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. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
The story of blind Bartemaeus is probably familiar to all of us. It is a story that is preached a lot, and was probably told to us when we were children. The blind beggar, on the side of the road, crying out to Jesus and receiving his sight. Jesus had just come from raising Lazarus from the dead, so there was most likely a large throng of people in the streets of Jericho to greet Him. It was a celebration that He had come to the city!
Have you ever thought about the scene presented here. My guess is that Bartemaeus was sitting where He always sat, begging for alms. It was not an unusual day for him. Yet, he could sense the crowd gathering, and he heard people murmuring that Jesus of Nazareth was coming. He had heard of this man! He had heard of His miracles. Heck, by now he may have even heard about Lazarus! If Jesus could do all this, perhaps He would heal my poor, blinded eyes, the old man thought. He started crying out. The whole crowd was yelling and waving and cheering. Bartemaeus was at the back of the crowd, down on the ground, where he sat everyday.
The people tried to hush him – surely the Master would not be concerned with the old blind beggar! He had more important things to do. They tried to quiet him, but he just yelled all the louder “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” Jesus, thou Son of David. Have mercy on me”. I can hear his cry echoing through the streets, mixed in with all the rest, but louder and louder. He really wanted Jesus to hear him among the tumult.
Jesus was making His way through the crowd. They flocked around him like chickens to the feed on the ground. He had little room to pass. But then He heard the blind beggar cry and He stopped. Right there, in the middle of the crowd, He stopped. For the cry of a bind beggar, He stopped. “Bring Him to me”Jesus said. The crowd was amazed. He wants the beggar! Get him up here quick. They clamored to get him to Jesus, and the beggar, upon hearing that Jesus called for him, left his outer garment where it was and came running.
He found Himself standing before the Master. He could not see Him, but he could sense Jesus was right there. Then the strangest thing – a question. Jesus asked Bartemaeus what he would like Him to do! Wasn’t it obvious Bartemaeus wanted his sight? It should have been, but Bartemaeus did not argue and simply said “That I might receive my sight” and his request was granted! From that day forth, he followed Jesus.
Three points I want to make from this passage. The first is that Jesus stopped for the cry of a blind beggar at the back of the crowd. He stops to hear your prayers as well. I can’t explain how He does it, but I know He does. I can’t explain how He can hear the thousands and millions of prayers that are spoken every minute from the saints here on earth, but He does. And He cares abut every single one. He hears your prayers from the back of the crowd as well, never doubt that. Do we hear the cries of those around us, begging to be touched by the Lord. We are His emissaries here on this earth. We need to be listening for the cries of those around us needing a touch from the Lord. We need to reach out and touch them as Jesus did to Bartemaeus.
Second, Bartemaeus was crying out for mercy. “Jesus,thou Son of David. Have mercy on me” Over and over again, the same words. Everyone else was praising Him, probably saying “Touch me, Lord” “Heal me, Lord” “Blessed be the Lord” Bartemaeus’s cry was unique among the crowd. It stood out. A cry for mercy always catches the Lord’s ear, because that is what he is all about. What makes my prayers unique, what makes them stand out? When I acknowledge His mercy, and accept what s going on in my life as His will, asking Him for strength to endure through the trials, He hears my prayer. When I cry out give me, give me, give me He still hears, but priority may be different. Let’s make sure we are relying on His mercy iin our prayer life.
The third thing is that Jesus asked Bartemaeus what he wanted from Him. How often do we pray for the obvious, not knowing that there is something else that needs to be dealt with. You see a person with a limp, and you figure you need to pray for his leg. But maybe his marriage is shattered, and the more important prayer is for his marriage. Maybe you come upon an accident, and you start to pray everyone is safe, but the more important prayer is for their souls to be saved. The question by Jesus shows us that He is interested in praying for a specific need, not a general need. We need to be specific in our prayer life whenever possible, asking people how we can pray for them. If Jesus had to ask, so do we.
I hope you’ll forgive my three point sermonette this morning. I got a little long winded there, but I really don’t want to take any of it out. So tomorrow, we will talk about a wee little man and the parable of the pounds. Hope you’ll come back as we travel the road to Jerusalem to see the triumphal entry.