When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
What a gritty, hard life Bartimaeus lived. How terribly desperate and lost he must have felt. He has spent years and years without any real hope. The future to him had been emptied of all purpose and meaning. Life, from his point-of-view was worse than non-existence. It was brutal and vicious, and when he had bad times he could barely look up.
He had a customary spot beside the busy road. Routine had become his coping skill. As a blind man knew that routine kept him from really losing it. Seated on a dirty mat, he focused in on the voices of the passing crowds. There seemed many more than usual and Bartimaeus began to try to piece together what was happening.
Someone to the right of him, shouted “Hosanna, Son of David”! In that stark moment Bartimaeus jumped up and began to shout himself. He shouted and shouted until he was hoarse. He waved his hands, desperate to be seen. There were those around him who told him to sit-down and shut-up. There were hundreds of people reaching for Jesus, arms outstretched and pleas being made. In this crazy and confusing scene Bartimaeus will not comply, he must speak, he must, he is desperate!
Jesus doesn’t walk alone, but is mobbed by well-wishers. But suddenly He stops, Jesus can hear the voice of Bartimaeus. Jesus wades partly into the jumbled mass and asks someone to bring Bartimaeus into the open. We see him wriggle through the crowd, he is shaking and he is filthy. His hair is matted and he has rotting teeth. He hasn’t bathed for several months. A filthy rag is wrapped over his eyes.
Is Jesus passing by? Do you call out for Him? Does he call for you? He often touches His most needy disciples, outside of the confines of the Church. Jesus’ travels wherever He wants, He goes where He wills. Jesus passes by us as we sit in our youth meeting, our marriage counseling or on a short-term missions project to Mexico. He interrupts and pulls you out of the crowd. All to heal you, for Himself.