“This should be a good day for you. Crowds are going to Jerusalem for Passover.”
Bartimaeus handed his blanket to his brother to lay out for him. “Thank you for helping me. You’re a good friend.”
“I’m your brother. What other choice do I have?” He guided Bart to a seated position.
“You could ignore me like everyone else does. Someday I hope to go for Passover, too.”
“Maybe next year. We’ll see.”
“I feel the sun. Are there clouds to cool me later?”
“I placed you by a tree. It will shade you when the sun is high. I must go to work now.”
“I envy you that. Be careful. I’ll see you this evening.”
“I’ll come for you.”
When the sounds of voices came Bartimaeus began his ritual. “Alms…alms for the poor. I am blind. Alms…”
Some people gave him scraps of food. A drink of water occasionally quenched his thirst. A few coins landed on the blanket. Some of those were stolen.
The sound of a large group caught Bart’s attention. “Who is coming? Can anybody tell me what’s happening? Anybody…?”
“Jesus is passing with His disciples.”
“Jesus… Jesus, Son of David, have pity, show me mercy.”
“Quiet blind man. He’s too busy. There are more important people getting His attention.”
Bart leaned forward and yelled. “Son of David have mercy on me. Jesus, I need you. Please come here.”
“JESUS, SON OF DAVID…”
The crowd was silent.
“Bring him to Me.”
A shadow cooled Bart. “Okay, your yelling worked. Jesus is calling for you.”
Bart threw his cloak aside and stood. He held his arms out. When some men grabbed his arms he let them lead him to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“My eyes…I wish to see. Lord, I want to see.”
“Go your way. Your faith has healed you.”
Bart blinked. The man in front of him was smiling. Bart smiled.
The crowds pushed against Jesus. Jesus walked toward Jerusalem.
Bart looked around. The people rushed past him and pushed him back. The sun was too bright to look at. He turned and saw the tree, then his blanket.
When he spun around Jesus’s group was cresting the hill. Bart ran to catch up to Jesus. Jerusalem was within sight now.
Now I hope you see the story of blind Bartimaeus from his point of view.
He lived in darkness. It’s all he knew.
He depended on others. It’s all there was.
He longed for better. It’s what he lived for.
Until Jesus walked by on the way to the cross. Then his prayer was answered.
Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus. From those tales he was convinced He was the Messiah, the Son of David promised many centuries earlier. Other blind men had been delivered from their infirmity. Confidence was high the same result could be his. If he could have just a few seconds with the Man of God.
He knew this was his only chance to be heard. But, the crowds were loud. All he could do was be louder. He needed Jesus to see him so he could see.
I see three principles we can learn from Bartimaeus’s example.
- He believed Jesus was God’s Son. When he called Jesus “Son of David” it was a public admission of who Jesus was. The promised Messiah sent to set the captive free. Bart needed to be free of his blindness. Nothing short of a miracle would work.
- He was desperate to get Jesus’s attention. No amount of chastising from the crowd was about to silence his only chance to be set free. When they told him to be quiet he got louder. He believed his miracle was near.
- He had an answer to Jesus’s question. I don’t read any hesitation from the blind man when Jesus asked him what He could do for him. He could have asked for anything. He knew his greatest need. He asked for his miracle.
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Do you know who Jesus really is? Is He God’s one and only Son, or just a Bible character whose words are printed in red?
Are you desperate to get His attention? If you had one chance to meet Him would you do anything to get His attention, or just blend into the crowd?
What would your answer be to His question? Would you ask for your spiritual blindness to be removed, or request that promotion at work?
The best advice I ever heard about conquering goals in life comes from Chuck Swindoll: “Work like it all depends on you. Pray like it all depends on God.”
Bartimaeus was persistent. Jesus had a parable for that. His main character was a widow in front of a corrupt judge. Keep bringing your prayer request to God. He’s listening. He’ll answer in His time.
Batimaeus was confident. He knew Jesus had healing powers. More than one person had been made to see. Jesus even raised the dead back to life. Believe Jesus is still in the resurrection business, because He is.
Bartimaeus was transformed. Jesus gave him a second chance in life. Rather than go back to his spot and beg for sustenance he chose to follow the One who changed him. Jesus told him to go. Instead he came to his Lord.
Are you ready, even desperate, for a second chance? Do you want your spiritual blindness removed? Do you believe Jesus will give it to you?
What do you want Jesus to do for you?
He’s cleared the crowd away. You have his full attention.
Are you ready to leave your old life behind?
Tell Him your desire. Trust Him to deliver you. Follow him to your new life, even if it leads to death.
If you’re honest you’ll admit your old life is a dead end. Jesus promises an eternal life.
This life is your one chance to decide your eternal destiny.
Choose wisely. Remember Bartimaeus.
I’ll see you later. Wade