Sunday, April 01, 2012

Discarded Cloaks

This morning, I preached on Mark 10:46-11:11. There are two stories there, which most commentaries put on either side of a major division in the book, but I'm sure should go together - they probably happen on the same day, at either end of the same road, and Bartimaeus uses the kingly title "Son of David". Titles of Jesus matter in Mark, and all the other mentions of David are in Passion Week.

One of the common features between the stories which I picked up on is the discarded cloaks. When Jesus calls him, Bartimaeus throws his cloak away. And as Jesus enter Jerusalem, people throw their cloaks on the road in front of his donkey.

Now cloaks matter. In Jesus' day, a cloak was a valuable possession. It was probably your only piece of warm clothing - poor people certainly wouldn't have a spare. You wore it almost all the time, and used it as a blanket at night. People weren't allowed to take your cloak in security for a loan, because it was expensive and too important for your survival. "Sell your cloak and buy one" was used in the same way that "sell your granny and buy one" is today.

But following Jesus sometimes means giving up your cloak. In Bartimaeus's case, that was because going to speak to Jesus was so urgent, and with the disciples it was a matter of worshipping him, even if that meant their security being trampled and covered in donkey poo. Following Jesus isn't always safe. Sometimes he leads us into places we'd rather not go and where no-one has a right to ask us to go. Except him. But he's always trustworthy - always with us. He is our king (as both passages point out), and he cares about us.

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