“As He (Jesus) went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.’ And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”
I went to church this week and found myself to enjoy our main service but God used my time volunteering in children’s ministry to really speak to me. Faith like a child, right? Sometimes it’s the simple messages that speak profoundly to us. This is what the children’s ministry message was about… blind Bartimaeus. Now while they focused on Jesus having power over sickness God spoke some great things to me.
I often feel like Bartimaeus. Not physically blind but spiritually blind. When God brings me a revelation about my sin or my relationship with Him and He opens my eyes I am in shock and amazed at how blind I was before. Bartimaeus knew he was blind. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t know how spiritually blind I am. Sometimes my sin is so extensive and complicated and overwhelming that I don’t know what to pray for and I’m left feeling somewhat blind to it. So I begin calling out to God to give me wisdom to see things clearly, to give me strength to persevere in victory over my sin and just like the multitudes told Bartimaeus to be quiet, the devil and my flesh and the world all tell me the same. Shhhhh. Don’t ask Jesus for something like this. He’s got bigger problems on His plate. You should be able to handle your sin on your own, after all you probably were the one who got yourself into this mess in the first place. And often those messages get the best of me and I begin to silence myself. God doesn’t want to hear me come again and again to Him with the same thing.
But Jesus stood still and called Bartimaeus to come to Him. Jesus had somewhere to go. He had people following Him who were now forced to stop and wait before they could move on. But nonetheless Jesus stood still. He stopped at the voice of Bartimaeus. Why did He call Bartimaeus to Him? Why didn’t Jesus just go to Him? Jesus may call us but if we don’t stand up and walk away from our old stuff and walk towards Him then we can’t receive what He has for us. Come to me Bartimaeus. Come all you who are weary. Come. Come. Jesus is there with an endless supply of whatever we need whenever we need it… but we have to come. This is where the victory or defeat comes. I have experienced both. I have chosen to stay put. Jesus I want you to come to me. I don’t want to take any steps and get up and do anything. Can’t you just change things from where you are and then I’ll get up and come to you? I want to be more like Bartimaeus when I am calling out to God and He answers and asks me to come to Him… “throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.” He did not want to sit back and miss his one amazing opportunity to interact with Jesus. Bartimaeus knew Jesus had the power to heal Him. He had heard about Jesus and was thrilled that Jesus was walking right past him. This was it. The moment he had hoped and dreamed about for who knows how long. There’s no way he would just sit back and let Jesus pass. He threw aside what he was carrying and came to Jesus when he called.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” Hmmm. I’m pretty sure Jesus already knew. Why did He ask? I’m sure there are many reasons and one sticks out to me for how it relates to my walk and experiences. Humility. It’s along the lines of when we ask someone to forgive us. Forgive us for what? We need to tell them what we did wrong and ask them to forgive us. Not just “I messed up will you forgive me”. When we are specific it gives power and victory over those words. It lets us and those around us and Jesus know that we know what we are asking and what our expectations are. “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” He could’ve asked for more money when he begs. He could’ve asked for a comfortable covered home. But he knew Jesus was bigger than that. Heal my blindness! Bartimaeus had never seen the light of day. How audacious of him to ask that of Jesus. But he did and he should have and I’m glad he did.
“‘Your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” Can you imagine how Bartimaeus must have felt?!? Seeing for the first time and now a part of the multitude that had shushed him up on the side of the road. Walking in step with Jesus not even knowing where He was going and what they were going to see. Have you ever had your eyes opened from spiritual blindness? There is a power, a freedom, an excitement. I can see! I get it!
I am praying from this message that God will help me to earnestly call out to Him for my blindness and that I will shush up the world, the flesh and the devil when they tell me to be quiet and stop calling out to God. I am praying that the second Jesus calls for me to come to Him that I will throw aside what I am clinging on to and come to Him. I am praying that I will ask Jesus specifically what I want Him to do for me (according to His will) and that when He does it that I will receive it and follow Him.