Have you ever wanted something so bad, you could taste it? Do you know how it feels to have only one shot? Were there butterflies in your stomach? Were you sweating? I believe that all of the above may have been true for the man in our story today.
As you enter this passage of scripture, imagine lots of noise, commotion, and people. Picture a busy city center where Middle-Easterners were buying and selling goods, even animals. It was noisy, dusty, and full of people. Jesus and his disciples had been visiting cities, healing the sick, and establishing Jesus’ position as the Son of God in this passage found in Mark 10. The disciples and others were continuing to see Jesus for who he really was-the Messiah.
As they continued on, they came to Jericho. Just before they left the city, a large crowd was following them. This was probably the many who saw Jesus heal and provide for the needs of the people, perhaps some who were touched personally by him. They were “groupies” if you will.
On the side of the road, sat a man who couldn’t see. He was called “Blind Bartimaeus”. While he couldn’t see the people, he could surely hear them. And while he hadn’t seen Jesus, he definitely knew about him. He begins yelling “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” as Jesus went by. People in the crowd began to hush him. He was probably known to these people, because he would have begged them for money since he couldn’t work. His needs may have been annoying to them.
Blind Bartimaeus wasn’t discouraged. He just yelled all the more. “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!” Finally, Jesus heard him through the crowd of people and told the man to “Come”. The same people who had told him to hush were now telling him to “Go! Your number has been called.”
He hopped up and ran to the voice of Jesus. When Jesus asked him what he could do for him, his response was simple: “Teacher, I want to see!”
My heart was stirred by this blind man’s response. This was the desperate cry of his heart. Here he was sitting on the side of the road, wishing and hoping for a chance to be seen. I hate to see people suffer and the vulnerable particularly grab my attention. They are desperate for someone to see them! Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was, while never having physically seen him; he believed in him. He knew that this was his one chance and he was going to do whatever he could to be seen by Jesus. If Jesus walked by and never saw him in the midst of crowds of people and livestock, would he ever get to see? So he pursued Jesus, relentlessly.
We too, are like this blind man in many ways. His need wasn’t only physical, but spiritual as well. Every human being has a deep spiritual need that can only be satisfied by Jesus. Like this man, we are separated from our Creator until we “see” Jesus for who he is; the Son of God, our Savior. And we are sadly blind until we find him.
We see that this man had belief in who Jesus was and we’re told that because of his faith, he was healed. After what seems to have been a lifetime of darkness, not only physically, but spiritually as well, Jesus healed his physical need and simultaneously met his spiritual need by joining this man’s longing heart to himself. The story goes on to tell us that he joined the others and followed Jesus down the road.
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you ~St.Augustine
If you could fill in the blank with a need, like this man did, what would yours say?
“Jesus, I want to _______________!”
I’ve been in places of desperation before. I’ve needed to see the hand of God and to feel His presence as I walked through a difficult situation. I’ve also needed healing. But, sometimes, it’s not actual physical healing that needs to take place. Sometimes, we just need to see God’s hand in:
~A relationship mended
~A marriage restored
~A content heart
~Or to experience the presence of the Lord; without which, you will constantly long for “more”.
Jesus isn’t walking by our busy lives. We don’t have to maneuver into the “right spot” in hopes that he will see us. Romans 8:34 tells us that he sits in a place of honor at God’s right hand in heaven and intercedes for us. Call out to him in faith if you too, want to see!
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34