Jesus is leaving the town of Jericho with his disciples and other people following Him. As they are walking along the highway a blind man starts crying out “Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me!! Jesus! Have mercy on me!”
Many of the followers were very familiar with Bartimaeus. He had sat in the same place for years begging money from people as they passed by so they immediately began to try to force him to be quiet. They were familiar with his ratty hair and dirty clothes, how he held his hands out begging for money in the same way each time they passed him. His eyes were a distant light blue that could not focus on anything but just looked in the general direction of what he could hear was coming his way. The crowd assumed Jesus would not want to have anything to do with him.
One man yelled, “Shut your mouth old man!” Another man walked over to him, glared at him and in a hushed tone said, “Be quiet, he doesn’t have time for you.”
The crowd trying to get him to be quiet only motivated him yell out to Jesus louder,”Thou Son of David have mercy on me!”
Jesus heard him and asked the people to bring Bartimaeus to Him.
A kind person came to him and said “Be of good comfort, rise, he calleth thee.” The kind person assured him that it was alright to go to Jesus when others had discouraged him. The crowd parted and they watched along with the disciples as he held on to the person that brought him to Christ. He stood before Christ, with his glazed eyes looking only in the direction of His voice.
Jesus said, “What would you like me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus immediately replied, “Lord, I want to receive my sight.”He confessed his heart’s greatest desire to the only One that could help him.
Kindly Jesus responded, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.” “Because you believe in me, you’re healed.”
Bartimaeus was healed and healed completely! In one instant his sight was healed, he was no longer dependent upon the help of others to assist him through every day life. He no longer had to sit along the side of the road or ask for assistance to walk like he had for years. This was probably the best day of his life! His physical and spiritual eyes were opened on the same day. He would no longer have to grope around in the darkness of life or the darkness of his sin. He was a new creature both inside and out.
Jesus instructed him to go his own way, but he did not obey. The miracle Christ performed obligated him to follow Jesus with the rest of his disciples. (Mark 10:46-52) He followed with revived senses, the great and wonderful Saviour!
My heart is touched by this account of a real event, a real person that Jesus our Savior changed.
Notice two different kinds of people in the group following Christ that day, the ones telling Bartimaeus to be quiet, and the one that comforted him and lead him to where Jesus was. Which one are you?
Bartimaeus is a representative of all those people we consider rejects in our society: The person that doesn’t fit in, that does things awkwardly outside of the acceptable box of right actions. He represents the people in the world that are hard to love because they are different.
- He’s the man who stands outside on summer days with a cardboard sign that we avoid eye contact with as we approach the stop light.
- He’s the strange person that bags your groceries and pushes the cart out to your car and makes weird comments.
- He’s the short person at school that keeps to himself, eats nothing in the school cafeteria, and makes comments about hating everyone around him.
- He’s the person with fuzzy teeth and greasy hair that constantly laughs at their own jokes, hoping to be accepted.
- The foreigner that has made desperate attempts to understand the culture and still cannot figure out how to say the words correctly or understand the lingo in order to rightly converse with people.
- The senior citizen that has a gripe about everything and won’t let anyone have their own opinions.
- The furious co-workers angered at each situation throughout the work day.
- He is any other person that we might not see as acceptable to spend time with or worth investing in.
Did you notice what Jesus did? He heard that man’s cries and He took time apart to listen to his needs and help him.
Even though people were trying to keep Bartimaeus from crying out he could not be stopped from yelling more loudly. Jesus did not ignore the cries even as they shifted into a more desperate attempt to reach Him. He stopped specifically for Bartimaeus.
The word Christian means “little Christ.” We only become a true Biblical Christian after we’ve accepted Him as our Savior. Then the true test comes!
Are you being like a little Christ in regard to others?
Have you ever taken time for someone who isn’t socially acceptable? or difficult to love?
People are crying out in desperation, perhaps not loudly, but they long for attention. If you took the time to stop and listen to someone’s needs, as Christ did in this actual event that was recorded in His Word, would it lead them to Him for the healing that their soul needs?
They want mercy from someone, anyone that can show them the way to be whole by God’s standards. The world holds people to a standard they are already rejected by. The law of God’s Word holds them to a standard they can not live up to because of their sin.
It would be false for me to say that will not be a difficult task. It sometimes means we must spend time with someone that makes us feel awkward, uncomfortable, and causes us to breathe a sigh of relief when we are finished working with them… when God prompts us to stop for others, we should consider Bartimaeus and the value of his life to Christ.
Think of your value to Christ, how He took the time to seek you out from the crowd and rescue you from your sin. Ask God to help you find someone who seems socially unacceptable so that you can be a blessing to them. Ask Him to give you the grace to be able to invest what they need so they can know Him as their Savior or grow in their relationship with Him.
YOU can make a difference in the life of a modern-day Bartimaeus, just do it!