By David Smithers
David is the Prayer Track Director for SVM2 and currently lives in Oklahoma.
Some have said that persistence is the best proof of sincerity. If that is so, than blind Bartimaeus has given us one of the best examples of sincerity in all of the Scriptures.
In Mark 10:46-52 Bartimaeus demonstrates this relentless sincerity by his willingness to apply the Kingdom principles of humble vulnerability, forgiveness and Christian unity. These spiritual qualities are absolutely essential to seeking, receiving and advancing the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Need puts us in the Path of God
Mark 10:46 says “Now they came to Jericho. As He (Jesus) went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.” The first thing that we notice about Bartimaeus is that he is a blind beggar.
This is a person who has honestly come to grips with his own frailty and neediness and understands apart from some outside intervention he is totally hopeless and helpless.
He is convinced that without an outside gift of mercy and grace he will starve, therefore he purposefully puts himself in the pathway of Christ…he makes himself available to be touched by the grace of God.
The Needy Learn how to Pray
Verse 47 reminds us that prayer is the language of the poor and needy. “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!”
Bartimaeus convinced of his own need, hearing that Jesus is passing by, begins to desperately pray and cry out for mercy. Remember our prayers being heard and answered are not earned by our own spiritual efforts or merit but are a gift of God’s mercy!
Needing God’s Approval more than Man’s
Surely Christ and his disciples would quickly turn aside and respond to such a needy and sincere cry for mercy, and yet it seems Jesus’ own disciples were actually irritated by his loud cries for help.
Mark 10: 48 -“Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Certainly Bartimaeus must have been tempted to be discouraged or even intimidated in his faith, as those who should have helped him into the presence of Christ actually rebuked and hindered him.
Bartimaeus is definitely needy, but in spite of his desperate situation he needs God’s touch more than he needs the approval and acceptance of men. So he boldly persists to cry out even more for the mercy of Jesus, even if it means the rest of the church people don’t quite understand.
Mark 10: 49 says “So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.” This kind of unrelenting faith and boldness always gets God’s merciful attention. Humble and persistent prayer releases God’s life changing power and provision.
The Needy must Learn how to Forgive & Yield
“Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” Who are these new joyful encouragers of blind Bartimaeus? Ironically, these are none other than his old critics and opposers.
Yes, the very ones who once rebuked him and told him to sit down and be quiet are now ready to encourage and help him into the presence of Jesus. No doubt Bartimaeus was tested again, but this time he is tempted to harden his heart against the very disciples of Christ.
How dare they try to help him now after all they had done! Bartimaeus is faced with a choice, to either humbly forgive and receive assistance from these fickle and offensive disciples or refuse their help and possibly miss his only chance at connecting with Jesus.
The same persistent and humble faith that initially helped Bartimaeus receive Christ’s tender mercy and notice, are again needed in order for him to forgive and receive help from the disciples.
Bartimaeus accepts this fact by esteeming his body’s need for Christ’s healing touch to be greater than his ego’s need to be vindicated in the eyes of others. He values his need for Jesus as greater than his need to be esteemed by others!
This path we are on in our pursuit of Jesus Christ is crowded with a variety of other disciples. Many of us on this path are unique and very different in our gifts and Kingdom purposes.
Therefore, if we are easily offended, unforgiving and quick to distance ourselves from others that are different from us, we will consequently find ourselves frustrating the cause of Jesus Christ. We can not casually distance ourselves from other believers without also distancing ourselves from the person of Jesus Himself!
The Needy Exercise Humility toward God & Man
James 4:6 says that, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The heart attitude of humility and tender vulnerability releases God’s mercy and miracle working grace. Humility sustains our prayer life and relationship with God, but it is also builds trust and open, healthy relationships with others.
Genuine humility affirms the fact that we need God in our lives but also affirms that we need the gifts and contributions of other parts of the body of Christ.
Humility makes all our relationships easier and more grace-filled, whereas stubborn pride makes God and men withdraw the hand of blessing and mercy from us. Humility invites grace and stubborn pride builds walls!
4 Lessons from a Beggars Cup
We are all blind and filthy beggars apart from God’s mercy and grace. We must humbly embrace our own spiritual poverty and insufficiency if we are to move forward in the all-sufficient power of Christ.
We must allow this revelation of our own spiritual poverty to drive us out of our hiding places and comfortable corners into the vulnerable pathway of humility and unrelenting prayer.
We must also affirm our need for God to be grater than our need for the approval and acceptance of men…even the acceptance that comes from good and godly people in the church. And finally we must learn how to forgive and affirm that our need for God’s grace demands that we exercise humility toward God and our fellow believers.
We must learn how to cooperate and partner with a broader expression of the Body of Christ in establishing the Kingdom of God.
The generation that learns and applies these simple but elusive spiritual lessons will usher in the Kingdom of Christ throughout the World.
They will humbly and affectionately embrace God, the diversity of the Body of Christ and ultimately a lost and dying world, all for the pleasure and glory of Jesus Christ.