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Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on Me!

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Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on Me!
 
A Sermon Delivered at
 
The Compassion Internet Church
 
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
 
23 September 2012

Scripture References:

Jonah 1:1-3, 4:11
Mark 10:46-52

There is something very special about our coming together and being able to share some of our feelings, whether of concern or joy, and how we came to be here.
 
From all the emails and other communications we have received, it appears that most of us have come together seeking a sanctuary from all the hardness of heart we have encountered that is directed  toward the animals and the people who care about them and don’t eat them.
 
And the tragedy is that most of this hardness of heart was encountered in the churches and from others claiming to be Christians.
 
As we’ve been discussing the past couple of weeks, many want to receive God’s mercy, but relatively few are willing to give it unconditionally to all other living beings, whether human or otherwise.
 
God has dealt with each of us, individually, in a unique and special way.
 
Yet at the same time, He has given us the same message: “Come! Follow Me!”
 
And at the same time, we so often have found ourselves crying out, “O Lord, have mercy on the animals! O Lord, have mercy on me!”
 
I heard the cries of the Jonahs, who knew that they were called to deliver God’s message to some Nineveh.
 
To refresh our memory, let’s look at Jonah 1-3.

1. The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,
 
2. "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."
 
3. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

I suspect that just about everyone who has joined us has heard that call from the Lord, and we get email all the time confirming the same thing.
 
But we also get a lot of comments from people who just don’t want to buck the hardness of heart toward animals that they encounter every day.
 
But Jonah’s situation was a little different in that he knew that the Lord was a merciful God, and would forgive the people of Nineveh, if they truly repented.
 
And all Jonah wanted was to see Nineveh destroyed for their wickedness. In other words, he wanted revenge because of their ungodliness.
 
We have also heard a lot of people say that they want to see the people who cause animals to suffer to suffer in the same way, rather than praying for them to truly recognize their evil ways, repent, and also become peacemaking children of God.
 
Most of us probably know the story of Jonah, and how he finally went to Nineveh, and how the people repented and were forgiven by God, and how Jonah pouted in anger because of God’s grace and mercy.
 
But the most important aspect of this story is what God said to Jonah in the last verse of the book, 4:11.

11. "And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"
NASB

Here are just a few of the more specific comments that we have heard.
 
We heard the cry of Dick as he was ready to run away: “Lord, it’s too much! I can’t learn all this stuff; I’m not qualified. I can’t take the responsibility of being a pastor.”
 
Yet Dick is still on the road to Nineveh.
 
And all the time that I was listening to Dick, I was hearing my own heart crying out, “O Lord, what am I doing here?”
 
I heard John who, in his run away from the Lord, actually threw himself into the sea.
 
Yet he too is back on the road to Nineveh preparing to deliver God’s message.
 
Maybe all of us didn’t have the Jonah problem, but we all passed through times in our journey here when we cried out as Bartimaeus did: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
I heard that cry from Don as he told us about his deliverance from drugs and alcohol.
 
And I’m still hearing the echoes of Vadia’s cry and of that inner torment she went through.
 
“Lord, have mercy on me!”
 
And we’re constantly hearing the echoes and reverberations from people who are praying for God to have mercy on the animals, and to give them the strength to do more to free creation from its present corruption.
 
Let’s now take a look at our New Testament lesson, Mark 10:46-52, and see how this all applies to our lives as it did to Bartimaeus.

46. And they came to Jericho. And as He [Jesus] was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.
 
47. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
48. And many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Every one of us had a time in our life, before we knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, when He passed by us, just as He probably did with Bartimaeus, as He came into Jericho.
 
But there came that one very special day when we finally recognized Him.
 
We were spiritually blind, but on that day our spiritual eyes were opened; we saw all the corruption in the world and our part in it, and we repented and began to cry out to Him.
 
Bartimaeus’ recognition probably occurred after Jesus had entered the city.
 
And when he heard that it was Jesus coming out of the city, the deep inner urgency welled up inside of him, and he knew he had to come to Him.
 
Can you feel that same kind of panicky feeling that Bartimaeus must have felt as he heard that great throng of people coming out with Him?
 
