If you have ever watched The Shawshank Redemption, you’ll remember Brooks Hatlen—a character who had been serving an extended prison sentence for 50+ years. He served as the prison librarian for his tenure there, but when he was finally paroled and given his freedom, he committed suicide because he could not acclimate to the newfound liberation from the life he knew so well.
Sometimes we treat our Christian lives in that way. We have freedom in Christ to be liberated from sin through his perfect sacrifice, yet we are drawn back to that way of life through the temptations of the flesh, the world, and Satan.
What should our response be then,
having new life in Christ?
Let’s take a look at Mark 10, where we read the story of blind Bartimaeus and the new freedom of sight he received through Christ.
As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. | Mark 10:46-52
We see that there is a series of steps that had to be taken in order for Bartimaeus to receive his sight:
1. Christ’s calling (v. 49)
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’”
We see that Bartimaeus doesn’t approach Christ but has to be called by Him. Even in our life we didn’t approach Christ out of our own will but through the Holy Spirit working in us to convict us of the need of a Savior.
2. Bartimaeus’s response (v. 50)
“Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.”
The way Bartimaeus responds is indicative of Christ’s calling. Bartimaues doesn’t take his time to get up, wrap up his belongings, and slowly make his way over to the sound of Jesus; he leaps up on his feet and comes to Christ immediately! When Christ calls us, it causes the same type of immediate feedback. The Holy Spirit tugs on our heart. That requires a response! It will be either A) run to Christ or B) run away from Him. We obviously see which choice Bartimaues made when he ran toward Christ.
3. Bartimaeus’s confession (v. 51)
“’What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’”
Next we see a requirement for confession. Bartimaeus couldn’t just come to the Lord as he was. It required an admission of who he was and what he needed from Christ. He admits that he is blind and has a desire to have his sight through Christ’s healing power. When we come to the Lord, it requires that same confession. We must admit that we are sinners who have broken God’s law, believe that Christ died on the cross for our sin, and confess Him as our Savior who we will serve with our life!
4. A change of heart (v. 52)
“’Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’”
As soon as Bartimaeus admits who he was and what he needed, we see the change that takes place in His life. Immediately as he confessed to the Lord what he needed, his sight is fully restored. It was the power of Christ that gave him his sight back, but Bartimaeus had to have faith that it would happen. Same goes with the salvation Christ offers us. He is the only one who can transform the heart of a person, but it requires faith from that individual to believe in the completed work of salvation.
5. A transformed life (v. 52)
“Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
Finally, we see a transformed man standing before the Lord. He has his sight fully restored and is able to take in all the wondrous creation around him. What is his next step with this newfound freedom? Does he go back to his corner on the roadside to beg? No! He can and will only do one thing from now on: serve and follow his Lord who restored his sight and gave him freedom from a life of darkness.
That is the effect that Christ has in the life of a believer!
We will have that transformed heart and true desire to serve the Lord with our lives. There will be instances where that roadside looks tempting and we stray towards it to beg once again, but the Holy Spirit will always convict us and call us back to Christ to remain steadfast after Him!