Blind Bartimaeus

Friday, August 23, 2013

How strong is your desire to draw closer to Christ? Are you willing to break through barriers to be close to him? How strong is your faith when barriers are between you and Jesus?
The story of Blind Bartimaeus is one of the greatest lessons on faith in all Scripture. This story of Jesus healing a blind man takes place on the outskirts of Jericho as Jesus was passing through on His way to Jerusalem. His thoughts were set on the city where He knew He would be arrested and crucified in a few days. He must not have noticed the man sitting on the side of the road as He passed through Jericho one final time. But something got his attention and he stopped. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar sitting in the dirt at the rear of the large crowd, began to cry out with a loud voice.

“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”  (Mark 10:47)

Bartimaeus had certainly heard the stories of Jesus healing other blind men and how He had caused the lame to walk and the deaf to hear. I imagine that he desired the same type of miracle to be performed on him. So, when he realized that it was Jesus who was passing by that day, he cried out with all his might, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Now!” But the crowd of onlookers became angry at his cries for help and tried to silence him. 

 “...many rebuked him...” (ASV)
“And many severely censured and reproved him, telling him to keep still...” (Amplified)
 “...many were sternly telling him to be quiet.” (NASB)

The onlookers became the barrier between Bartimaeus and Jesus. The fact that the blind man called Jesus by the title Son of David shows that he recognized Jesus as the Messiah so perhaps the crowd feared he was a rabble rouser. Maybe they thought he would create too much of a commotion.  Maybe the cries of the blind beggar made them uncomfortable.  Maybe they wanted Jesus’ attention all for themselves.
The longer the protests, the louder Bartimaeus cried out, “Have mercy on me! Now!”

Bartemaaues was trying to silence the objectors.
His desire was greater than the objections.
His desire was greater than the barriers.

Is your desire affected by your barriers? Do barriers get in the way of your desire? Do you have people barriers?
Do people try to prevent you from growing in your faith? Do people want to keep you the same? Are they afraid that if you draw closer to Christ, you’ll grow further away from them? Are there people who want to keep you defeated? Do people want to keep you comfortable and living in your status quo? Are there people who want to keep you blind?
Do people label you, put you in a category and not want you to change? Do others get upset if you want to move forward and make changes when they want you to stay the same?

What are other kinds of barriers are between you and Jesus? Are distractions keeping you from a full relationship with Christ? Time? Lack of desire? Overload?

Jesus stopped, responded to the man’s cry for help, and called Bartimaeus to come to him. Jesus made a way for the man to break through the barriers. Would Bartimaeus have the faith to respond? Could he cross the barriers of negativity to get to Jesus? Would his desire overcome the barriers?

Mark 10:50 says, “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.”

The cloak was used for many purposes: a blanket for sleeping, a covering against the sun and weather, and a blanket to sit on. The cloak was Bartimaeus’ only protection and only possession. In a sign of faith, he was able to cast aside his security and moved through the barriers. Bartimaeus left his past behind.
Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (Mark 10:51 KJV).
Why would Jesus ask a question with such an obvious answer? Everyone could clearly see that the man was blind and that he would want to see. The word “wilt” is the Greek verb “etheleo” and literally means desire  or purpose. Jesus was asking, “What do you desire? What is your purpose here?” Jesus wanted the man to claim out loud what he desired on that very day. Jesus wanted to hear Bartimaeus express his faith, his desire.
The blind man said unto him, “Lord, let me receive my sight.

Have you ever been so desirous of something that you could taste it? You could feel it? You wanted it so badly that you were willing to do anything to get it? Can you imagine Batimaeus sitting on the side of the road day after day hearing passersby talk about Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David? He must have pondered the possibility that Jesus could wander by him. He must have imagined himself approaching Jesus and sharing his desire to be made whole. Maybe this thought gave him his passion, his purpose for living. So when Jesus arrived, Bartimaeus was ready. He leapt at the chance to talk with Jesus.

2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner was asked what his thoughts were he faced his final hole. He said he practiced shots like that one over and over. He said he practiced so that when the time came to hit the shots, he was reacting with experience. He could focus on the shot because that’s what he had prepared to do.
Bartimeaus must have practiced his scenario with Jesus because when the time came, he was ready to make “the ask.”

Mark 10:52 says, “And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

Jesus told Bartimaeus that he had enough faith to transform his life. Bartimaeus had the desire, the passion, the guts to change his life. In doing so, he received sight and then followed Jesus.

Do you see the Spiritual path that Bartimaeus was on is the same one we travel? The Holy Spirit drew the blind beggar to Him as he heard the stories of Jesus. The Spirit did a work in him. Bartimaeus acknolwedged Jesus as Son of David and gave a public expression of his faith to Jesus and to all the onlookers. And then in his next step, he entered the Highway of Holiness, the Way. He followed Jesus. When Bartimaeus’ thoughts, emotions, heart, and desires were focused on the WAY, he began a life of transformation.

When our thoughts, our emotions, our hearts, and our desires are focused on THE WAY, spiritual transformation occurs.

What are the barriers between you and Jesus? Is your desire and faith strong enough to break through them? Jesus is waiting on the other side and he wants to transform your life and set you on The Way!


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