Throwing Off The Beggars Coat

by Pastor Jared Baker on August 24th, 2018

Have you ever tried to get on an airplane without your personal identification?  You can't even get through the security check line without first showing proof of your identity.  You could tell the officer who you are and that you promise that is your name, but that doesn't matter to the TSA officer.  They will tell you to come back when you have a government issued I.D. with you!

​Your "Identity" is so important!  In the Roman empire during the time of Christ, it was common practice for the government to issue someone with blindness or an individual that was lame or an invalid an identification of a "legal beggar". Many times that identification was literally a "beggars coat". This coat gave them the legal right to beg for money on a daily basis at the side of the road.

There is a story of a blind man found in Mark 10:46-52.  Mark states that Bartimaeus was on the side of the road leading out of Jericho begging.  The Gospel writer says that Bartimaeus had "heard" that Jesus was passing by.  He cried out to Him..."Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!"  Verse 49 says that Jesus stopped in His tracks!  This blind beggar that the world had kicked to the side of the road, had just gotten Jesus' attention.   Jesus was leaving Jericho on His way to Jerusalem, where in just over a week, He would be crucified and pay the price for the sins of the world!  I'm sure that Jesus had plenty to think about at this moment, but something makes Him stop and pay attention to someone crying out above the noise of the crowd.  It was Bartimaeus crying out with a loud voice, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me."  This shows that Bartimaeus recognized Christ's true identity!  He was calling Jesus the Messiah! 

​​This man had been given the identity of a blind beggar by the world.  This man was told by the world, "here, wear this beggars coat, this is who you are."  The government had said this is who you are and nothing will ever change!  But Jesus stopped and called for blind Bartimaeus. Verse 50 says that he "throws" the coat off.  Why would Mark even mention such a thing? I believe it is to simply show us a powerful symbol of this man's faith.  Bartimaeus was saying, "I won't need this identity anymore, I'm about to receive my sight!"  This man is brought to Jesus and Jesus asks him what HE WANTS!  He doesn't ask for money or any other temporary fix for his life.  He asks for the one thing that will change his life...to see again!  Jesus then says that his faith has made him whole.  BARTIMAEUS WAS HEALED!  He then follows Christ from that moment on.

Do you see the beautiful picture here? I believe Bartimaeus was saying "I am throwing off this old beggars life.  I believe I am about to receive my sight!  I believe this old way of life is ending and I'm ready!  I'm not going back!  We are all born into a sin sick, cursed life of darkness, pain and suffering.  Only Jesus can free us from the bondage of sin and the curse of death itself!  Only Jesus can truly change our identity.  Bartimaeus recognized that his identity was about to change.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are created new in Christ when we are born again.  Does your identity come from that old man of sin, doubt, fear, failure, weakness, pride and darkness?  Or does your identity come from a relationship with Christ and His Word?  

Ephesians 4:22-24 (paraphrased) says to "strip off or throw away that old man...and put on or dress up in that new man In Christ."  ​The devil and the world may want to identify you with a beggars coat, but in Christ, it's time to throw that coat off once and for all.  You have been given a new coat, a new identity.  Get in the Word of God today and dress up that new person in Christ!


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