“So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.” – Mk 10:50
This verse has always puzzled me. It’s from the Gospel of Mark. A blind beggar, Bartimaeus, sits by the roadside and gets word that Jesus is nearby. And so Bart screams. “Jesus! Jesus! Have mercy on me!” And Jesus calls Bart to come to him for healing. And “so throwing off his cloak,” Bart runs to Jesus. Bart doesn’t forget his cloak. He chunks it to the ground. Bart runs to Jesus naked – with nothing but his need.
This scene makes me think of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve “were both naked, and were not ashamed” (Gen 2:25). But then they ate the forbidden tomato and got embarrassed. And so God made “garments of skins” for them and “clothed them” (Gen 3:21). In other words, God gave Adam and Eve new clothes, a new wardrobe, a new cloak. God, apparently, likes to give people new clothes.
Back to Bart - why leave his cloak behind? The answer, I think, is because Jesus wants to give him different clothes, a new wardrobe, a new cloak. After all, receiving a new wardrobe is what discipleship is all about. It’s about God clothing us with a new inner-wardrobe, a new heart, a new character. “Clothe yourselves with the new self” (Eph 4:24). “Clothe yourselves with love” (Col 3:14). “Clothe yourselves with humility” (1 Pet 5:5). Chunk that old cloak to the ground. Run to Jesus naked. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:14). “Put on the whole armor of God” (Eph 6:11). Change clothes.
Think about Matthew’s parable of the wedding banquet. The king kicks someone out of the party for not being dressed correctly. “How did you get in here without a wedding robe” (Matt 22:12)? The guest has no answer. So the bouncers kick him to the curb. This guest wasn’t like Bart. This guest was too attached to his old cloak. And so he missed out on the banquet.
UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 20: Like Bart, Jesus desires to heal us of our blindness. And sometimes we sabotage our own healing process. We’re too attached to the old cloak. We’re not ready, or we don’t fully desire, the new clothes God wants to dress us in. And so here’s the question we should consider for the weekend: what is our cloak? What part of our old self does Jesus want us to leave behind? What are we clinging to that blinds us? Answer that question. And then chunk your cloak to the ground. Run to Jesus naked – with nothing but your need. Don’t miss out on the banquet because you’re too attached to clothes you wore as a child.