Summary: If you want the Savior to stop and fix his eyes upon you, cry out for mercy!
A story is told about a pitiable creature with dark glasses who stood on a street corner with a tin cup in his hand waiting for someone to drop in a few dimes. A kind man passed by and threw in a quarter but for some reason he turned around and to his surprise he saw the blind man’s glasses pushed up on his forehead while his eager eyes closely examined the recent gift. “I thought you were a blind man” said the disgruntled donor. Oh no, was the answer, “I am only subbing for the regular blind man today. I am not really blind at all”. “So where is the regular blind man” asked the donor. “Well” said the sub, “he needed a break and so he went to the movies!
Being blind and having to beg seems to go hand in hand. In Jesus’ day and for centuries later, it was a curse to be blind and they had no choice but to beg. Even today in many parts of the third world, those who are blind are considered unproductive and not “employable” and therefore they end up having to beg to make a living.
People who are blind rely a lot on their other senses to wade thro’ life and so most of them have very sharp ears. Bartimaeus begins to hear unusual noises of a big crowd and when he inquired what was going on, he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. By now I presume that Bartimaeus has already heard the gossip of the town and how Jesus had healed others. He listened carefully and when he sensed that Jesus was close enough, he yelled out for help saying “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me”.
Friends have you ever sensed that Jesus is close to you? Have the noises of the crowds and this world deafened you so much that you are oblivious to his presence? In the midst of the many things that go on around you, be careful to listen because the son of God may be passing by your life!
Bartimaeus may not have known but it was his first and last opportunity to see Jesus because Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem to be crucified. If Jesus chose to come this night, it would be your last chance too - think about that.
Huge crowds means more passers-by which in turn translates into a wonderful opportunity for a beggar to fill his can. For you and me too, a lot of customers means more business, a lot of friends means me fun and laughter and you will have lots and lots of people around you if you conform to the world.
But look at Bartimaeus. He sacrificed the financial advantage in exchange for the Savior’s touch. He allowed the crowds to pass without showing his can. You and I have similar choices. Careers and status in society, money, wealth, good clothes, good food and a good car are some of the many things that stand between Jesus and us.
Let me give you an example. The other day I had been to a car dealership and I got talking to a salesman who was a Muslim from Jordan. He commented on my bumper sticker (it reads, "real men love Jesus"). “Wish more men could do that” he said. This puzzled me a bit and so I had to ask about his faith. I learned that he was a Christian and sometime in the past he was a missionary who traveled all over the world proclaiming Jesus. He also said that he used to preach at Church. “So what happened, why is all of this only a thing of the past” I asked to which he said, “I have a family now and I need to earn good money to take care of them”. You could probably guess from the choice he made as to what priority he has given to the masters call!
If Bartemaeus thought the same way he would have held his can out to the crowds and made some money. But in doing that the Savior would have passed by and Bartimaeus would never have gotten his sight back nor would his spiritual eyes be open.
Bartimaeus was blind as so could not see
Jesus but he believed in the one to whom he cried out “Have mercy upon me”. In a similar sense, we too might not physically see Jesus but he is never too far away that he cannot hear us call. Even though you might not see him, his eyes are always upon you! You probably remember the words of the hymn writer “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he is watching you!”.
The crowds tried to stop Bartemaus from crying out to Jesus and asked that he keep quiet. Instead he made an even louder noise. Sometimes even members of your own family might discourage you from following Jesus. There may also be others at your work or school who might try to silence your faith but we know from Bartimaeus that we are to make an even louder noise. In the book of Mathew (ch.10:32) Jesus said “whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my father and whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my father who is in heaven”. Friends, when opportunity permits, always remember to exalt the Savior!