Come My Way INTRO: Bartimaeus’ Call…Jesus’ Response (Mark 10:46-52)-
How does one describe a man who has no name of his own? The apostle Mark says this: “A blind man, Bartimeus (very literally, the son of Timeus), was sitting by the road begging (v. 47). As Jesus and his disciples were leaving the rough and tumble city of Jericho, amidst a large crowd, sat a poor blind beggar, seemingly unnoticed. How long he had been there or through what kind of lifelong journey he arrived is unknown, but however he got to this place, we do know that he was in desperate shape. And yet…he had heard the Messiah was coming.
How many times have I felt like this man? I’ve been alone, without companions…felt lost, without any real identity or inheritance. I’ve felt the shame of both my natural condition and the failure of my choices. There have often been times I’ve been blinded by my selfishness or sickness or pain, & I’ve failed to see or trust my Father’s faithful provision. I’ve hidden from others, cloaked myself in darkness, and simultaneously held out my hand in need to beg the attention of all who pass by. I’ve been desperate for compassion…for healing…for light…for mercy. Nevertheless, God did not leave me sitting in that desperate space, unnoticed.
Bartimeus’ story doesn’t end this way either: Bartimeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth coming, and “…he began to SHOUT, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Despite his blindness, or perhaps because of it, he was able to really see Jesus in all the glorious hope that he offered. Bartimeus must have spent a great portion of his life blinded by his insecurity, seeking the favor of man, struggling to persevere. Yet at last, he reached the point of ceasing to court the good opinion of others, or fearing their rejection. Mark tells us that “many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more: ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ “ (v. 47). Bartimeus knew that if he could just get in touch with his Savior, he would be healed. Just as the woman with uncontrollable bleeding knew she only needed to touch the hem of His garment, He cries out for Jesus to “come his way” (song by Skillet). He tenaciously calls for Jesus to SEE him, and Jesus heard.
Jesus stopped, and instructed them to call him. “So they called the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling YOU.” (v. 48). Bartimeus’ response here is incredible, almost as if he’s already grasped hold of the freedom awaiting him. It’s almost as if the chains that bound him for so long have been broken, as if he is beginning to SEE the promised land. “Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (v. 50). In the midst of our cries to be seen and heard, Jesus beckons to each of our hearts: “Come MY way.” When we do, He asks us each the question of questions He offered to Bartimeus’ needy heart: “What do you want me to do for you? (v. 51).
Although our needs and cries for help are abundant, so many of us would find ourselves unable to answer to this question. Discontent comes easily, but putting a name on that which would satiate our troubled souls comes with much more difficulty. Bartimeus, arriving at the end of many years wandering blindly in the desert, seems to know exactly what his soul needs, and articulates it in just five words: “Rabbi, I want to SEE.” (v. 51b). In Brandon Heath’s song of recent years, his prayer expands this cry: “Give me YOUR eyes, so I can SEE.”
Someone once said that for God to give us songs in the night, He must first make it dark. We must acknowledge our poverty of soul if we are to allow ourselves to drink from His rivers alone. To the humble, the empty, the poor…to those willing to cry out as Bartimeus did, He invites us to come & partake of the feast His son died to purchase for us.
We’ve all been given an invitation, and none are excluded. The invitation reads something like the verse in the Psalms: “Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). May our blindness be healed, that we see the GOODNESS of our LORD. Both grace and mercy are undeserved, and with our God, through the blood of Jesus, both are freely bestowed. Though both must also be received, once taken with faith, there is no question they will meet the deep need of our souls. In the end, this is what healed that son of Timeus. Mercy received with open, willing hands made blindness sight, turned his darkness to light.
“Go’, said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.” Mark recounts (v. 52) that immediately, Bartimeus received his sight, and followed Jesus along the road.