Bartimaeus was a man blind from birth. He eked out his existence through begging on the streets. The outlook for his life was poor. He was rejected by people, as we will see, and had little to look forward to. But he had one thing that shone out, faith. His faith was great and he received his reward for his faith. And we too can learn a great lesson from Bartimaeus.
As Jesus walked down the road from Jericho with his disciples and a multitude, Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus coming, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Verse 47)
The people rejected him by rebuking him for calling out and told him to be quiet. Did Bartimaeus listen to the people? No. He cried out all the more. Bartimaeus had clearly heard about Jesus and what he had done in healing others, and this was probably his only opportunity to get close to the Lord. He was not about to let the opportunity pass him by, but was going to use all his energy and effort to get the attention of the Lord. He wanted to be healed of his blindness and this was his chance.
What would have happened if he had listened to the people? If he had been silent as they rebuked him, Jesus would have passed by and the opportunity would be lost forever to receive his sight. But Bartimaeus was made of tough stuff. He wasn’t about to give up when the Lord was so close. He was going to do all in his power to gain the Lord’s attention so he could ask him to be healed.
What if the Lord had just passed by and ignored him? Well he would have been no better nor worse than he was anyway. But at least he would have known he had done the best he could. But of course the Lord did not pass him by. Jesus stopped in the road and said, “Call him.”
Interestingly we see the immediate change in the people. From rebuking him and telling him to be silent one minute, they now said, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” (Verse 49) And we see the eagerness of Bartimaeus by, “…throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus.” (Verse 50)
Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And Bartimaeus said, “Master, let me receive my sight.” (Verse 51) Jesus responded saying, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. (Verse 52)
We need to learn the lesson of Bartimaeus. First, we must call on the Lord. Ask him, seek him and don’t be put off by those who might get in the way or tell you to be silent or stop wasting your time. Persistence pays off as Bartimaeus proved. The converse is that you will never receive what you seek if you are not willing to ask for it.
Second, make it your priority and focus. When the opportunity presents itself, focus 100% on getting the best from the opportunity while the window of opportunity is open. Bartimaeus had a small window of opportunity while the Lord was walking past him, and he maximised his opportunity to the best of his ability. He could not see, he could not walk over to the Lord, but he had faith and he could call out…loudly and be heard. He used what he had, and received the blessing of the Lord for his efforts and his faith. We may be in the same situation. We may have certain disabilities that prevent us from doing some things, but they do not prevent us from doing anything. You can always pray to the Lord for his help and your faith will be repaid as Bartimaeus received his sight through his faith.
Third, when the Lord calls you, as he called Bartimaeus, don’t just sit there by the side of the road! Throw back your mantle and spring up to the Lord to ask your question or receive what he has to give. When the Lord calls, answer him. Be prepared to listen when the Lord speaks to you so that you can receive the gift he is offering or the guidance and direction you are seeking.
Finally, follow the Lord. Always follow the Lord for he will guide you to greater insight and understanding. Learn his ways and understand his path and then you will be able to follow him as he wants. The lessons of Bartimaeus are valuable for all of us to learn. Most of all, when you are seeking the Lord over any matter, never, ever give up.
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