One of my favorite things to do is to help others learn how to read the Bible better. Not that I have it all figured out but I like to try and help. One of the most helpful things in Bible study is the use of a concordance. Yep! Why would I say that? Because the Bible is a book made up of many books that are in unity. It is a singular story written by One divine Author along with many human authors over the span of thousands of years. To follow the storyline, one must connect the dots throughout the Scriptures. One of the major ways we do that is through words. Words link the stories and it would do us well to find out which ones help us understand the larger context.
With that said, I’d like to apply that to our devotion in Mark 10, today. Without quoting the entire passage, let me isolate two verses from the Parable of the Sower to make a connection to Bartaemaus. “The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them” (Mk. 4:14-15). If you are like me, you probably concluded that seed sown along the path doesn’t have any hope. It is impossible for seed to sprout and grow in conditions like that. It is “beside the road” where the soil is packed and hard from the traffic. The soil is so hard, the seed just lays on top and the birds come along and take it away.
But why would Jesus teach us to sow seed in these places if there was no hope? Well, as I see it, every soil is impossible apart from the Lord. Salvation is a miracle performed each and every time by Jesus himself. So, we can indiscrimentily sow the gospel on every soil and trust the Lord to do what only he can do.
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”(Mk. 4:26-29)
You also might conclude from Mark 10 that if the Rich Young Ruler cannot be saved, then who can? We should understand there is a greater difficulty that comes with the rich but we must also understand that every person or every soil is impossible but not with God! “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mk. 10:27).
It is no accident that Mark places the foretelling of Jesus’s sufferings after the story of the Rich Young Ruler and before the story of blind Bartimaeus. The cross and resurrection of Jesus changes everything! The work of Christ gives hope for sowing and it gives hope for the hard, packed soil beside the road to sprout seed!
Here’s where the word(s) connection helps us see all of this. Let me quote the passage and then try to make the connection. Keep an eye on the underlined parts.
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.(Mk. 10:46-52)
Bartimaeus is soil “beside the road.” The naysayers are attempting to take away the seed that most certainly had been sown. Why would Bartimaeus perk up when he heard Jesus of Nazareth was coming? He had heard! Will the birds or Satan take away the seed? Probably so if it were not for Jesus. Notice this miracle is more than a physical healing. Indeed, we can say his spiritual blindness was healed as well. Take note of what happened: “he recovered his sight and FOLLOWED him ON THE WAY!”
That seed that fell beside the road ended up on the right path! Jesus is THE way (or road or path), the truth and the life. Bartimaeus is now a follower of Christ because of the mercy and grace of Jesus! Isn’t that amazing!
I hope this will encourage you to sow word even when it appears impossible. But also, I hope you are moved to praise that God would love you like this! Praise be to his glorious grace! Soli Deo Gloria!