Matt Hagee - I'm Not Yelling at You
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Everybody knows what a shout sounds like. But there's all kinds of reasons why people shout. If you've been married any length of time, you're familiar with shouting, not for any nefarious reasons. I mean, sometimes you're just in the other room, and you shout, "Do you want to eat"? "Well, what do you have"? "Yes or no"? Go to a sports game and you'll hear people shout. Shouting is just like talking: it's just a little louder. Something happens. It's a little different when the air gets all the way down into the bottom of your diaphragm and it comes up in an explosive eruption as it travels over your vocal cords. What was at a normal level of loud, now suddenly, becomes something that you might consider obnoxious, because it's not just normal talking: it's a shout!
Like I said, go to an arena where people have paid tickets to have that seat 976 feet in the air. And when the guy that they came to see runs out of the locker room and onto the court, they shout. It's warm-ups, and they shout. He hadn't done anything yet. He hadn't scored any points. He hadn't dunked a basketball, but ooh-ooh-ooh, here he comes. And then they go buy a $200 coke and a box of popcorn. And they get back up in their seat. And the first time he does anything remotely athletic, they shout, "Yay"! It's amazing to me why people are so willing to engage in those arenas and those spaces and those places with such enthusiasm and excitement, but then they come to church and they sit still, and they act like everyone should be quiet.
You see, the Bible tells us in various passages: it says, "Shout for joy unto the Lord". And it says, "Shout unto God with a voice of triumph". And it says, "With a shout of praise, will I enter his gates with thanksgiving". Why? Because there are times when you need to consider what God has done for you, not the price you paid to see him, but the price he paid to receive you as his child. And when you start to consider who you were before you met him, and now who you are because you have him, child of God, there are times when it is okay to let the world know how you feel about the God that you serve. It's okay to shout about a healer, who can break the bonds of sickness. It's okay to shout about a provider who can make a way where there seems to be no way. It's okay to shout about a God who heals, and restores, and revives, and redeems, and moves mountains, and defends, and protects, and lifts the burden, and destroys the yoke! When you're talking about that kind of Jesus, give him a shout of praise!
But on this day, they're mad at Bartimaeus for shouting. And I would contend with you that for all of the people who are walking with Jesus, they're blind to who he truly is, but the blind guy actually sees him. And you need to understand that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Because there are a lot of people here today and there's a lot of people in this world who are blind to who Jesus truly is. You see, from the Jewish perspective, it wasn't anything strange for Jesus to be walking towards Jerusalem at this time of year, because as it says in Luke 22, it was the time of the Passover. The Passover was the time when God commanded the men in Israel to make their way to the temple so that they could sacrifice the spotless lamb and remember the redemption that God gave them through Moses in Egypt. Not only were they to remember the redemption of the first Passover that delivered them from the slavery of Egypt, but they were to be reminded that God had promised that there would be one who was to come who would be the Messiah who would set up a kingdom of a thousand years of peace.
As a matter of fact, even to this day, there's a phrase in the Jewish culture that says, "Next year in Jerusalem". And what they're saying is, hopefully, next year when we celebrate Passover, we're not going to celebrate it just with us, but Messiah will be here. So on this day, when Jesus is walking towards Jerusalem, thousands of faithful Jews are in the same caravan, because they're all going to Jerusalem looking for the one who was promised to come. Guess who's in the crowd? The one. He's just a few feet away, and they don't even know he's there. They're blinded. They're blinded by their traditions. There's no way that the Messiah's going to come in a manger. There's no way that the Messiah's going to come out of Nazareth. Nazareth? This is what Philip said to Nathaniel in John 1. He said, "We have found him that Moses spoke of and the prophets spoke of. He's Jesus of Nazareth".
