we think we will have it, but we won’t. We are going to have to meet him to receive the blessings, because He is the only blessing.
For blind Bartimaeus, he needed to burst through the crowd of people who wanted to push him back into place, to approach Jesus despite the noise, the confusion and fear of men, to dispel all of the competing ideas; he needed to have the attitude that “Jesus is my answer and everything else will have to get out of the way. I am not ashamed, and everything else I will have to relinquish. I will not be quiet. Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Jesus, just Jesus is the Way. He is the Life. The Truth. He is prayer and righteousness, and love and self-sacrifice, self discipline and kindness and Holiness. It is all found in him. So what do we do? We adopt the attitude of Jacob. The greatest deceiver in the Bible became Israel, the founder of the nation of God, he wrestled and refused to let go. Show me you’re real. Son of David, have mercy on me.
I won’t ever let go of you Jesus, the Person, I will not let you go until I have received all of you. It is the only way to live. Live your life, me, you, full-faced toward Him in every area of our life. If he says, “you are forgiven” will we believe him? If he says to us, “arise, take up your mat and walk,” will we sit there and wonder whether you are healed, or will we take him at his Word?
When we turn full-faced to Jesus, then reality springs into life. Not just for us either, but for those who are all around us, especially the unbeliever.
Just Jesus, let us do all we can to find him, to face him, to follow him. There is no substitute, not now, not ever. Him alone.