Mark 10:46-50 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the 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.
Give us this day, our daily bread. Simple words, and a simple request, but underneath it all is a truth so profound that it has changed the world. That truth is not the universality of the Lutheran Lunch, but bread is where we often begin. We begin with bread, because it is good to remind ourselves that the bread is much more than bread. Even during the Exodus, those years of Israelís wandering, years often portrayed by the water from the rock, and the manna, the bread from heaven, it was not just bread, there were the quail as well, and perhaps a miracle even greater than the bread and water from a rock, were the shoes and clothes that did not wear out. We often remember the proverb, "with food and raiment therewith be content." For this is the basic stuff of life, to which everything else is the extras. And we have come to learn that the bread, is everything that we need to support this body and life, things far beyond bread -land and cattle, good weather, good government, good weather, good neighbors, pious and faithful children and spouse... Good stewardship teaches us that all we have comes from God, God gives us jobs, God gives us ideas, God gives us opportunities.
But thatís not all, for God has also given us the privilege of prayer. It is a privilege for God is very busy, and has many things to do. Because of that, many may pray to God only once or twice in a lifetime, they call upon God in the day of trouble. Many things bring people to the point where they turn to God, indeed it is often said that there are no atheists in foxholes. People turn to God when they have exhausted all their own resources, and all other hope has vanished. God becomes the court of desperation, and the court of last appeal. None of these reasons are good reasons for turning to God, and any other god would be offended by the pleas of these johnny come latelys, and turn his back on these last minute converts. Any other god would require that we find the way to God, but our God has come to us, and shown us the way to life, forgiveness and salvation.
And so we come to the story of our blindman, who heard of Jesus, heard of the miracles that he did, of the people he healed, and he called out. And he was shushed, but the nor people told him to be quiet, the more he called out. And Jesus heard his cry, and called him, and answered his prayer. We call to God in prayer with confidence, because God himself has invited us to bring all our cares and concerns, and cast our burdens upon him, and he will give us rest.
But prayer is not a once in a lifetime thing, or an only in the day of trouble. Prayer is for everyday, and for every time. So the scriptures encourages us "Pray without ceasing." We see this because we are taught to pray, not just for bread, but for daily bread. That is on the one hand we pray daily for bread, and on the otherhand we pray for that which we need each day. All this points not just to the need for the Holy Spirit to preserve us in faith, and work to make us holy, nor simply to our savior in whose blood we have life and forgiveness, but also to our heavenly father who has not only created all things, but daily preserves them as well.
And for all this that God has done for us in Jesus Christ, we find ourselves very much like blind Bartimaeus, for once we too were blind, with the blindness of sin. And God worked in our lives, brought us to faith, and opened our eyes, and healed us of every infirmity. And in gratitude for these many blessing, we like Bartimaeus, have chosen to follow Jesus along the road. But unlike Bartimaeus, we know where the road leads. And so we give thanks for our savior who suffered and died that by his stripes we might be healed, and that by his death, we might receive life. We give thanks, we pray, and we follow.