Now think about this. Philip is saying, the guy that we've been looking for, for a thousand years, has just showed up. And the first thing Nathaniel says is, "Not from Nazareth". You see, there's times when our perspective, our assumptions, our familiarity cancels out the true identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem, and there's people who are blinded because of their religious tradition and obligations. His disciples, they're not blinded by traditions: they're blinded by ambition. They believe that this is the promised one. They believe that he's just like Moses. They believe that what Moses did in Egypt, Jesus is going to do in Jerusalem.
This is why the disciples are arguing with each other all the way up to the time of his arrest: who's going to be the greatest? Who's going to sit on your left? Who's going to sit on your right? Who are you going to hand the crown and the authority and the power to? Because we know who you are. You're the son of the living God. You're going to kick Pontius Pilate right out of his chair. You're going to clean out the swamp. We are riding the j train all the way to the capital, baby. And just like it was then, it is now. There are people, who are interested in what Jesus can do for them, not what they can do for him: not, "Lord, let me serve you," but "Lord, you serve me".
You need to understand something. Jesus Christ is not a political figure. Contrary to popular belief, he's not a left or a right-leaning God. He doesn't live in a red state or a blue state. He's not a conservative and he's not a liberal. He is, however, king above kings, and he is Lord above Lords. He sits on the throne and he holds this earth in the palm of his hand. He is the highest of the high courts. He cannot be overruled. He will not be overturned. And he cannot be outvoted. He is greater than the greatest forces on the face of the earth. When the powerful people on this planet get together and they plot and they plan, the Bible calls it, "A vain thing". Why? Because God is the one who decides. He looks at the plans of earth and he laughs and he brings wise men into confusion.
If this nation, if this world, if these people are ever going to be saved, revived and restored, it will not be when we try to fit God into our agenda. It will be when we humble ourselves and when we pray, and when we willingly seek his face. That's when he heals our land! People want to know: when is God going to move? When is God going to revive? When is God going to change? God is not going to change until we repent. Then he'll heal and change our land. We cannot be one nation under God until we submit to him. And until then, we are going to be a nation gone under. Because the Bible says, "All nations that forget God are turned into hell". The people who are walking with Jesus have their agenda, but they don't know who Jesus truly is. Yet Bartimaeus, he calls out to him. And he says something that is so powerful and so profound. He says, "Jesus, son of David".
It's a Messianic statement. He's saying, you're not the boy from Nazareth, you're not the controversy in the manger, you're not that radical rabbi from Galilee, you are the son of David. You are the seed of Jesse. You are the one that they promised would come. And when you come, the Bible said that the spirit of the Lord was upon you, because he anointed you to open up the eyes of the blind. So if you are who they say you are, then you should be able to do what they said you can do. And I'm a blind man, so today I'm asking you, "Son of David, have mercy on me". Bartimaeus may not have had natural sight, but trust me: he saw a lot more than you think he did. In Luke, we're told that he's a blind beggar. In Mark, we're given his name, Bartimaeus.
Now why would Mark give us his name? Because in the Bible, your name revealed your character. And the Hebrew word "Bartimaeus" is actually two words put together. "Bar" is the Hebrew word for "Son of". This is why when a Hebrew child turns 13, he has a bar mitzvah. "Mitzvah" is blessing. "Bar" is son of. So that celebration means you are a son of blessing. "Bat mitzvah," daughter of, "Mitzvah," blessing. You are a daughter of blessing. You are here to be blessed. So "Bar" means son of. What does "Timaeus" mean? It doesn't mean blessing. It means foul and defiled one. Blind Bartimaeus is not only unable to see, but blind Bartimaeus has a history that's not worth talking about, because he's the son of the foul and the son of the defiled. And not only is he in a bad situation, but literally in the city of Jericho, he's geographically in the lowest place on the face of the earth. Ninety-two feet below sea level is where Jericho resides. And everything is a climb up from there.
