When we went to the theatre the other week, there were some people shouting out during the performance – all very gentle and non threatening, part of their enjoyment. It didn’t bother us, it was a local performance and all part of the general ambiance, but it was clearly bothering the people sat next to me. That, in their opinion, was not the way to behave.
Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
46Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” 48Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!”
49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him over!”
They called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you.” 50The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus.
51Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man answered, “Master,I want to see!”
52Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”
Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.
Bartimaeus can hear a great kerfuffle. He wants to know what is happening, realising that it is clearly something of huge importance. When he is told that it is Jesus passing by he shouts out,
“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
Despite having no eyesight, he clearly sees two things that others have been failing to notice – that Jesus is the ‘Son of David’, with all the connotations that has; and that Jesus is the one who can help him.
How sad then that the response of the crowd as he shouts out is basically to tell him to shut up.
This man has seen what many others have missed – and he is told to be quiet. He is calling out to Jesus is his need – and he is told to shush.
How terrible! And yet…
…would we act any different?
Do we think some people should not be calling out to Jesus? Are we embarrassed that they do? They are so loud – do they not know how you should approach Jesus? Why do they have to shout about their problems?
Yet Jesus hears his cry and stops. Jesus was probably on his way somewhere. Someone may have been waiting for him, there could have been an appointment to get to. Yet Jesus pauses and calls the man over. He asks him what it is he wants. And the man knew just what he needed.
I wonder if we are so insightful about what we need from Jesus? Not necessarily what we want, but what we need. Are we willing to cry out to him for it? If our time in lent has revealed to us what our deepest need is, can we reach out and ask Jesus to meet it? (Tom Wright’s words on ‘flinging the cloak aside’ are very helpful p 106)
Or are we busy telling people to shush, so Jesus is not disturbed?!
Jesus is more than willing to stop and reach out. The man could already see what was most important, and what so many around him weren’t seeing. That is seeing and believing. Is it for us?
may I know my need.
May I reach out to you
and allow you to meet it.
May I also allow others to reach out to you,
and not put them off,
tell them to shush,
make it seem like you don’t care about them
or their needs,
but join them
in truly seeing you
– that you can and will meet my need