Grace For The Journey
Something remarkable happened on a crowded road just outside of the ancient city of Jericho. A large group of people followed the Lord Jesus as he traveled toward Jerusalem. Suddenly, the Lord stopped and was about to make available to one man the great blessings of God. That one man was a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. He cried out to the Lord for mercy, and the Bible says that Jesus stopped, called him, and asked him this question, “What do you want Me to do for you””
That is an amazing question. With that question, the God of eternity put Himself at the service of a blind beggar. Bartimaeus had never had much more than some loose change, and the rags upon his back. Yet, at that moment the whole world was offered to him.
It is interesting to me that of all the people standing there that day; Christ asked this question to only one man – Bartimaeus. How would you like to hear the Lord Jesus say to you today, “What can I do for you?” As Jesus passes by in this blog, what is it that you need from Him?
How do we get the Lord to stop and offer this kind of help to us? How can you get Him to say to you, “What is it that you want me to do for you?” Through his memorable story Bartimaeus teaches us how we can have Christ intervene in our lives. This question that was posed to Bartimaeus in verse 51 of our text is one that is reserved for a very specific group of people. Notice first of all this question is for . . .
1) THOSE THAT REQUEST HIS ATTENTION.
The Bible tells us in Mark 10:46, “And they came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.” There was, as Mark says, “a great number of people” traveling with the Lord Jesus, however, that day outside Jericho, there was only one person that was crying out to Him.
Verse 47 says, “And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. !”
The people to whom the Lord Jesus
Makes Himself available
Are not those who
Merely surround Him,
But rather those
That earnestly seek Him.
Notice a couple of things about the way Bartimaeus sought the attention of the Lord. First of all, he cried out . . .
The Bible says that he “cried.” The Greek word translated “cried” is a word that was used to describe “the squawk or call of a raven.” It speaks of loud scream, or a cry of anguish. The same word is used later in Mark 15:13, where it says that the crowd, “…cried, ‘Crucify Him!’” As Bartimaeus found out that the Lord Jesus was passing by, he didn’t offer a half-hearted, “Dear Lord, bless us, we pray.” No, crying out as if his whole life depended on being heard, Bartimaeus screamed, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When was the last time you prayed with desperation? Have you ever cried out to the Lord Jesus as if your whole life depended upon Him hearing you? John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrims Progress, had a unique way with words. Though never formally educated, Bunyan was a brilliant preacher and author. Years ago I read a quote from Bunyan that I have never forgotten. He said, “When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.”
Bartimaeus wanted the Lord’s attention. In order to get it, He cried out with desperation. Notice something else about the way He sought the Lord’s attention. He not only cried out with desperation, but also . . .
The crowd that was following Jesus that day must have been a group of Baptists, because as soon as someone began to get emotional and passionate about the Lord Jesus, they told him to be quiet. Verse 48 says, “And many charged Him that he should hold his peace: but he cried all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Ignoring the crowd’s attempts to muzzle him, Bartimaeus kept crying out, Mark says, even more. He didn’t back off of his cry. Instead, he cried with more urgency and emotion, determined to get the Savior’s attention. Bartimeaus was determined that Jesus may pass by without stopping, but it will not be because He did not hear the beggar crying.
Have you quit crying out about your need? Was there a time when you desperately sought the Lord about a matter, but now you hushed your prayers? Bartimaeus was determined to cry out in spite of the discouragement he faced. As a result, the Lord Jesus stopped, and responded to his cry. Those who get the Lord’s attention, cry out for it with desperation and determination.
The question the Lord asked Bartimaeus is not only reserved for those that request His attention, but notice also secondly that it is only for . . .
2) THOSE THAT RECOGNIZE HIS ABILITY.
Bartimaeus sat by the road side that day as he had many days before. Though he couldn’t see, he could tell there were a lot more people crowding the road side than usual. Someone has said . . .
“He had no eyesight
But he had insight.”
The crowd knew the Lord only as “Jesus of Nazareth,” which referred to the place where the Lord had grown up. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, called Jesus by the name, “Son of David.”
Bartimaeus saw more with faith
Than the rest of the crowd saw by sight.
He recognized the ability of the Lord Jesus.
Notice a couple of things Bartimaeus recognized about the Lord’s ability. He recognized His ability . . .
The crowd that day tried to silence the cries of this beggar, and yet he kept crying. It was as if he knew the Messiah would hear the cries of those in need. Those who have the privilege of the Lord intervening in their lives are those who truly believe that when they cry out to Him, He hears them.
