I am convinced those who create contracts are paid by word count. Each “and”, “or”, “within” or “without” may have a purpose when used in a certain context, but it seems they are simply meant to dissuade people from reading them (and hiring a lawyer to do it). I am blessed with this “duty” because I can see past the clutter and focus on the most important aspects of contract-speak. An asset in office situations and helpful when editing creative endeavors, but a hindrance in consuming Scripture. The Words of God were strategically placed with purpose where like contract-speak, each word has meaning. In seeking the forest in spite of the trees, I missed a tender sprout, green and lush but just out of my line of site, until today.
As Jesus and his disciples … were leaving the city, a blind man … 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!” … Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” …Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked… “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 NIV
This story also appears in Matthew and Luke; however, Mark added a detail that had previously gone unnoticed. When Jesus called the beggar, he threw his cloak aside, jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
A cloak was a long outer garment and according to color and adornment, was a symbol of position, perhaps the most expensive clothing that one owned. For a beggar, it would have been used as bed and blanket, and a place to hide his belongings, his “shopping cart” to give it a more modern analogy. Leaving it was no small thing, yet when Jesus called, he jumped up and ran to Him, leaving all he had behind. This was the act of faith Jesus saw, not just the belief in the Power of Jesus. Upon receiving his sight, he followed Jesus, not running back to tell friends and family, following Jesus. Luke’s version said he:
followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35-43. NIV
What cloaks hold you back? Mine are memories of sins forgiven but not forgotten, fears of exposing darker parts of who I was, and in some ways, still am, and the worry of laying open my heart only to be crushed back into submission by this world.
The beggar wanted no more than to see and see Jesus. He cast off his cloak, followed Jesus, praising God and inspiring others to do the same. Perhaps the miracle was not only restoring sight, but encouraging casting of cloaks, leaving old things behind and being bold enough to follow in the light of day, allowing others to receive sight as well.
Lord, please grant me the strength to cast off my cloaks and shed old skins, that I may hear Your call, jump to my feet and run to You, and that others may see and do the same.