He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.... "Go your way," Jesus told him. "Your faith has healed you." Immediately he could see and began to follow Him on the road. – Mark 10:50,52 HCSB
Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road when he heard the crowd coming. Upon learning that the famous healing rabbi named Jesus was nearby, he began to cry out and say "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
The crowd tried to discourage him from disturbing the busy teacher, but he ignored them and only cried out louder. Jesus, moved with compassion, commanded that Bartimaeus be brought to him. Then we read the above verses.
Notice that the Scriptures found it necessary to give us that detail about Bartimaeus casting aside his cloak. As a beggar, a homeless person, that cloak was his shelter. It hid the rags and bony body that enlighten us about his existence. That cloak had protected him through many years of inclement weather. What if he had clung to that cloak? What would that have indicated? That he did not anticipate healing? That he did not fully trust Jesus to solve his problems? Could he have even been healed?
What would happen if in spring, when the warm sun of spring called every living thing to new growth and development, the buds of a tree persisted in retaining the scales in which they were wrapped, merely because they had been indispensable in preserving the buds through the winter's frosts and storms?
There would be no foliage, no blossom, no fruit, no formation of new wood for man's use, no shade for the earth and its creatures. The whole ecology would suffer loss. Besides that, the arrested buds themselves would either die, forming hard knotty lumps, or would be transformed into formidable thorns!
We often think we have something of which we can boast - acts of worship or kindness, upright character and goodness of heart. However, if we are to be cured of our blindness and poverty, we must fling these garments aside. We must have the conviction of our utter destitution of true religion. We must not hide our poverty any longer from ourselves and others.
We must also cast away the garment of useless forms and methods. We must do this in order to grow in knowledge and grace. Religion itself is often a hindrance to growing nearer to Christ.
If we persist in retaining the old wrappings of religion merely because they were indispensable at an earlier stage of growth, when the summer sun of a higher faith calls us to a fuller Christian life, we will become thorny dead sticks in the vineyard of the Lord, providing no shade or fruit or beauty for ourselves or others. We will disturb the whole ecology of the Church by our deadness and conservation, and our arrested growth will transform us into wounding thorns.
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