I would like to tell you about a blind man who made a profound impact on me one day. His name was Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, and this is about why I admire him.
Who was he? He was the beggar who sat along the road outside Jericho. Jesus and his disciples met him on their way to Jerusalem. People were always following and crowding Jesus. When I imagine the scene, I see Bartimaeus surrounded by a huge crowd seeking a glimpse or a touch from Jesus, but this crowd cares nothing for the poor beggar. He annoys them because he is in their way. They have to walk around him. And he is so noisy with all his clamoring for Jesus.
When Bartimaeus heard Jesus was approaching, he began to shout. Those nearest him told him to be quiet, but he didn’t listen. This probably galled them. “Would you just shut up?!” Some may have even gotten rough. But Bartimaeus shouted louder.
I love it. He shouted louder. How I wish I were so bold, so passionate, so hungry as he was to tell all those people who cared nothing for him that he didn’t care what they wanted or what they thought. He wasn’t stuck on being nice and polite. He knew what he wanted, and he wanted the opportunity to at least try to get it.
Anyone who knew anything about Jesus would know that he was a man of compassion. Bartimaeus knew if he could get his attention, to have just a word, to show him his desire, Jesus would help. He knew it in his heart, and oh, how he wanted a moment with Jesus.
Often those around us don’t understand our need and tell us to be quiet or to go away. Often they tell us in so many words or so many looks to be quiet or to go away, don’t burden us with your troubles, just shut up because we don’t care about whatever nonsense you are obsessing over. Please don’t embarrass us. Someone important is coming. Just keep your mouth shut and don’t attract attention. Keep your opinions to yourself. Who are you anyway? Why would Jesus want to take valuable time to talk with the likes of you? That’s the type of crowd I imagine.
But Bartimaeus boldly rejected their advice and was rewarded with Jesus asking for him.
When Bartimaeus went to meet Jesus, he THREW aside his cloak! He didn’t bring his stuff with him. He rushed toward Jesus. I’ve heard that by throwing aside his cloak, he illustrated his faith by his actions because this indicated that he expected a yes and that he wouldn’t be begging anymore. This brave man was not disappointed. For his faith and his passion, he was healed.
What do you want today? Are you willing to defy the crowd and cause a ruckus or hullabaloo to get the Lord’s attention? Bartimaeus was persistent and didn’t give up. When Jesus asked him what he wanted, he knew and was direct. Jesus had compassion and granted his request immediately. Immediately his sight was received, and immediately he followed Jesus. No waiting. No questioning his decision. He asked. He received. He followed.
Bartimaeus was literally blind. We don’t know if he was born blind or lost his sight in some way. It doesn’t matter. Blind is blind. We can be blind also—symbolically blind. We might not see what is in front of us, opportunities, gifts, directions. . .
If we desperately want something, we will pursue it no matter if others are embarrassed by our pursuits or enthusiasm. We know the costs and are willing to pay them.
That’s who Bartimaeus was. I want to shout, “Jesus! JESUS! Here I am! Heal me. Help me to see. Help me to live, really live, for the approval of the only One who matters.”
Don’t you want to be like Bartimaeus too?
Scripture reference from Mark 10:46-52 (NIV).