Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by George C. Clark
“But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David! Have mercy on me!’ ”
Perhaps no one miracle performed by our Lord Jesus has been more commemorated than this one, found in the gospel of Mark 10:46–52:
“And they came to Jericho, and as he was leaving Jericho, along with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a son of Timaeus (Bar-Timaeus the Blind) was sitting by the road, begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, ‘O Son of David! Jesus! Have mercy on me!’ And many began rebuking him, to make him quiet, but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David! Have mercy on me!’ Then Jesus stopped and said for him to be called. And so, they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Cheer up! Get up! He’s calling for you.’ Then he threw off his garment, stood up, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man told him, ‘Rabbi, that I might see again.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way! Your faith has made you whole.’ And immediately, he received sight, and began following Jesus on the road.”
Try to visualize that surging mass of people, many of them attempting to silence this poor, wretched, blind man, who had dropped his beggar’s cup and was yelling at the top of his voice, “O Son of David, have mercy on me!” Despite the confusion, and above the demand of the disturbed crowd for him to keep silent, blind Bartimaeus, who had for sometime, no doubt, been waiting with accumulating interest for Jesus to pass his way, kept shouting, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” His was a cry of faith and unremitting confidence that could not be subdued by the vast crowd, who needed no restoration of sight nor deliverance from beggary.
The one who “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the Devil” heard Bartimaeus’ cry, and he “stopped and said for him to be called.” We notice that the same people, followers of Jesus, who tried to silence this poor man’s cry were the ones Jesus commanded to bring the beggar to him. In fact, they even encouraged him, saying, “Cheer up! Get up! He’s calling for you.”
Blind Bartimaeus knew what he wanted, and he was determined to obtain it – and to obtain it now, while the great Healer was passing through Jericho. Incidentally, this was Jesus’ last journey through Jericho, for he was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified.
As a consequence of the needy man’s perseverance, “immediately, he received sight, and began following Jesus on the road.” May God help us, my friends, to increase in faith and courage as we see the steadfastness and persistence of this blind beggar, whose refusal to be silent was rewarded by restoration of sight. This same kind of deliverance may be yours, beloved, regardless of your case, if you will follow this blind man’s example of perseverance in spite of opposition. Isn’t it wonderful to know that the same Jesus who once stood in the suburbs of Jericho and called for blind Bartimaeus is available today to all who will not be denied? Surely, we have the same privilege to call upon this great Healer, for he is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Regardless of how we may be opposed, even by some of the followers of Jesus, our Lord’s invitation stands, and his pointed question of two thousand years ago to that blind pauper remains for us: “What do you want me to do for you?” The babble of unbelieving voices will not stop the desperate soul. On the contrary, we can be and should be made more determined by such opposition. When we are harassed by the constraining forces of those who believe that the days of miracles are long passed, we must look up to “the right hand of God”. For there we will see Christ Jesus making intercession for his people, healing their bodies and forgiving their sins.
Jesus is not only able, but he is also eager to heal every one who has unflinching faith in his offer. Think of how Jacob wrestled with an angel until the breaking of day. He refused to let the angel go until he had received the desired blessing. The angel even changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”, saying that he did it “because you have persevered with God and with men and have prevailed.” There are many such thrilling stories in the Scriptures which exemplify perseverance.
Before he could win the battle, consider how Michael, the archangel, had to contend with Satan over the body of Moses (Jude 9). And in the wilderness, it was Moses’ perseverance that prevented God from destroying the whole house of Israel. We read of how he stood up and contended, even with God, by saying, “O Lord God, destroy not your people,” and the Lord listened to him (Dt. 9:19). Don’t allow yourself to even feel right toward God until He does what He says He will do. Tell Him about it. Have the backbone and have the nerve that you’ve seen in the Bible. We hear Moses say, “No, Lord! No!” He went to grips with God. Other men of God went to grips with Him also.
My dear Reader, many today have lost the fire of the holy Ghost, the soul’s anchor in heaven. They have become lukewarm, and hardly know any longer what perseverance in the word of God means. We must never forget that “he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Moses furthers this thought by telling us that we will find the Lord “if you seek Him when you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Dt. 4:29). What a challenge! And what a promise!
Jesus’ parable of the importunate widow (Lk. 18:1–8) teaches us that if we come to God seeking anything, we must be sincere and in earnest. In other words, we must seek as the blind beggar did, diligently and steadfastly until the answer comes – and it will come! Consider these encouraging words of Jesus to all who are seeking a blessing from God: “Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, being evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Mt. 7:8–11).