So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. Hebrews 10:35
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. Mark 10:50
The above verses are the only places in the Bible where this word translated “throw away” or “throwing … aside” is used. It means to throw off, cast away, throw overboard. But these two verses are so completely different – one talking about a negative thing, throwing away your confidence in God, and the other such a picture of faith as the blind man throws aside his cloak to go to Jesus for healing – I knew there had to be a message for me in there somewhere.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
The blind man threw off his beggar’s cloak and boldly, confidently approached Jesus. He could have sat there in self-pity, blaming God for his situation, viewing Jesus cynically as just another dead-end pipe dream delusion of the duped masses. He had a good reason to be bitter.
“The ancient nations regarded blindness as the lowest degradation that could be inflicted upon man … The blind, together with cripples and lepers, were outcasts of society and kept quarantined outside the town limits; they became paupers and a menace to passers-by.” — Jewish Encyclopedia1
So, what gave this degraded outcast the boldness to cry out from the dust at the side of the road and approach the Rabbi for healing? He had probably heard of the other healings. It was probably all the buzz in the outcast community. There was that something about Jesus that invited, that drew the rejected, the pariahs. And I think the reports of miraculous healings had conceived in this blind man a very foreign thing – hope. Hope had started to grow, and hope, paired with desperation, gave him boldness.
The other verse, Hebrews 10:35, talks about throwing away your confidence. The word translated “confidence” in these two verses is parrésia and means “freedom of speech.” It means “free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance … the undoubting confidence of Christians relative to their fellowship with God.”2 Ellicott’s Commentary3 notes that “[t]o ‘cast away boldness’ is the opposite of ‘holding fast the boldness of the hope’” talked about in Hebrews 3:6.
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 3:6
We are urged to hold fast to two things – our confidence and our hope. Confidence, not in our outcast selves, but in what Jesus has done on the cross, and the hope that we have because what Jesus endured on the cross has brought us home and made us part of God’s family. No longer outcasts. If we hold down our hope, hold it fast, take possession, retain, seize on it, restrain it from wandering off. Let’s seize the hope and not let it go, but, like the blind man, let’s throw off our beggar’s cloaks of sin and lies received and bitterness and bad attitudes and pride. Let’s exercise our “freedom of speech” because the way into God’s presence has been opened up for us by Jesus. And let us come boldly, confidently before the throne so that we may receive mercy and grace in our time of need.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Mark 10:51
1Jewish Encyclopedia, Blind, the, in Law and Literature, by Richard Gottheil, Judah David Eisenstein https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3374-blind-the-in-law-and-literature
2Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
3Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
Image, Blind Beggar 1949 Kenya, by Sydney Oats https://flic.kr/p/68ZJYY