Whenever His name is called, heads would certainly be turned towards Him. For the name JESUS literally means the Lord saves — a very significant and powerful name. So, when Bartimaeus was desperately calling out the name of Jesus, that repeated loud heart-cry must have sent reverberations through that alley, and caused the boisterous crowd to turn to Jesus — to see how he would respond (see Mark 10:46-52).
JESUS — this was the name specifically given by God through His angel for the child to be born. And the meaning of that name was clearly recorded — given for Joseph’s and our benefit. His mission on earth was spelled out: “… you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21). The name of Jesus speaks of salvation — The Lord’s salvation.
We would only look for salvation when we find ourselves in dire straits. A person sliding down a treacherous slope would call out for help, longing for salvation.
One who has contracted a deadly disease (as encountered by my missionary colleagues at the height of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia) would deeply value salvation. They were grateful for the prompt and careful evacuation by a specially equipped plane for that vital medical treatment needed. And, if one is hopelessly lost in the jungle, the salvation by experienced search parties would be gratefully received. But we would not look for salvation when we think we can fix that problem ourselves. Or, perhaps when we think someone else with a particular expertise could be engaged to help fix that problem. So, we try to find our own solution … until we reach the point of helplessness.
Blind Bartimaeus realized that he was helpless and hopeless. He desperately wanted to see. He believed that Jesus has the power to grant him sight. So he boldly and repeatedly called out to Jesus. We will only desperately cry out for salvation when we come to the point that we are in dire need. When we realise that we are bound by sin, when we come to the point of knowing that we cannot fix it, when we know that we are bereft of hope — only then will we call out for salvation. Only then will we value what Jesus has come to fulfill.
The Good News is found in the Person of Jesus. His name brings that message of hope. The mission of Jesus on earth is emphatically declared in this statement: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)
Let me share the following heart-warming testimonies I heard recently:
- Just last week, a brother whom I met for the first time, introduced himself this way: “You can call me Evangelist Simon. I served time in prison. I have come to know Jesus. Hallelujah! Now I have the joy of telling people the Good News about Jesus.” I don’t know anything about Simon’s past. But in that brief encounter, he testified that he has met Jesus who has changed his life! The Lord saved him and he is now journeying forward, grateful for the new life that Jesus has given him.
- A sister shared that she was so bound by bitterness in her heart. In her encounter with Jesus, she found forgiveness and learned to forgive and release her hurts and pain. The bitterness gradually dissipated. She shared that Jesus has liberated her from baggage that bound her in the past. She experienced the Lord’s salvation — healed, restored, and now experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised.
Praise God. This is the Good News, found in the Person of Jesus. Indeed, as the apostle powerfully declared, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). And we can rejoice when we read of God’s on-going work of salvation to those who come to Him:
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT). Whatever God starts, He will finish and bring to perfection!
By Dr David LT Yap, Advisory Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 22&23 December 2018)