Bartimaeus, being blessed, being told to shut-up, blind Bartimaeus, crowds, decision makes you, feeling spiritually uncomfortable, friends, genuine faith, getting loud, God's word, Jesus, no concern for others, not receiving God's best, over-exaggerate our own importance, status quo, Sumrall quote
What if I told you there are people, even well-meaning people, out there preventing you from receiving God’s best. These folks are not hidden, unscrupulous, vicious individuals skulking around dark corners. They are some of your closest friends traveling the road with you. The problem is the noise they make. It is the rabble from their wake. They never shut-up long enough for you to hear or be heard. God has a word for you today … and everyday. Some of His messages are more important than others. There is a high likelihood you cannot hear God’s revelation for the confluence of voices surrounding you. This was exactly blind Bart’s problem. Yes, he was blind. But his biggest problem was the crowd.
35 As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; Luke 18:35-40
This company of onlookers following Jesus was like all the other crowds surrounding the Lord. Except…this bunch was preventing this man from connecting to his destiny! His new eyes were passing by on the road right in front of him. Bartimaeus was just five minutes from being able to see. In the middle of this crowd were some nay sayers attempting to keep old Bart from seeking the Lord. Jesus’ disciples attempted the same thing with children just a few verses earlier. What do disciples know? The Kingdom belongs to children and blind men.
Here is the point about crowds…. they have no concern about others. They really don’t care about what is happening around them until someone has the audacity to halt their parade. When they get the news that their parade is about to be stopped for someone other than them personally… this is when they get louder.
Every person in the crowd could have called out to Jesus on this occasion. Only one audacious person was heard… blind Bartimaeus. What did the crowd do? They were audacious too, but not for Jesus. They sought to shut-up the one man crying out with all his heart for the Lord. They rebuked the seeker for being loud and boisterous. Bartimaeus’ courage was met with a ferocious rebuke. These “gatekeepers” believe they know what is best for you and for Jesus.
Why is it that most religious folks and even non-religious folks don’t want other people healed, restored, or redeemed? Everybody says they want the “good” from heaven to be passed around to all people. But, in reality, the exact opposite is true.
The truth is we don’t want others to get blessed until we are blessed. We want the Lord to notice us first. It is like we feel the cupboard of heaven has limited supplies. God isn’t acting fairly unless we are served first. It is sad, but true. I think this is one of the reasons we feel uncomfortable in churches where some believers express emotions and worship passionately. Since we don’t worship in this fashion… no one else should either. Since we personally do not feel the urge to get passionate, neither should others. Since the blessings of God haven’t touch us personally, then no one else should be passionate either.
Someone wrote an article a while back on “why the other line at the grocery store always moves faster than the one you are personally standing.” It really doesn’t but when you are in the line moving quickly, you really don’t think about all the poor stiffs sitting still. But, when you are stuck waiting, all you can do is think about why you are stuck and others are moving forward. In other words, it is easy to fill victimized and never give serious consideration when others are stalled. We all have a tendency to over-exaggerate our own importance and rarely consider what others are going through. Hey, if it is not happening to me, then it should not be happening to anybody. Right?
Not one person encouraged Bartimaeus to get louder. They all told him to shut-up. We have all been yelled at or shouted down. This is why we too react like the crowd. Religion even has the gall to say things like, “It is a sin to question God. It is wrong to plead, seek, and go after God like the blind man. It is wrong to be passionate!”
Wrong!!! The blind man proves it. It is not wrong to call out, to question and seek God like a mad man. It might be socially and religiously unacceptable but it is never wrong in the eyes of Jesus. Blind Bart knew better on the road that day. He got louder.
We don’t like those who speak up, who leave the status quo, who refuse to keep quiet, who reject compliance as a way of life. We would rather have people shut up than say disturbing things from a genuine faith. So we tell people to be quiet…because in reality…genuine faith scares us to death. Since God has yet to answer us personally… He is not going to answer some unknown, blind man!
Have you gotten quiet? Have some of your friends discouraged you from seeking the Lord more passionately. Have they said something like… “It didn’t work for me, so it is not going to work for you. I tried praying like that but it didn’t work. God didn’t hear me, so He is not going to hear you. You should just settle down and get quiet.”
If blind Bartimaeus could speak to us again today it would be… “Seek the Lord with all your heart. Don’t listen to the crowd… get louder until the Lord hears you.”
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,