Summary: We don’t bring an issue before Jesus once, and that is the end of it, there is a purpose to our repeatedly bringing up an issue before God, and that purpose is the building of our faith. This is what Jesus does with Bart.
Bartimaeus. Physically blind, financially strapped. Stuck in a job that is going nowhere. He is a nuisance. He is in the way. He is a passing thought. He is in fact, a painful reminder to everyone walking by, that disaster is very possible in their own lives. This man is nothing….and yet, and yet, Bartimaeus is Jesus’ man. Bartimaeus is the one who Jesus pays attention to. Jesus walked by many people that day: The righteous, the godly, the honest, the faithful; Bartimaeus is the one who receives blessing, while others, who are good people, who are believers, even some are His twelve disciples, they receive nothing.
Why is that? Why Bartimaeus? Here is a man who has absolutely nothing going for him, not a thing. He is a person of no significance, whatsoever, and yet he is able to bring out some of the most powerful words in Scripture. See them there in verse 49. “Jesus stopped”. Jesus is walking along, He is on his way to fulfill his destiny as messiah in the city of Jerusalem - you know He has to be walking with purpose. He is approaching the pinnacle of His ministry here on earth and BAMM – out of nowhere, Jesus stopped. Jesus has this incredible task in front of him, and – it is just gone, set aside, not important for the moment. Astounding.
What a valuable piece of Scripture we have before us. Jesus just stops what He is doing and all attention is on Bart, “I wonder, how can I get God’s attention like that?”, “How can I get God to pay attention to me?”. Well, Mark lays it out for us right here. He sets it out before us this morning, as plain as day.
Jesus walks right by Bartimaeus, but Bartimaeus exhibits several characteristics that make Jesus stop for this man (I tell you, that blows me away), Jesus usually doesn’t stop for anything, but here He stops dead in his tracks for Bartimaeus. Let’s, look at God’s powerful Word now and see how this applies directly to our lives.
Picking up from last week, we see that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, but this is trip to Jerusalem is not just any ordinary trip. It is when Jesus is going to enter his passion, suffer and die. This is a defining moment in the lives of those walking with Him. Remember, Jesus was traveling with his twelve disciples and a large group of other people, we are not sure how many, some are believers, some are curious, some probably are not sure why they are walking with Jesus. At this point they are passing through Jericho. This is one of the oldest cities in the area. It is literally an oasis in the desert, it is called the city of palms for the many thousands of huge palm trees that grow there. Jericho sits low, near the Dead Sea about eighteen miles northeast of Jerusalem and is in a very rugged region with the road to Jerusalem leading through desolate and mountainous country, notoriously unsafe, and it was a very difficult walk to Jerusalem - it is up hill, all the way to Jerusalem. Jericho is famous for it’s walls falling down and today it is considered a Palestinian city in the state of Israel. Let me tell you, it is one hot and dusty place.