As Jesus is headed up to Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion, He passes through Jericho and heals two men. The first of these two men is Bartimaeus; the blind man who spends his day begging. The second, and perhaps more popular Bible character, is Zacchaeus. Today’s reading includes Bartimaeus, so we’ll focus on that text. However, let me encourage you to stay on the look-out for the similarities between Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus as you read tomorrow’s passage!
I love the story of blind Bartimaeus! I love his persistence, his vulnerability, his faith, and his worship! When we first meet Bartimaeus in verse 35, we find him broken, hopeless, and helpless to change his current circumstance. However, by the end of the story in verse 43, we find him healed, full of hope, and helping others! What a tremendous turn of events. But have you ever noticed how close the story was to ending differently? Take a look at verses 38 and 39. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing his way, he began to cry out to Him to receive mercy. Those who were with Jesus tried hard to silence Bartimaeus. I wonder why they did this? Did they think that Jesus was in too much of a hurry to stop? Did they think that Jesus was too important to be bothered by a blind beggar? Could it be that they were afraid to grant Bartimaeus a place near Jesus for fear of losing their own? Who knows. But one thing is for sure – the people closest to Jesus, those “leading the way”, had become a roadblock to those who needed Him most. It’s a good thing Bartimaeus had a strong voice that Jesus could hear over the crowd, because this story almost had a very different and tragic ending.
Who do you know that’s looking for Jesus? As you enjoy the presence of Jesus today, reflect on this question: are you helping them gain access to their Savior or hindering it?