(This is #3 of the presentations for the series “Fashion Statements: Lessons from Garments in the Bible.”)
Do you own a pair of jean that has rip on it? I was looking at a shopping mall one time and I saw these jeans that look like they were trampled upon by a horse and has big tear or rip on its legs. And when I look at the price, they are even more expensive than the decent new-looking pair of jeans. Why? A popular type of fashion nowadays is the shabby look. Are they trying to look homeless? Or are they trying to mimic the beggar’s look?
We will talk about beggar’s fashion today. Do you rock the look of the taong-grasa?
There was a story in the Bible about one beggar. His name is Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is blind and he was begging at the side of the road in Jericho. During those times, blind people have not much technical and financial support like today, that they end up becoming beggars. They can only rely on the mercy of others. Moreover, people that are sick, like the lepers and blind are thought to be sinners and that God was punishing them. Remember the one instance that the disciples ask Jesus about a blind man and they were asking whose sin was it that cause blindness to this man, was it his own sins or was it his parents?
Anyway, one day Jesus was passing through Jericho and there was a large crowd that followed him. Bartimaeus heard the commotion and ask what was happening. Then someone told him that Jesus was passing by.
Bartimaeus perhaps have heard about Jesus and his miracles of healing sick people, including the blind. So Bartimaeus started shouting. He shouted: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
The title “Son of David” is a term used for the promised coming Messiah of the Jews. Bartimaeus may be blind, but he has a good insight. He knows and has accepted that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Then the people tried to silence him. They tried to shush him, and probably told him that Jesus has no time for a beggar like him. But he shouted even more louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus heard his shout for mercy and He called him over. Let’s read:
Mark 10: 49-50 -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.
When Jesus called Bartimaeus he threw his coat aside. Why is that significant? Maybe you would say he threw his coat aside so he would not trip on it or that it will not hinder him. But there is more to this.
During those times, beggars have a special kind of cloak, maybe like an official beggar’s cloak or coat. It identifies them as beggars. Maybe it was like a license or permit that they can beg. Perhaps this is the cloak that they will lay on their feet, and people passing by would toss coins or money into this beggar’s cloak.
But when Jesus called him, Bartimaeus threw aside his beggar’s coat. Even before Jesus healed him, he already decided that he will not need his beggar’s coat anymore. He left his cloak of livelihood. He burned his bridges. No more turning back to his old ways of living. He would not be begging anymore. Because he knew Jesus would heal him and his life will change.
Mark 10:51-52 –“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
My friends, are we still clinging to our beggar’s coat? Are we satisfied with our poor condition? Are we satisfied with being blind and living in a dark. Jesus is passing by and He is calling upon you. He is offering a better life. He is offering healing that we could see. That we could see Jesus Himself.
Let us throw aside our beggar’s coat.
(*photo from pinterest)