Summary: Bartimaeus was brought out of darkness because of his faith. Let’s have faith in Jesus.
Called out of Darkness
By Pastor Jim May
Jesus and the disciples stepped out onto the dusty roads of Judea and began to walk toward Jerusalem. The time that they had spent beyond the Jordan river had been eventful and Jesus had taught some great lessons to the Jews that lived in that area.
It was on this journey that Jesus confronted the Pharisees concerning the legality of divorce in verses 2-12 of Mark Chapter 10. It was on this same journey when Jesus told his disciples never to stop a little child from coming to Him, proving that children have the same access to Jesus as any adult.
It was on this journey also that Jesus came across the young man who wanted to know what it would take to obtain eternal life. Jesus’ answer was simple and yet all encompassing. In Mark 10:21 Jesus told the young man to sell out to God, take up his cross and follow Jesus. Like so many youth, even of today, the pull of the things of this world are seemingly too great for them to sell out to God. His love for what the world could offer him right now was more important to him than what he wanted most of all – eternal life.
It was at this time that Jesus uttered those words that have plagued mankind since the day He spoke them, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven”. Of course the “Eye of the Needle” was a small, narrow gate in the city wall where a camel would have to crawl through on his knees. Some people are still convinced that Jesus was speaking of a literal needle. Either way it’s nearly impossible, but every once in a while a camel will make it through, and so it is with those that are rich in this world’s goods. Some will make it into Heaven’s gate, but most won’t.
Another valuable lesson that Jesus taught his disciples was that God’s idea of greatness and leadership is vastly different from that of the world. In the world, it is that one who is most honored because of his position and authority. Most of the time leaders are picked by the world because of their ability to influence other people, plus their wealth and success are taken into consideration. It’s all about power and control
But from God’s point of view, leadership equals serving. In Mark 10:44 Jesus said that he who would be a leader must be the greatest servant. Exactly the opposite of the world’s point of view.
If you want to be the leader, then practice being the servant. Be faithful in the small things and God will exalt you in due time.
Finally, after walking for a long time, they entered the city of Jericho. Jericho was the major stop on the road to Jerusalem. It is situated some 10 miles from Jerusalem and since the time of the Passover Feast was nearing, many of the Jews were traveling on the highways, passing through Jericho and continuing on to Jerusalem to be at the center of activities when the feast began.
Mark 10:46, “And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. “
What a terrible thing it must be to live in a world filled with darkness. Someone told me a story one time of a man who was blind who was visiting in a friend’s house. In the middle of the night he decided to get up and go for a glass of water. The lights were off and the house was pitch black, but since he was blind, it just didn’t matter. A few minutes later the owner of the house else heard some noise in the darkness and got up, slowly walking around the house to see where the noise was coming from. As he rounded the corner, he ran, nose to nose, into the blind man. He turned to run in fear, tripped over a table, knocked down the lamp, fell over the sofa and then ran into a wall and bounced off onto the floor. Finally he found the light switch and turned it on. “Why were you walking around in the dark like that”, he asked his friend. “I didn’t know the lights were off”, came the answer. If you can’t see at all, and you walk around in a world of darkness, what good is the light to you?
No one knows how long Bartemaeus had sat by the side of the streets of Jericho begging. He had most likely been blind since birth. At no time in his life had he ever seen the light of the sun. He had never seen the sunrise over the hills of Judea. He had never seen the faces of any of his loved ones. Chances are that he had been left alone, to fend for himself, because no one else wanted to carry the burden of caring for an old blind man. His survival meant begging for crumbs or for whatever anyone would give to him. He was accustomed to being blind, but yet it was a very hard life to live.