So here we have a man who cannot see. Not only can he not see, but because he's blind, he cannot work, so he's in poverty. Not only is he in poverty, he's got a social problem. He's the son of the foul and he's the son of the defiled. And he's in a low, low place. Men around him would think, if there's anybody who's not worthy to call upon Jesus, it's Bartimaeus. But before we judge Bartimaeus for calling out to Christ, recognize that you and i, without Jesus in our lives, are just as low, just as lost, and just as poor as Bartimaeus. We are all sons and daughters of the defiled, because the Bible says, "By one man did sin enter the world". That man was Adam. And Romans tells us very clearly that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Without Jesus in your life, you are a defiled man and a defiled woman.
It doesn't matter how old, how young, how rich, how poor. Spiritually, you're in the lowest place on the face of the earth if you do not have Jesus Christ as your Savior. Without him, you have no hope. For Jesus said, "I am the door. No man comes unto the father but by me". Without him, you have no joy, because in his presence is the fullness of joy. Without him, you have no peace, because he is the Prince of Peace. Without him, you have no victory, because he is the God who gives you the power to overcome every form of affliction. Bartimaeus may not have been where he wanted to be. He may not have had a history that he was proud of. He may not have been able to do much within his own self to improve his circumstance, but he was told something that changed everything, and that was this: "Jesus is passing by".
Child of God, you may not be where you want to be today. You may not be who you want to be today. You may not feel like you can do anything to change your circumstance or situations. But I'm here to tell you that this is a time that God has set aside for you to be where you are, and Jesus is passing by. This is no ordinary rabbi. This is Jesus, who spoke the word and healed the sick. This is Jesus, who stood outside the tomb of Lazarus and said, "Come forth". This is Jesus, who broke the bread, and he blessed the fish, and 5,000 families were fed. I don't care how low you feel. I don't care what you're walking through. I don't care what kind of past you have. Forget about those things that are behind you, and realize that right now, right here in this sanctuary, everything can change because Jesus is walking by.
Today, your past, he can erase. Today, that burden, he can lift. Today, that mountain, he can move, because Jesus Christ, the mountain mover, is walking by. Shout for joy! The God of miracles is in this place! So Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is walking by. And the first thing he does in verse 38, the Bible says, "He cried out". Now when you get into the text, what it says is he yelled for help. "Help"! He went, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me"! And everybody who was around him said, "Shhh, be quiet," "Not today". And in verse 39, it says, "He cried". But this time, it doesn't say he cried like he yelled for help. This time it says, "He shouted till he shook". Do you know why? Because he let that crowd know: I'm not yelling at you. I am done asking you to help me. I'm done taking the crumbs that you can give me. I'm done looking to you to fix me.
There's somebody in the room today who can change everything in me. And if it bothers you that I'm going to be noticed by him, hold my cup, because I've got something I came to say. "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me"! And when he yelled with everything he had, the Bible says, "Jesus stood still". Say that with me. "Jesus stood still". When I read those words, it gripped me, because here we have the God who holds the world in his hand. And it says he stands still. It's as if everything stopped all of time, all of heaven, all of earth. When Jesus stopped, it's as if everything said, "Hold everything! That guy, he knows who I am". He didn't just call me Jesus. He said I'm the son of David. He knows who I am. Bring him over here to me. I need to talk to him. And in verse 41, he says something that's rather peculiar. And many people use it as an indictment against a God who's not merciful.
Jesus says to Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you"? And we hear words like that, and we think, what a ridiculous question. This man's blind. Of course, he wants to see. But what you need to understand is that God is such a gracious God. He will not interfere in the circumstance until you invite him. You see, a lot of people get upset, and they get angry and frustrated with God because they say, "Well, if you're all knowing, God: and if you're all powerful, God: and you see everything, God, then why don't you just fix it for me"? Because until your mouth opens up, heaven stays closed up. He won't do it until you ask him to.
