It was early in the morning when he took up his usual place just outside the city gate. He was always there with the others, listening to the world hustling and bustling along. Lots of people came that way as they were leaving Jericho, and that’s why he sat there. You need lots of people passing by if you are begging as a way of life. He had just settled when he heard a commotion; a thunder of many feet, a crowd coming towards the gate. He strained his ears, “It’s Jesus of Nazareth”, he heard someone say.
He knew about Jesus, although he was well aware you can’t believe everything you hear in Jericho, but somehow the stories had really impacted him. It seemed to this blind beggar that Jesus was someone extra special. In fact, he’d concluded that, if Jesus could do such amazing miracles, He must be more than special. He must be the promised Redeemer, the Son of David. There and then he decided this was his chance, maybe his only chance, to change his life by claiming his very own miracle. He just had to wait until Jesus was near enough to hear him over the clamour of the crowd. Could he get Jesus’ attention if he shouted loud enough?
Maybe today you feel as Bartimaeus did that morning. Your day started like any other, with the same problems and issues which have persistently governed your lifestyle. After all it’s just another day, isn’t it? For Bartimaeus the issues were his blindness and the need to beg. That was what he knew, and that was his life. The issues will be different for each one of us.
But Bartimaeus’ heart was longing for something different. He wanted change. He knew about God’s promised Messiah, and he’d decided Jesus was the Messiah. He’d heard the stories of miracles, but now he realised this was his opportunity. It meant taking a leap of faith, risking looking foolish in front of a crowd, or even being disappointed, if he couldn’t make Jesus hear him, but he was determined. What did he have to lose? He certainly had much to gain.
I think we can learn some important lessons from Bartimaeus. Today may seem ordinary, a day in which to live our normal lives, but it is a day of possibilities if we have faith. Bartimaeus had faith, but he had to wait for Jesus to come his way. For us, today, Jesus is always near, by his Holy Spirit, so that means today is a day of great potential. It could be life changing. Like Bartimaeus, we have heard about Jesus and the stories of His miracles, but Bartimaeus knew that knowledge wasn’t enough. We must decide, as Bartimaeus did, if Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. If He is, then we can call out in faith to Him, and He will hear us. But we must also walk a path of faith. Bartimaeus wasn’t healed immediately. Jesus called for him to come closer and so Bartimaeus got up and started forward. He had to keep walking until he got close to Jesus and then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
So, today if you need something to change in your life, you can call out to Jesus. He is near you. You could do it silently, but why not call out loud just as Bartimaeus did? We can be assured of Jesus’ attention, as we declare our faith in Him, the Son of David, our Redeemer and Saviour, our Healer and Comforter. Jesus called for Bartimaeus to get up and come closer, and He says the same to us. I wonder how long that walk was for Bartimaeus. He was still blind, but he kept going forward, because he believed he would be healed. We need to do the same, to walk towards Jesus in faith and tell Him, in honesty, our deepest need, as He asks us “What do you want Me to do for you?”. In this close encounter we must be ready and open to receive His healing touch, as Bartimaeus did, with life-changing consequences.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Scriptures, which tell me of the coming of Your precious Son, Jesus, and of His miraculous power to heal and restore, whilst He was walking this earth. Jesus, thank You that You have not left me alone, but have sent the Holy Spirit to live with me, and in me, so that You are always near and ready to hear me when I call out to You. Give me courage to dare to believe that You will hear and respond to my cry for mercy. As I journey closer to You, give me confidence to open myself to receive Your healing touch. I ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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