I read the story of blind Bartimaeus earlier this week, and it really stuck with me. Then, tonight at the Antioch Association Youth Revival, the message, though from a different text, was very similar in theme to what I had been reflecting on most of the week, so I’m sure God’s trying to teach me something, but just maybe, someone else needs it too.
Blind Bartimaeus is begging by the side of the road, like I’m guessing he did almost every day of his life, but on this particular day someone passes by causing quite a stir. Bartimaeus, hearing that it’s Jesus, starts crying out, “Jesus, thou son of David have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47), desperate for Jesus to heal him. The crowd, however, tells him to hush, to stop being such a bother, basically, to go back to begging. Now, if blind Bartimaeus, a man who had to stagger around or be led everywhere he went, had heard enough about Jesus to know that this Jesus of Nazareth could heal him, then you know the able-bodied members of the crowd telling him to hold his peace had. Yet, no one said, “Here, take my hand. I’ll lead you to Jesus.” No one started calling out to Jesus on Bartimaeus’ behalf. No, they were too busy shushing him. Nobody has a kind word for him until Jesus Himself calls for Bartimaeus.
Perhaps the people in the crowd wanted Jesus’ attention all to themselves. Perhaps they thought Bartimaeus, a lowly beggar, wasn’t worth Jesus’ time. The fact is their motives don’t matter much. They were in the wrong.
Bartimaeus, though, full of faith, refuses to be silenced, and he gets his miracle.
What convicted me earlier in the week when I was reading this passage before work one morning is that Christians, myself included, are so often like the members in the crowd. We see hurting, broken people all around us; we see poor and needy people too; we have the know-how to lead them to Jesus, but we’re too busy, too afraid to speak up, too unconcerned (again, the motive doesn’t much matter) to take them by the hand and lead them to Him. Some of them are, not so much with words, but through their actions, crying out for the love of Christ that we could share with them, but we might as well be telling them to hush, to just keep begging because we can’t be bothered. If only we would start seeing and loving the lost the way the Lord does, how different our response would be…