I find the story told by Mark in chapter 10 in the New Testament very interesting, and a good lesson.
Mark 10:46 says: “Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting by the road”.
The first thing I want you to notice here is that Jesus is leaving Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. There was a large crowd following him, but I know there were a lot of people in the town, that were too busy to go out and see Jesus on that day. They figured, What’s the rush, I’ve got some limitations right now, but when he comes back through next week, I’ll set them aside and go see him.
They may have had the best of intentions of seeing Jesus the following week, but the fact of life is this was Jesus’ last trip through Jericho. He was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified. Wouldn’t it be a great step forward if we could recognise when an opportunity was showing up for the last time or when we were about to give up something truly precious?
Many Opportunities Don’t Repeat Themselves
We don’t know when some simple decision on our part to show up—or not show up—is going to cause us to miss a great opportunity, or cause us to give us something of great value. Don’t let your limitations keep you from doing what God has told you to do.
When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to shout, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus had some limitations in his life. He was at the bottom of the economic ladder with little prospect for the future and he was blind. He could hear the noise, but couldn’t see what was going on. But he didn’t say, Oh I’ve got this limitation, why should I even try to get involved.
Bartimaeus asked somebody, What’s going on? Somebody said, Jesus, the Son of David is coming by here. Bartimaeus said, Are you talking about the one who they said, has been healing the sight of the blind and opening deaf ears, causing the lame to walk, and raising people from the dead? The person said, Yes, that’s the one. When he found out about this news, he didn’t sit back and say, Well, I hope he comes over here and does something for me, because I have just had it so hard. Life just hasn’t been fair for me all these years.
Bartimaeus recognised a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was coming, and if he didn’t do something now, he might have blown it. He thought, I might not able to see how to get to him, but there’s nothing wrong with my vocal cords. He started shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”.
People May Try to Shut You Up
When was the last time you were bold enough to simply cry out to God and say, God I need some help. I don’t care what others are thinking about me. I’m coming down for prayer because I need it, and I need it today. If you get too excited about getting God’s attention, people are going to try to shut you up.
Mark 10:48 says that many rebuked Bartimaeus and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Now the crowd was not going to do a thing for Bartimaeus. But they had the nerve to tell him, Man be quiet. Jesus doesn’t have time for you, worthless beggar. You’ll never amount too much of anything—be content with the donations you’ve already received today. Here’s another dollar or two for your cup; now stop all that yelling.
This would have been enough for some of us to stop and be quiet. It was kind of stupid to think God would be interested in me. Do you know what Bartimaeus means? It means the ‘son of the unclean’. Which means Bartimaeus’ father must have had some limitation in his life which had made him unclean. Uncleanness had run in his family. His dad was no good. Now he’s no good. Bartimaeus had reasons for feeling down. He even had reasons for giving in to his limitations.
You May Be Facing a Problem, not a Fact of Life
He could have said to himself, Well I tried, but I don’t want to keep making others upset. God put me here in this situation. He knows where I am if God wants to get me out. I should be happy that I did get some extra money for getting quiet when they told me to. You see, Bartimaeus was not facing a fact of life when others told him to be quiet. He was simply facing a problem. There was something he could do about this thing. The problem was, Do I keep quiet to win the favour of others, or do I make as much noise as possible until I get Jesus’ attention? He chose to keep making a nuisance.
He took the negative discouragement of others and turned it around to his own advantage, and started yelling all the more. He figured if those around Jesus and his disciples were telling him to be quiet, then those around them must have figured Jesus might be able hear him. Therefore he shouted it even louder, “Son of David have mercy on me.”
Just because you have a limitation in your life, does not mean others are going to try to help you. Those people around Bartimaeus, could have led him by the hand to Jesus, but they didn’t. They didn’t even want Jesus to know he was there. You see, in order to move beyond your particular limitation, you’ve got to decide to do whatever you can do for you.
Be Prepared to Go Against the Crowd
People are not always interested in seeing you succeed. They may see your success means they’re missing out on something they could have had. Be prepared to go against the crowd to reach your potential. You might not have all that you need to complete the process, but you’ve got you and God and that’s all you need to start it. All Bartimaeus had at the moment was a loud mouth. That was all he needed to get Jesus’ attention. Verse 49 says that Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
When Jesus stops and calls you out, you may as well get ready for people to start acting differently around you. When others see you are finally on your way up and out of your situation, all of a sudden they want to be your friend. They wouldn’t do a thing to help you get started, but they want a piece of your limelight. The same group that told him to close his mouth and be quiet, is now saying, Oh, cheer up. Jesus is calling for you. Let me help you over there. They forgot all the reasons they had given him why he should have kept his mouth closed.
Now just suppose for a moment what would have happened if, instead of keeping on calling for Jesus, Bartimaeus had started telling off those who told him to be quiet. Do you see you can miss out on God’s calling on you, by taking the time to fight with people who want to keep you in your place. Don’t go down to the level of others with name-calling. Keep your eyes on Jesus.