Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was who he needed. He pressed on through what I am sure was self-condemnation, raising his voice above the doubts in his head, fought through the reality of his circumstance, flat out ignored the jeers of the crowd and sought Jesus with every fibre of his being.
In the book of Mark, chapter 10 verse 46 to 52, Mark recounts this life changing miracle, when Bartimaeus receives his sight. Bartimaeus’ seemingly short journey from blind beggar to restored follower of Christ is illustrative of the spiritual journey for many of us.
Bartimaeus the Blind Beggar
This is the stage when we are unsaved. A slave to satan, the flesh and the world. Blinded by unforgiven hurts, hurts that were inflicted by others. Even unable to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Depressed that life did not turn out the way we planned. We did not get married, could not bring the baby to term, possibly unable to get pregnant. Life! Sometimes hungry and begging, starved of love and affection. Abused and mistreated. Lost, in a world that provides temporary pleasure but no lasting satisfaction. The perspective of others that tricks you into a careless lifestyle. Unsaved! No Jesus. Just blind, broken and lost.
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ (Matthew 13: 13-15)
Do you recall that season when you did not even know that you were lost; you simply thought that your way of life was normal, because culture, music and social and other traditional forms of media tells you what is normal . “The ‘wierdos’ in church, they are the queer ones”. Do you, like me, sometimes look back and reflect on just HOW lost you were? Do you remember being and doing the exact opposite of what you now know to be right. Indeed we were BLIND and LOST!
Bartimaeus Calls on Jesus
Bartimaeus had a need. I don’t know that he would have cried out so loudly and with such determination, if he did not. Maybe he could have been like the rich young ruler who wanted God but also wanted his possessions (Mat 13), or like the rich man who desired to build bigger barns to store his wealth (Luke 12). In different social or even financial circumstances some may feel that they have no need for Jesus and if they do (like the rich young ruler) they may not be willing to do what it takes; that is, to surrender and to cry out to Jesus. However, Bartimaeus did (and so did I). My need was for healing and restoration following a difficult and heart-breaking experience. For you it could be financial challenges, depression, physical or emotional abuse, loss, oppression or a broken relationship. We hurt and we are all in need. Some of us, just like Bartimaeus, to the point where we abandon pride, reject self-help techniques, inhale, expand our lungs and cry out with all our heart, soul, might and strength to Jesus, the only one who is able to deliver us.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
Bartimaeus is Healed
At some point, because of God’s unconditional love for us and His abundant goodness, He answers our seeking, praying and crying out. He responds and that thing that you have been longing for, finally becomes a reality. He restores your confidence, gives you success with your studies, presents you to your partner, gives you promotion at work, expands your ministry, blesses your womb, saves your family and delivers you from past hurt.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:3
Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was who he needed. He pressed on through what I am sure was the self-condemnation, raising his voice above the doubts in his head, fought through the reality of his circumstance, flat out ignoring the jeers of the crowd and sought Jesus with every fibre of his being. There are times when we must fight for ourselves, for our future, our purpose and fight he did! Bartimaeus knew that his breakthrough, healing and restoration was tied to this man who was just passing through Jericho and he was not about to miss his opportunity. Jesus heard and healed him!
Bartimaeus follows Jesus
The beginning of a new season for Bartimaeus. His faith made him whole, he was restored to relationship with God through Jesus, even as he received his physical healing. Ultimately, the restoration is meant to bring us into the family of God and like Bartimaeus, make us disciples of Christ. Our lives are forever changed, not because we received our miracle, but because we encountered Jesus. We testify of our faith in God, our very lives will demonstrate the transformative power of God. When we consider the ‘old’ man/woman and how Jesus’s touch transformed our lives, our natural response or reasonable service must be discipleship.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23)
I too was blind, but I cried out to God in my moment of need, he heard me, healed me and now I am forever a follower of Christ.