If by grace, why is effort required?

Watch the complete sermon here: https://www.bridges.church/messages/finding-jesus-mark-10-46-52/Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. This last week, we wrapped up our mark series with the healing of Bartimaeus, and we observed that Bartimaeus kept crying out to Jesus, and then Jesus came and healed him, knocking through all the barriers which were these people that wanted Bartimaeus to be quiet. But Bartimaeus forged ahead anyway, and he was healed. And we said that often happens in our pursuit of Jesus. We have barriers in the way, and we can’t just roll over and give in to whatever is keeping us from Jesus.

We have to keep crying out to him. So the question is, aren’t we saved by grace? What is this? We need to keep trying to do something. I thought it was zero effort on our part.

I would point us back to the parable of the soils, which you might remember from earlier in our series, where some plants start to grow, but they get choked out by the concerns of the world. Or they start to grow, but they’re not in deep enough soil, and they’re not able to get enough nourishment from the soil to grow. The cares and concerns of the world, the persecutions, the deceptiveness of wealth, choke it out. And we see that play out in this passage. Bartimaeus could have cared what other people were saying to him.

Stay away from Jesus. Don’t bother him. And he would have been choked out by the cares and concerns of this world, and he would have missed something. And so it is a warning for us that we need to keep going, that we need to pursue Jesus for sure, or we will miss something. But at the same time, on the grace side of it.

I won’t speak for Bartimaeus, but I can certainly speak in my life, like the example I shared of barriers between me and Jesus. The very fact that I wanted to get to Jesus in the first place is an act of Jesus. The fact that I could stand up and keep crying out to him is an act of Jesus as well. It’s not of my own doing. I can’t really take credit for that, because I do feel carried along this desperation.

Where does it come from? I mean, why do some people care to follow Jesus and other people don’t? Is it because they’re better than others, and if so, then they could contribute their salvation to their goodness? I’m better than that guy. That’s why I pursued Jesus.

And so the very fact that you even want to get up and pursue Jesus is an act of grace, even in itself. So from start to finish, it’s all him. It’s always all him. And if we look back in our lives, even our times of great effort, we might look back and say like, wow, thank you, Jesus, for carrying me through that. I don’t know how I was able to endure those circumstances.

It was only because of you. And I bet Bartimaeus has a similar story. His drive to get to Jesus and then to continue to get to Jesus, and the fact that Jesus is the one that blew through the barriers, and Jesus is of course, the one who healed him. So it’s all an act of Jesus. Our job is to continue to need him.

As we say a lot, all you need is need. And we certainly see that in Bartimaeus that. Thanks for the question. We’ll see you next time. Bye.