Summary: Sometimes we have to be persistent to get Jesus’ attention. Not because he’s deaf, uninterested or removed from us but because things and people prevent our coming.
“Offer of a Lifetime”
Now and then I receive emails, international in nature. These messages tell the stories of corporations that held random draws and they drew my name, to be the recipient of millions of dollars. Another type message was a promotion that a well-known automobile dealership was giving away thousands of dollars for a promotion campaign. It was an offer of a lifetime and I should not delay. To borrow a Newfoundland saying, “I might have been born in the night but it wasn’t last night!” I clicked delete and moved on with my day.
I suspect you’ve received your own lifetime offers. You’ve heard it said, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
There is one offer that is legit. It’s not a hoax. Still, we need to pinch ourselves to believe it but it’s for real. Jesus makes an Offer of a Lifetime! It goes beyond customs, status, politics, religious definitions and age. He calls to us as he did a blind man named Bartimaeus. “What do you want me to do for you?” (10:51)
Suddenly our minds are racing! How does one answer a question that is wide open to possibilities? There does not seem to be any restriction or protocol outlined with this question.
Since blind Bartimaeus received what he asked for, -- sight – (verse 51), maybe we can learn how to respond to the same offer that Jesus gives us.
In getting to the end let us start at the beginning where we observe
1. Bartimaeus demonstrates persistence in crisis
Media specialist James Caan, was offering advice to one who struggled to break into the industry. His advice will serve us well in persistent attitudes. Caan said, “There’s no secret to securing the break that you seek – persistence, persistence, persistence. It’s not unusual to hear of people sending out more than 100 letters a month to organisations in the hope of securing a role. So it’s a tough industry to break into…I find that it’s people with passion for what they do that make businesses work. Don’t let your enthusiasm waver.…If you hear of someone sending out 100 letters, make sure you send 101.”
The mob that pressed around Jesus could not silence Bartimaeus. He would only be satisfied with a response from Jesus. Was his persistence a lesson suggesting Jesus wouldn’t hear him; or if he didn’t plead hard enough Jesus would ignore him? That is difficult to accept because Jesus hears the heart of all who need him. Bartimaeus’ persistence was his response to the circumstances that would prevent him from reaching Jesus. People hushed him in an effort to make him be quiet. Maybe there was a sense of embarrassment that the dignified not be troubled with the disgraceful or beggarly. Maybe the SON fed so much into the crowd’s wants and desires with his revolutionary and liberating message that they did not want it interrupted by the dark cloud of another desperate, needy person.
Sometimes we have to be persistent to get Jesus’ attention. Not because he’s deaf, uninterested or removed from us but because things and people prevent our coming. The job is not working out or the children are a worry or the ailing parent needs increased care and the money keeps running out. We don’t see a way out or hope is very slim. In these times we may need to persistently keep repeating our needs and making our requests known to God (Phil 1:4). Circumstances and people can convince us we should be quiet.
We must be persistent. Bart would not be silence. “But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (48) Then the unbelievable happened as recorded in verse 49 in the New Living Translation! “When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”! This is an astounding statement. Jesus, bombarded with hundreds of people on their way to Passover in Jerusalem likely didn’t hear him at first. Being shrouded in human flesh Jesus was subject to human realities – realities like not hearing a call for help. It was a time when scores of people lined the streets and would throng the priests and teachers to listen and receive from them as they walked. It would have been the case here with Jesus. The only difference is this radical rabbi was stirring the pot of religious order and power. He was challenging the status quo of religion’s politics and power and its domination of the people. Therefore, hearing this rabbi was a favored experience and no doubt, those crowding him exceeded anything the other leaders could ever have imagined.
In this mass exodus through Jericho, twelve miles outside Jerusalem, Jesus heard that insistent call – “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (47-48) Somehow, this voice refused to be turned away. So, “when Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”