Summary: Ever look at the miracles of Jesus and ask why Jesus doen's show you some of that mercy? Jesus' ministry was not merely one of miracles that temporarily brought mercy to people. His was a mission of mercy for all people and forever!
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing three years ago? Think about it for a moment - 2015 It might seem like a very long time ago for some and for others like yesterday. Did you have the same job? The same number of kids or grandkids? Did you live in the same house with the same people that you do today? Go to the same school? Now think of all the different things that have occurred during those three years, experiences that you’ve had: family gatherings, projects at work or school, doctor’s visits, TV shows you’ve watched, books you’ve read, places you’ve gone. If you have a Facebook page or an Apple I phone, you might get those popup memory things, reminders of what you were doing in the past. Sometimes it might be hard to believe all that has taken place, how much things have or have not changed.
Three years was how long Jesus’ disciples had spent with Jesus. They had travelled throughout Israel – spending time up north by the Sea of Galilee at places like Capernaum and Nazareth. They travelled to the southern part of Israel to places like Jerusalem and Bethany and Jericho. For the last three years, these 12 men had spent their lives listening to, learning from and watching Jesus do some amazing things. Just think of all that they had experienced! They watched Jesus perform his first miracle at the wedding in Cana in Galilee when Jesus turned water into wine. They watched a few loaves of bread and some fish feed thousands of people gathered on a grassy hill. They had seen Jesus walk on water and calm a vicious storm simply by telling it to be quiet. They had seen Jesus bring the dead back to life – a young man in a place called Nain, the 12 year-old daughter of a man named Jairus. They had witnessed Jesus heal countless people, giving them the ability to see, to walk, to hear, to live without dreaded diseases and the torment of demon possession. What a three years it had been for Jesus and his disciples! Absolutely amazing! We might even say spectacular.
That three years was coming to an end. Jesus and his disciples were on their way up to Jerusalem where Jesus had repeatedly told them he was going to be betrayed, handed over to those who wanted to kill him, suffer, die and three days later rise from the dead. Jesus and his disciples were about 14 miles northeast of Jerusalem when they arrived in Jericho. Jericho was actually located on two sights. There was Old Jericho which had suddenly collapsed nearly 1500 years earlier and had been partially rebuilt, and then there was New Jericho which had been built just down the road from its original sight. As Jesus and his disciples left the one and began to enter the other, the crowds began to grow in size. Jesus’ reputation had again preceded him. The citizens of Jericho were well aware of all that Jesus had done in so many other places for so many other people. And so it’s no wonder that we find among the crowds a man named Bartimaeus.
The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Bartimaeus, just what we need to know. “A blind man, Bartimaeus, was waiting by the roadside begging” (Mark 10:46). The blind beggar Bartimaeus had obviously heard about Jesus and what Jesus had done for many others. He began to cry out from the crowd, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). The crowd was rather annoyed by Bartimaeus. What would Jesus want with this blind beggar anyways! Certainly Jesus had better things to do. They tried to keep Bartimaeus quiet, but he was persistent. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48). Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked that they bring Bartimaeus over to him. Did you notice what they said to Bartimaeus when they got him? “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you” (Mark 10:49). That phrase “Cheer up!” almost seems to indicate that these people could already guess what Jesus might do for blind Bartimaeus. Jesus asked him what he wanted Jesus to do for him, and Bartimaeus’ words were straight to the point, yet respectful, “Rabbi, I want to see” (Mark 10: 51). Bartimaeus trusted that Jesus had the power to do what no one else could. And Jesus simply replied, “Go, your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52). Immediately Bartimaeus could see the one he had been calling out to, and he followed Jesus as he continued down that Jericho road.
You might look at this account and wonder, “Why doesn’t Jesus do that for me?” or, “Why doesn’t Jesus do that for my loved one?” “Why doesn’t he show me some mercy, relief from this chronic pain, from this debilitating disease, from this struggle with addiction, from these problems in my relationship with my spouse or my children. Why doesn’t Jesus show me some mercy?” It’s not as if Jesus hasn’t invited us to come to him with our requests for deliverance. In Psalm 50:15 we hear the Lord say, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). We approach the same exact Lord that Bartimaeus approached. And we trust that Jesus has the power to do for us what he did for Bartimaeus, delivering us from the problems and pains that we face in life. And Jesus may choose to give us immediate relief like he did for Bartimaeus. But there are other times when Jesus may choose not to, as he did every day up to that day in Bartimaeus’ life. Why?