Summary: The actions of Bartimaeus provide wonderful examples of how God would have us live.
In our text today, we read of an individual who, by our standards, was encumbered with serious limitations. Bartimaeus, as Scripture teaches, was physically blind and financially strapped. But he did not allow his limitations to conquer his ambition.
Likewise, we all suffer from various limitations in our lives. They could be similar to Bartimaeus’ limitations, physical or financial. They could be emotional or spiritual. However, Scripture teaches us that we are more than conquerers through Christ. Today, I want us to take a look into the actions and ambitions of Bartimaeus and allow what is revealed to be birthed into reality for our lives. We may have various limitations, but by following the example of Bartimaeus, we can rise above our limitations and be all that God will have us to be.
I. He Took Personal Initiative (v. 46-47)
Bartimaeus took it upon himself to call upon Jesus. The Bible says, "And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out..." He possibly could have waited for a more convenient opportunity. He could have waited for a more appropriate time. The problem, however, was that his sight wasn’t getting any better.
Likewise, spiritual blindness will never improve until one has an encounter with Jesus. Bartimaeus had heard that Jesus was near. Undoubtedly, he had heard previously of the miracles and abilities of Jesus. However, only hearing about Jesus is not enough. James 2:19 states, "Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Even though the demons of hell believe in Jesus and know that He is God, it is not enough. Having a personal encounter with Jesus was Bartimaeus’ only hope of being set free from his blindness, and if not now, there was not going to be another time for Jesus never returned again to Jericho.
So what did Bartimaeus do? He did the only thing that he could do. He called upon Jesus. Rom. 10:13 states, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Friend, the only hope we have is in Jesus. Only when we call upon Jesus in true faith and repentance can we receive the marvelous blessing of God’s touch on our lives.
But notice who’s responsibility it is to call. Jesus was near, but He didn’t come until Bartimaeus called. Likewise, only those who call upon God will be saved. We must realize our helpless state. We must recognize our only remedy. We must respond to our responsibility and take the initiative to call upon God.
As in Bartimaeus’ situation, God may choose to provide a physical healing for us. But again, the responsibility to initiate physical healing rests with us. James 5:14 states, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." Sadly, God’s people many times do not receive all that God has for them, because they refuse to accept their responsibility and take the initiative to call upon the Lord - "...call ye upon him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:6).
II. He Persisted Over Obstacles (v. 46, 48)
Even though Jesus was passing by, Bartimaeus faced challenges when trying to reach him. His first obstacle was his blindness. He couldn’t physically see Him. He simply had to take the word of others that Jesus was passing by, and Bartimaeus wasn’t going to chance missing this opportunity. He called out in faith believing that Jesus was there. What a wonderful illustration of salvation!
His second obstacle was those who were around him. The Bible states, "And many charged him that he should hold his peace..." Imagine if he would have listened to them. Bartimaeus had a problem. It was by all human means an incurable problem. Yet Jesus had the only cure, and He was passing by at that moment. Bartimaeus wasn’t going to be denied. The Bible states that, "he cried the more a great deal, thou son of David, have mercy on me."
Have you been persistent to overcome your obstacles? The Bible gives us numerous instances where God has blessed lives because of the persistence of an individual. In Genesis 32:24-29, Jacob received the blessing of God because he wouldn’t let go. In Matthew 15:21-28, a daughter was delivered from Satanic bondage because of a mother’s persistence. In Luke 11:5-10, a friend received bread because of persistence. Beloved, God takes pleasure in giving you the kingdom, but sometimes he tests just how much we desire it.
III. He Responded Promptly (v. 49-50)
In verse 49, the Bible states that Jesus heard Bartimaeus’ cry and "stood still." What a wonderful expression of concern. The great God of the universe, as busy as He was with the multitude, with the task of returning to Jerusalem where He would be crucified, and with the knowledge that He would soon bear the sins of the world, still took time to stop and show compassion on one helpless soul. And beloved, He is still doing it today!