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BLIND BARTIMAEUS

Read Mark 10:46-52

A woman rode down a hotel elevator on a day when the Press crowded the lobby, waiting for Elizabeth Taylor to come out of her suite. The elevator stopped, the doors opened, and the woman was instantly greeted by a burst of camera flash bulbs. Whereupon, the woman instinctively put her head down and her hands over her face. "There she is!" someone yelled. But when she lifted her head up a photographer said in a loud voice, "Forget it. It's nobody."

 

More often than not in our culture, being somebody means being rich and famous. Or, at the very least, being very athletic or very entertaining or very talented or very good looking. By those standards I suppose most of us would be regarded as nobodies.

 

Our text reminds us that even though in the minds of many we may be "nobodies" we are "somebody" in the eyes of the Lord. He will take the time to respond to our needs and answer our prayers. In the courts of heaven we are very important people.

 

The first thing to note in our Scripture passage is:

 I.          THE CONDITION OF BARTIMAEUS (Mark 10:46)  

            Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. As He journeys He passes through Jericho. This city is some 15 miles from Jerusalem itself. With Jesus are the twelve disciples as well as a large multitude of followers. Jesus was apparently teaching them as they journeyed toward Jerusalem.

 

            By the side of the road was Bartimaeus. Mark tells us that he was blind. He was unable to see a sunset, trees, the rolling flow of the Jordan, or even the crowd passing by with Jesus.

 

            Mark also records that Bartimaeus was a beggar. He had nothing. Each day he was placed by the side of the road to beg for his sustenance. To many in the area I am sure that he had become somewhat of a nuisance. He was a bother. They probably wished that he would just go away.

 

            During a recent trip to Chicago we had opportunity to walk down Michigan Avenue to do some sightseeing. Within the six to eight blocks that we walked we were approached by three individuals requesting assistance. On another trip to Phoenix as we were unloading our luggage from the car a man walked up and asked for help. Even in our own world we find those who like Bartimaeus present themselves for help. As we have had those experiences we might sense something of how some in Jericho must have felt about Bartimaeus. He was one of the "nobodies" of society.

 

            Mark then shows us:

 II.        THE CRY FOR MERCY (Mark 10:47-48)  

            There were many people passing through Jericho at this time of Passover traveling to Jerusalem.  One travel group after another passed as Bartimaeus begged for money. As Jesus approached with His travel companions Bartimaeus did what he could do best, he listened. He heard the people talking about Jesus -- about Jesus being present with them.

 

            Bartimaeus apparently had heard about Jesus and what Jesus was able to do. He began to cry out, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me (Mark 10:47). The Greek text indicates that this was a continual crying out. He continued to cry out for Jesus to show mercy. This cry was an insistent cry. He needed the touch of God in his life and in the present of Christ he continually cried out for that mercy.

 

            The people around Bartimaeus on that day told him to keep silent. They once again saw him as a nobody, a nuisance. They were trying to listen to Jesus teach and they did not feel that the Master had time for such a blind beggar as Bartimaeus. Surely Jesus had more important things to do.

 

          However, Bartimaeus did not stop calling for Jesus. He continued with a persistent cry (Mark 10:48).  He felt that his only hope was Jesus. He was determined to speak with Jesus.

 

            This brings us to the third item for our consideration:

III.       THE COMMAND OF CHRIST (Mark 10:49-52)

 

            As Jesus heard the cry for mercy He stood still (Mark 10:49). The cry for mercy will stop Deity in it tracks. God's ear is in tune to the cry of His children in need.

 

            Jesus called for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him (Mark 10:49-50). Bartimaeus must have been thrilled. Not many people cared anything about him. He was not the kind of person that many folk desired to be around. Yet, Jesus the Son of David extended a personal call for Bartimaeus to come to Him. There truly is no greater invitation.

 

            Imagine how you would feel if tomorrow you took the mail from your mailbox and there was a letter from the President of the United States. It was an invitation for you to come to the White House and have dinner with the President and the First Lady. What an invitation. What an honor.  And yet we have a more important invitation. We are invited to come to Christ. It is His desire that we come to Him certainly for our salvation but also each day in the midst of our personal needs. Jesus gave Bartimaeus a personal invitation to come.

 

            One songwriter extends this challenge:

 

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading

Pleading for you and for me

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies

Mercies for you and for me

 

            Bartimaeus did not tarry; he did not linger. Mark states that he cast off his garment, arose, and came to Jesus (Mark 10:50). The casting off this garment holds deep significance. This garment was what he as a beggar extended as he sat and begged. Those who desired to give would toss their gift into the extended garment. When he cast off the garment he cast off any money that was there. He did not clutch to any item that would keep him from Jesus. He cast it off immediately.

 

            One day a little boy got his hand caught in a vase. Try as they would, they could not get that child's hand out of the vase. They pulled and pulled but that little hand was stuck tight. As they examined the situation they discovered that the child had his hand clutched as a fist around a dime that had been at the bottom of the vase. It was only as they persuaded the child to release his grasp and loosen his fist that his hand came from the vase.

 

            The sad reality is that some folk hold on to things that keep them from all that Jesus wants to do for them. Not so with Bartimaeus. He cast his garment aside and immediately came to Christ.

 

            It was then that Jesus cured Bartimaeus (Mark 10:51-52).  Jesus asked, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? (Mark 10:51). Bartimaeus answered, Lord, that I might receive my sight. Truly he had come to the One who specialized in that.

 

            Jesus said, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole (Mark 10:52).  Immediately Bartimaeus received his sight and began to follow Jesus.

 

            Notice the combination of faith and mercy. The blind man had asked Jesus to have mercy on him. The truth is this: Mercy is the hand of God that extends salvation to us and faith is our hand reaching out to receive it.

 

            To many Bartimaeus was a nobody. To Jesus Bartimaeus was a somebody. Is it not good to know that we are important in the eyes of the Lord? He will have mercy on us and by faith we can receive that mercy.

 

 

Dr. Ray L. Parker

rlparker@trinitysem.edu

                                                                                       

HOW TO BE SURE OF HEAVEN

Dear Heavenly Father, I have done wrong. You know what it was. You know where it was. You know when it was. I need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross. I now ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Savior. I ask Jesus to take me to heaven when I die. In Jesus" name. Amen.

"But to all who did receive Him (Jesus), who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12 ESV).

"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life" (I John 5:11-12 ESV).

"The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23 ESV).

 
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