Can’t see past something?
The story of Bartimaeus is our story. When we cannot see past our problem until we spend time with Jesus, we stand where Bartimaeus stood.
We meet Bartimaeus in all three synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three authors essentially share the same story. Only Mark shares his name. Matthew and Luke refer to Bartimaeus as the blind beggar.
No social wellness programs existed during biblical times for those with special needs. Therefore, Bartimaeus is left on the street to fend for himself.
The street is where we encounter Bartimaeus. Interestingly, the street is also where Bartimaeus encounters Jesus who is passing by. Hearing the clamor around him, Bartimaeus asks, “What’s going on?”
Those near him respond. They say Jesus the Nazarene is approaching. Bartimaeus immediately shouts, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
It is important to note that Bartimaeus doesn’t call Jesus a Nazarene. Instead, he refers to Jesus as the Son of David. This means he calls Jesus the Messiah.
The Messiah? Does Bartimaeus know something the crowd doesn’t? Perhaps. The text doesn’t say. What the text does say is that Bartimaeus is hushed by those around him.
We are like Bartimaeus when we can ignore any barrier that keeps us from Jesus. Rather than being blocked by others however, we put up our own barriers or blocks. We know Jesus is approachable, yet we choose to remain in our own darkness.
This is our story because we can receive what Bartimaeus asks for and receives—vision. We may not be literally blind, but what Jesus says to Bartimaeus is what Jesus can say to us. “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you (NLT).”
Bartimaeus can inspire us because he didn’t just bring his problem to Jesus. He also brings his faith.
When we bring our faith in Jesus to the problem, Jesus gives us sight—or insight—into the problem. Approaching Jesus as the Messiah with a lack of vision means that Jesus will make us see what we could not see before.
Christians in marriage, for example, realize they see their spouse’s point of view after they have come to Jesus with a problem. Before time with Jesus, they had been blind.
After time with Jesus, they see.
Let’s not limit this to just Christian marriage. When ask Jesus to help us see past a situation or a struggle we have been blind to, we gain vision. Specifically, we gain his vision.
Jesus’ vision may completely redirect us from the thinking we have had.
But we do see.
Actually, we see the way Jesus wants us to see. In turn, this makes us do what he wants us to do.
Doing things his way? That is, to do things with love, grace, understanding, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness and empathy? Oh, yes, this is always the better way!
Some of us are thinking, “I want to get past my problem and I know Jesus is a prayer away, but my faith is not that strong.”
Maybe Bartimaeus’s faith wasn’t that strong. Maybe he had doubts. Maybe he held anger. Maybe he turned from God when life as a blind person was simply too hard. Remember, we meet Bartimaeus as a beggar.
Whether he was blind from birth or blinded later in life, a point we need to hold is that Bartimaeus is at a low point—or the lowest point—in his life.
Jesus approached Bartimaeus as Jesus approaches us. The words Bartimaeus heard to deter him from Jesus may be similar to what you say to yourself to keep away from Jesus, but get to Jesus. Ask to see.