This is probably one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I find it so compelling and I return to it often for inspiration and encouragement. It is the story of the blind man Bartimaeus and his interaction with Jesus. Here is the story as found in the Gospel of Luke. (In the gospel of Mark is where we find the man’s name).
As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (Mark 18:35-43 ESV)
What has always stood out to me in this story is his boldness, his audacity. When asked by Jesus, “what do you want?” Bartimaeus did not hesitate. He went for broke. You see he could simply have asked Jesus for some money to make it through the day. He could have asked Jesus for advice on a better location for begging. He could simply have settled for “just enough to get by.” He was blind and there was no point in trying to change that – right? Wrong! Bartimaeus asked for the impossible. He asked for something that only God could do! He wants to see. He wanted his blindness gone. That my friends takes hutzpah. And that to me is encouraging part of this story, because while this may be a very nice story and we are very happy for Bartimaeus’ good fortune 2000 years ago, it still has application to us today.
I think that many of us are blind – perhaps not physically blind, but certainly spiritually or emotionally blind. I think we are blinded by our assumptions about how life should be, how a Christian should act or speak or dress, what we deserve, what our worth is. These assumptions blind us to the possibilities of a fuller life in Christ, to a life that takes us off the roadside of begging and enables us to join Jesus in all His glory. We are also blinded by arrogance. We think we have made something of ourselves and doing ok. We don’t need much and don’t ask for much. We rely on our own resources and skills. Our arrogance blinds us to the need to ask Jesus for help. We don’t even recognize our blindness and live our lives only within what we can control. And finally, I think that too often fear blinds us. We are too afraid to approach God because He might say no… or worse yet, He may say yes. Then what? Everything will change and we all know that change is bad. We would rather stay in our blindness where we are comfortable than dare ask to see.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live a life that is limited by my own assumptions, arrogance or fear. I don’t want to stay by the side of the road begging just to get by and miss what Christ has to offer. I want to see everything that He has prepared for me and join Him in LIFE! I want to ask God for the impossible, for what only He can do, for that miracle that transforms lives. I don’t want to be blind anymore. That is what I learn from Bartimaeus.
So my question to you is, “What will you ask for when Jesus shows us and wants to know what you want?” Will you ask Him for just enough or will you ask Him for the impossible.