Strength of Faith
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
Over the months of Ordinary Time, (and we only have three Ordinary Sundayâ€™s left) we spend time dedicated to growth. We focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith.
Last night, on the Grand Ole Opry, Carrie Underwood sang â€œJesus Take The Wheel.â€ The woman in the song had a barTimaeus experience as she shouts out in despair and hope: Jesus, take the wheel!
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me. Jesus, son of David, have pity on me! Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!!!”
We humans by design have a natural fight or flight response. Our adrenaline kicks in and sometimes we can even accomplish superhuman feats.
We see this as each of these people call out to Jesus. The experience of barTimaeus and the woman in the song are testimony to the coordination between our spiritual and physical lives as we hear them call out with all that they are.
In both cases these people find themselves in a very empty place. They are alone, apart, scarred, fearful, and in need of great and immediate help. In both cases they cry out to Jesus. Their bodies and spirits are united in seeking His help. In both cases, with barTimaeus the factual case, the plea is answered.
Did these people live in Strength of Faith?
For barTimaeus, he absolutely lived by faith. He knew that Jesus could save and heal him. It is why he called out despite being criticized. As such, once Jesus summoned him, he thew aside his cloak â€“ which was both garment and symbol for a beggar who depended on others and went to Jesus. He knew he wouldnâ€™t need that cloak and that he would see. He was fully trusting by the Strength of his Faith.
In the song, after the car is saved, the woman prays, first seeking forgiveness and then pledging amendment of life. She certainly had faith, but no real Strength of Faith. She had not been living faith; hers was dead and cold. She was blocking faith out until the urgency of the situation.
What comes next for each of them is what is most instructive for us and exemplary. Both barTimaeus and the woman moved forward continuing then to live in Strength of Faith. barTimaeus went on to follow Jesus. The woman, freed, recommitted to Strength of Faith.
Both had their shout of plea changed to a shout of proclamation. Both went on to witness boldly to Jesus (even when people told them not to) with all they had. So must we.