But when you ask him to, ask in faith believing, and your blinded eyes will see. Ask in faith believing, and that sickness and that disease will go away. Ask in faith believing, and suddenly, everything changes. Why? Because you have invited the supernatural power of heaven to come down into this natural circumstance here on earth. And what you could not do, you now can do. And who you could not be, you now can be. And what you needed, you now receive. Why? Because when Jesus shows up and his power moves in, what you bind on earth, he'll bind in heaven. What you loose on earth, he'll loose in heaven. He's given you the keys to death, hell and the grave, to joy, to peace, and to victory. Why? Because he is king above kings and he's Lord above Lords! Call upon him, in Jesus' name! Bartimaeus answers the question. He says, "That I may receive my sight".
Now this is not just any request. Bartimaeus is saying, this one issue is the thing that keeps me from everything. I'm broke and I have to beg because I can't see. And because I can't see, I can't work. If I get my sight back, I can go to work. I have no normal relationships, because everybody sees me as the guy who's always asking for a handout. I don't have any real friends. I just have people that come in and they steal from me whenever we're counting the coins, because I can't see how many coins I've got. They just take what they want and leave me the rest. Not only do I have social problems and financial problems because of this problem, but I've got a spiritual problem, because back in Leviticus 21, God told Moses that there's a list of people who cannot go into the temple. There's a list of people who cannot bring bread to the Lord. There's a list of people who cannot sacrifice like normal people, and the blind are on that list.
Bartimaeus is asking Jesus: I don't want you to do something for me, because if you do something for me, that'll change one thing. But if you do something in me, it changes everything. If I receive my sight, I can follow you. If I receive my sight, I can go where you go. I can walk into the temple the same way you do. I can sacrifice with the joy of the Lord as my strength. If I receive my sight, I can be useful. If I receive my sight, I can serve you. Lord, I don't want you to do something for me today. I need you to do something in me today. And when you do, change everything. Sometimes I think we come to God in prayer and we don't ask for the right thing. We ask him to do something simple. And what he wants to do is change everything.
You can have that same experience today if you'll do what Bartimaeus did, open your mouth and ask. For Jesus said in Matthew 7, "Ask, and you shall receive: seek, and you shall find: knock, and the door shall be opened". And then my favorite part of that passage is this: it says, "For everyone", say that with me, "For everyone". "Everyone who asks". When the blind ask, when the broken ask, when the bound ask, when the lowly ask, when the lost asks, when the sinner asks, it doesn't matter who you are. "When you ask, you shall receive. When you seek him, you will find him. Whenever you knock, the door will be opened," because God wants to hear from you. Jesus told the men who were listening to him that day about asking and receiving, seeking and finding: he said, "If you, being evil, want to and know how to give good things to your children, how much more will God your father in heaven give to those who ask him". How much more?
Church, today in this sanctuary, Jesus is passing by. And he's not just any kind of presence. He's much more. He's much more than a healer. He's much more than a provider. He's much more than a faithful friend. He is king above kings and he is Lord above Lords. He's the God who has created all things. He is El Shaddai, the all-sufficient one. He's the great I am and the word made flesh. He's the lamb that was for sinners slain and the Messiah who is promised to come. He is the anointed one. And when he comes, he's going to open blinded eyes, and he's going to preach the good news to the poor. He's going to take your sorrow and turn it to dancing, your fear and baptize it with his peace. But before you receive any of those things, you have to cry out to him today. Cry out and he'll set you free. Cry out and he'll turn that tragedy to triumph.
Don't let the moment that he's passing by slip through your fingers, because Jesus, son of David, King of kings and Lord of lords, he's passing by. And no matter how low you are, no matter how poor you are, no matter what you need, whoever asks, receives: whoever seeks, they find: whoever knocks, the door is opened. So right where you are, I want you to stand to your feet.
Father, today in this sanctuary and all over this nation, all around this world, your children in need have called upon you in faith. Touch them. Do the impossible. Make a way where there seems to be no way. Heal and mend what's broken. Restore what the devil has tried to destroy. Make new those things that sin has stained. And for this and so much more, we'll give you all of the glory, all of the honor, and all of the praise. And all of God's children said... praise the Lord.