And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. (Mark 10.46 ESV)
You are blind Bartimaeus. You are sitting by the road of life, a beggar, a victim of circumstances, until you recognize that Someone is near to lift you up.
Get sidetracked by Bartimaeus’ physical blindness and you could miss the whole point of this amazing story. Humans tend to do that, looking at the outward appearance and miss the inward activity, the spiritual miracle that God is performing in the heart.
God worked on the heart of this man and displayed His love and power to us as an example. This may be one of the most important true-life stories in the Bible.
Bartimaeus’ eyes were without light, darkened. He was a beggar, sitting by the roadside. The joys of life, great and small, were passing him by. People were moving, ever-onward toward their destination, but poor, blind, beggarly Bartimaeus sat on the sidelines – his very life was passing him by and his only hope: that a crumb would be tossed his way … now and then.
You are on a highway, today, a travelled way, making decisions that lead you toward your destination. You are there passively, as a beggar and victim, or you are a person seeking to fulfill the calling and vision of God for your life. It is your choice. It’s always your choice.
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!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47-48 ESV)
Call out to Jesus! He is your only hope. He is your only answer to life’s questions. You can try to cast blame on others for your supposed predicaments; you can try to make excuses; you can wallow in self-pity; or you can seek the One, the only One, who can give you life and joy now!
Mary and Martha were grieving at the lost of their brother and looking toward heavenly relief. But Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11.25) The Answer to life’s problems, the hope for eternity, the joy unspeakable resides in a Person: Jesus Christ. He has conquered death! Literally, figuratively and spiritually, Jesus Christ conquered death. A Person, God the Son, rose bodily from the grave and conquered the greatest enemy that you will ever face. Call out Jesus.
Notice that people tried to keep poor, blind, beggarly Bartimaeus quiet! This man had nothing but the cloak on his back. They were in far, far better shape physically than he, yet they tried to silence him as he sought answers.
If you call out to Jesus, the worldly will try to keep you quiet.
If you call out to Jesus, the “religious” folk will especially try to keep you quiet.
Please realize that “religious” people are simply worldly people in sacred garb. So-called religious people have the heart of the worldly but have holy window dressing. So-called religious people don’t want to change, they see no need to change and they judge you by the standards they have imagined and adopted for themselves.
Be careful. The so-called religious people will cast you in the role of their own making, force you onto the stage of their own liking, and throw tomatoes at you when you fail to act as they see fit.
The Christian faith is more than a worship service on a beautiful Sunday morning.
The Christian faith is more than words repeated or correct words spoken.
Christianity is a relationship with the living God!
Christianity is a changed life and a changed heart.
Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.
― John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself
Bartimaeus’ only hope for vision was Jesus. Jesus came to give you life, true life, everlasting life, His life. Call on Him and He will answer.
And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10.49-52 ESV)
Let the words of the old Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” be your prayer…
1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
2. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
3. Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
4. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, be first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
5. High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heav’ns joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Words: Attr. Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century. Translated by Mary Byrne, 1905 and Eleanor Hull, 1912. Copyright: public domain.