Bill Moyers was a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. Once, while sharing a meal with the president and his family, Bill was asked to say the blessing. In the middle of his prayer, President Johnson said, “Speak up, Bill! Speak up!” Moyers stopped his prayer, and without looking up said, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President.”
Bartimaeus not only recognized the Lord’s ability to hear, but notice also further that he recognized the Lord’s ability . . .
In his heart, Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was the Son of David, the long awaited Messiah. Perhaps his mind went back again to a service in the synagogue, when the Rabbi read from Isaiah 35:5, where it says that when the Messiah comes, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened…” This blind beggar believed that Jesus Christ had the power to open his eyes! He recognized that Jesus had the ability to help him.
What about you? Do you really believe that Jesus Christ can help your situation? Do you really believe that He has the ability to intervene on your behalf?
Fred Lynch is the high school boys basketball coach at Laney High School in Wilmington, NC. He has had a long and relatively successful career at Laney, and yet, Lynch will always be remembered for a decision he made nearly thirty years ago. Coach Lynch cut a skinny sophomore from his varsity roster. That kid was Michael Jordan. Obviously, at the time, Coach Lynch didn’t see all the ability that the skinny sophomore truly possessed.
I fear that many Christians do not fully realize all they have in knowing the person of Jesus Christ. He has the ability to meet their every need, and yet they often cut Him out of their lives, and fail to call on Him with their needs.
There is a final truth we draw from this text. Christ will make Himself available not only to those that request His attention, and to those that recognize His ability, but also finally to . . .
3) THOSE THAT REQUIRE HIS ASSISTANCE.
The crowd came to a stop, because as verse 49 says, “Jesus stood still …” He stopped, because a beggar on the side of the road was crying out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus had begged for charity and panhandled for loose change, but this request was very different.
He wasn’t asking Jesus for money.
He was asking for a miracle.
Bartimaeus needed divine assistance. Notice a couple of things about his situation that required the Lord’s intervention. Notice first of all that . . .
He Was Unable to Alter His Situation.
Bartimaeus’ blindness was obviously not something he could fix on his own. He was powerless against the darkness in which he lived.
Bartimaeus didn’t need more money.
He didn’t need nicer clothes,
He didn’t need a better spot
On the side of the road.
He needed God to heal his eyes.
There are times in life when we face things that we must admit are bigger than our abilities. There are times in which we must face the fact that we cannot alter our own situation.
Do you realize that when you reach that point,
Where you are reduced to the point of
Begging God for mercy that is when
You are most likely to see
His divine intervention?
As long as you think you can fix it, you will not cry out in such a way that Jesus stands still to hear your voice. As long as you still have a backup plan, and a last resort to fix your problem, you will not beg for mercy and therefore you will not have the Lord open Heaven’s resources for you.
The Lord Jesus stops and helps
Those who know that
He is all they have,
And all they need.
Contrary to what many think . . .
The Lord helps those
Who can’t help themselves.
Notice not only that he was unable to alter his situation, but notice also further that . . .
He Was Unwilling to Accept His Situation.
A busy road, like this one leading out of Jericho, would have attracted many of the downcast beggars of that city. Yet, only one of them cried out to the Lord Jesus. Only one had faith to believe that he could be healed. Only one blind beggar saw hope in Christ.
Some of you have settled for your current situation. You have given up hope that your need will ever be met, and you are willing to go through life with your burdens on your back.
- You have settled for the fact that your husband will never be by your side in church.
- You have settled for the fact that you will always be bound by that besetting sin.
- You have settled for blindness when you could have blessing.
- You have settled for the mediocre when you could have the miraculous.
Bartimaeus had the will not to give up, and not to accept his situation. What about you? Do you require the Lord’s assistance, or are you settling for a life on the road side? In verse 51, Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” As I contemplated that question, I thought, “That seems like an unnecessary question.” Surely the Lord could see that Bartimaeus was blind. nSurely, being the Son of God, He knew already the condition of the man calling His name.
As I prayed and meditated over this text, I realized that yes, the Lord knew what Bartimaeus needed, but He wanted Bartimaeus to ask anyway. He wanted to hear him confess his need.
In much the same way, the Lord knows exactly what your need is. Yet, if you want Him to stop and help you, then like Bartimaeus, He wants to hear you call His name, confess your faith in Him, and tell Him what it is you need from Him.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”