of Nazareth is passing by.’ How valuable is this information to you? Probably none.
But to Blind Bartimaeus it meant a great deal. Not that he had been waiting to
hear such news all his life, no. This news was important to him because it was
going to be an opportunity of a life time -- one that he could not afford to
miss. Here was a man who had been living a drab existence going to and fro from
his begging post, every day, every week and every month. Who knows, he could
have been doing that for years.
The life of Blind Bartimaeus was uneventful. He would spend all his day begging. Having been assisted to get to his post, and after collecting whatever he could for the day, he was escorted back home. Day after day, he was seated by the roadside. What a monotonous life! One day though, he ‘heard’ a loud noise from a crowd of people passing by that caught his attention. A kind of rather usual noise in this type of surrounding, so he ‘asked:’ As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” (Luke 18:35-36)
Two things the blind man did. First, he heard some noise, second, he enquired. Some people are prone to discard the noises they hear around them to even bother to ask what it is all about. They dismiss it as the usual rabble-rousing in their neighbourhood. For Bartimaeus, that noise had a special ring to it. There is no shadow of doubt that the name Jesus did ring a bell; because straightaway “He called out, ‘Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!’ ” (Luke 18:38) Bartimaeus was emboldened by the information that had been transmitted to him, to speak out unashamedly about it. “Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (verse 39)
You would not have let such a unique opportunity pass you by; not after you have heard about that person’s healing powers. How would you let that person in question come to your neighbourhood and leave without performing a miracle on YOU! Bartimaeus took advantage of those peculiar circumstances. When he faced opposition from the crowd -- and you always will - those who do not understand where you are coming from. He literally ignored them and shouted the loudest, unwilling to stop until he could receive audience. Bartimaeus did something stunning and unusual. One thing was sure, he was resolved not to return home the way he left. He not only got Jesus’ attention, he succeeded in stopping Him in his tracks. This confirms Jesus’ mission, that His Father had sent Him “...to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind.” (Luke 4:12)
All along Bartimaeus was content with his status – sitting and begging; not until God gave him that glimmer of hope that would change his destiny once and for all. We see a changed man. Wouldn’t you have bitten your fingers for letting such an opportunity slip through your hands? There is power in the name of Jesus, power to change our status for good, permanently. Just be expectant and pregnant with hope.
What has Bartimaeus done that we cannot do? Jesus does not have to be here in person to perform miracles, there is power in His name even this very moment. Furthermore, He has delegated His power to the saints who believe in Him to go and spread the good news. He does not have to come to the likes of Bartimaeus any longer. We can carry His word to them in faith. This account was put in the Bible to let us know that when we exercise our faith, when we put our faith on the line, God will hear us. Jesus heard the cry of Bartimaeus just as God Himself heard the cry of the Children of Israel bound in slavery in Egypt for 430 years.
God’s hand is not short; He is the God of the impossible. Sadly, our doubts and fears have become a hindrance to our breakthrough. Bartimaeus did something else very spectacular. As he responded to Jesus’ call, he stripped himself of his uniform – which identified him as a beggar. In so doing, he was breaking away from his past. No more name-calling, no more labels! Bartimaeus was set free from what had held him bound all those years.
Asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” he neither stammered nor stuttered. ‘Lord, I want to see,’ he affirmed. Satan had for long kept him in darkness. Now, like the man born blind, he could say. “Once I was blind,, now I can see.” (John 9:25)
Jesus is able to set you free from whatever has held or is holding you captive and have denied you from playing your role in life. Do not just sit there and accept it as fate. No, do not be satisfied with your status. God wants more for you. Look up to Jesus – the Miracle Worker. He is still very much alive today as then.