“What am I going to do?”
 
“I’m blind. How am I ever going to get to Him?”
 
“I don’t even know which one of the people is Jesus!”
 
“He’s not just Jesus the Nazarene. He’s my Messiah. He’s the Son of David.”
 
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
“O Lord, I need You! Don’t leave me behind! I need You!”
 
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
“O That crowd! They’re making so much noise that He will never hear me. What am I going to do?”
 
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49. And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, arise! He is calling for you.”

Can you feel deep down inside what Bartimaeus must have been experiencing at that moment?

50. And casting aside his cloak, he jumped up, and came to Jesus.

Bartimaeus was no longer the same person.
 
He knew that he would never be the same again.
 
He was no longer going to be a lost beggar.
 
So he cast aside his beggar’s clothing, and jumped up and went to Jesus, knowing that he would be made new.

51. And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”

Jesus didn’t have to ask him what he wanted. He knew that already.
 
He just wanted Bartimaeus to express verbally what he really wanted, so that it would reinforce his faith.
 
Note also that he wasn’t blind from birth. Somewhere along the way, he had lost his vision, but now he was ready to regain it.

52. And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

And which way was he going to go?
 
Which way was Bartimaeus’ way?
 
It was to follow Jesus...just like us.
 
And all the time I was working on this message, I kept hearing the billions upon billions of animals in this world crying out for mercy just as Bartimaeus did.
 
My precious sisters and brothers don’t ever forget that precious moment of your own conversion when you became a new creature in Christ Jesus.
 
No matter how bad a situation may seem at the time, or how deep the hurt, never forget that moment when Jesus entered your life.
 
And likewise, if we had turned aside for a season, never forget the welcome we received when we came back.
 
Hopefully, in the process, we also gave up any of the remaining hardness we had left in our heart, and truly desired to be the peacemaking children of God Jesus called us to be.
 
No matter how frustrating and aggravating a situation may be, look back to those moments and rejoice.
 
Jesus Christ has set us free.
 
As we are to help set creation free.
 
Hang in there like Joe did when he first walked those dirty streets of North Philadelphia, and had the absolute audacity to smile and say hello to someone, even when they wouldn’t answer.
 
And he kept doing it.
 
And they mocked him: “Who is that crazy fool?”
 
But he kept doing it day after day.
 
And do you know what this loving, precious, crazy fool did next?
 
He went out onto that dirty, filthy sidewalk and began to sweep up the dirt. He even cleaned the gutter.
 
And when someone would deliberately throw more litter on the sidewalk, he would just go out and clean it up again.
 
And they continued to mock him: “Look at that crazy fool now! He has to be nuts!”
 
This kept going on day after day, until one day one of the mockers said in his heart, “That crazy fool is still at it.  He’s so crazy I’m going to help him.”
 
Then another joined the band of the crazies, and they cleaned together.
 
And do you know what happened?
 
The whole neighborhood became clean, and it is still clean to this day.
 
Thanks, Joe, for sharing that story.
 
We, like many of you, have been mocked and chided for speaking out for those who can’t speak for themselves in the hope that God would have mercy on them as He did for the animals of Nineveh.
 
We also are crazy fools for Christ, and we often get mocked for that, too, especially when we tie it together with spreading Jesus’ love and mercy to the animals.
 
And God is saying to each of us, “There is a lot of blindness out there in the midst of all that litter. Clean it up so that the blind may regain their sight.”
 
But He hasn’t told us how much litter we have to pick up before the blind can see again.
 
He also hasn’t really told us how long it will take. He has just told us to follow Him and clean up the trash and replace it with our testimony of being the peacemaking children of God who will help free creation from its present corruption.
 
Maybe that person’s blindness will be healed if I pick up just one more piece of trash.
 
Maybe it will take even more work than that.
 
Maybe the work will never end!
 
And as that trash pile of selfishness, cruelty, indifference, injustice, and corruption builds up around us, we have to constantly remember to empty it, lest we also become blinded in the process of helping all others, whether human or nonhuman.
 
Once again we all will have to cry out, “O Lord! Have mercy on the animals! O Lord! Have mercy on me!”
 
Amen.