Credit to my parents; they raised me to be fairly independent. And I think they succeeded. By age 21, I had driven across the country by myself a couple times, lived abroad for a semester where few people spoke English, could do my own taxes, and add the proper amount of hot water to Ramen noodles.
Unfortunately, this same independence has made my relationship with Jesus difficult at times. I’m slow to even identify that I have needs, let alone bring those needs to Jesus with the hope that he might meet them. I think to myself, “I can handle this. No big deal”. Or I just assume that Jesus already knows what I need – so what’s the point in telling him? Plus – there are lots of other people with bigger needs than mine – so shouldn’t I spend my time praying for them instead?
And that’s where this blind beggar has a leg up on me.
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- What do you think life was like on an average day for Bartimaeus?
- Why do you think Bartimaeus was so bold in this moment?
- Why do you think people in the crowd try to silence Bartimaeus? Without passing judgment on them – what might their motivations have been?
- Why do you think Jesus asks him a seemingly obvious question; ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
- How did Bartimaeus demonstrate his faith in this passage? What changes for him after this encounter with Jesus?
- Who do you most relate to in this passage? Someone in the crowd? Bartimaeus? One of the people that try to keep Bartimaeus quiet? What’s Jesus’ invitation to you through this person?
I’m challenged by Bart’s willingness to inconvenience Jesus, and that he doesn’t care if he makes a lot of noise in the process. He knows he can’t do a thing to change his own condition, and his desperation pushes him to boldly yell out to the one person he suspects could do something.
There were probably other beggars there that day – all with varying degrees of need. But the only person we see receive healing is Bartimaeus, the one person in the crowd who knew that the Son of King David came to serve the neediest people – if only they would ask!
Take a moment to identify your own needs today, writing them down in a journal or a list. Are you willing to ‘make a scene’ in the presence of Jesus to have these needs met? If so, boldly tell Jesus what you need from him, trusting that He wants to meet your needs – even if it doesn’t always look like what we expect it to look like.