Casting Away Our Garment

A color slide of a pair of seated beggars in Alexandria, Egypt.

Many of us have at least one item in our possession that we hold onto for security. It might be a particular article of clothing, a piece of jewelry, an official document, some kind of correspondence or a card, or it could even be just a toy, book, or stuffed animal. For some, it is not a tangible object, but is instead found only in the heart. Whatever it is for each of us, we value it greatly and refuse to let go of it.

While it is not necessarily wrong to have something to fall back on in times of distress and uncertainty, it is a real matter of concern when the reason or need for this item is removed—yet we still continue to hold onto it anyway. Some will never give it up for the rest of their lives.

There was once a blind man who sat along the highway outside the city of Jericho in the Middle East begging long ago. How he became this way, we are not told. He had a garment with him that he would have used during the day to collect support from travelers passing by, and at night for protection from the elements.

When Jesus was leaving the area on His one and only trip to Jericho, He walked in the vicinity of this blind beggar. The man already knew who Jesus was and what He was capable of doing, because we read in the book of Mark that “…when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47).

Now Jesus could have passed by him and kept on going, but this was not in God’s plan. So “…Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:49,50 emphasis added). We know this piece of clothing was essential to his well-being as a beggar outside of the city. For him to throw it aside meant that he no longer needed it.

The beggar could have brought it with him when he went to Jesus, as a precaution. But, by letting go of it and throwing it aside, he fully demonstrated that his trust was in Jesus to set him free of his blindness once and for all. Even after Jesus healed him, he did not go back, pick it up, and resume sitting by the roadside. Instead, he “followed Jesus in the way (verse 52). He wanted to be with the One who opened his eyes, the One he knew would be true to His nature and His word.

God wants us to let go of whatever we have been clinging to for our security throughout our life. He wants us to give it up totally, toss it aside, and believe in Him to make us whole and to set us free. The blind beggar cast his garment aside before Jesus even touched Him, because he was already believing that He would restore his sight. This beggar was capable of believing God and doing this over two thousand years ago, and we are just as able to do the same thing now—thanks to the victory Jesus made possible for us through His sacrifice on the cross.

Where is that “old garment” you have been depending on right now? Is it still in your possession, even after He has delivered you from your physical or spiritual blindness? Or is there something you are keeping by your side ‘just in case’ things do not work out? If so, cast it away now and leave it behind forever; you do not need it anymore. Do not let doubt and unbelief take away the deliverance Jesus has made possible in your life. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

 

[Image credit:Brooklyn Museum]