Standing before Jesus
Mark 10: 49 (NRSVA)
49 Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’
Jericho was known as the city of palms and many Priests and Levites lived there. It was about an eight-hour walk heading south-west and uphill to Jerusalem. It was a busy place. Jericho sat on a major route from the north of the country to Jerusalem. It was a week before Passover, the busiest festival of the Jewish calendar, and the pilgrims were already making their way to the big city.
Jesus is in town because He and His followers are on the road to Jerusalem and, with His reputation as a healer and miracle-worker, the population has increased further! I imagine the chaotic scene and I wonder at Bartimaeus defying the societal norms as he screams at the top of his lungs, daring to label Jesus as Messiah, he must have been desperate.
Although surrounded by crowds of individuals demanding, hoping, begging, for His attention, and in spite of the noise, the heat, the pushing and the shoving, Jesus heard Bartimaeus’ crying out, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me.” (verse 47)
Even though he was, “sternly ordered by many” to be quiet, Bartimaeus persisted in drawing attention to himself, knowing that only Jesus could heal him, only Jesus could transform him. Little wonder then that he flung his cloak away and sprung up when he was invited to stand before Christ Jesus. Little wonder that the people around him told him to take heart, to be encouraged, to be filled with hope, to realise that the impossible may become possible — and all because Jesus called him to stand before Him.
It’s amazing what can happen when we hear the invitation to stand before Jesus, I wonder, are we hearing His voice calling us to leave our place of safety? Are we willing to fling off whatever is keeping us tethered to our blindness?
O God Who heals and restores, help us to stand before You and to ask for help to move out of what we have come to know and rely upon that is not of You. Help us to untie the cords that bind us to our comfort zones in church, at home and in work that we might be ready to spring up, fling off our cloaks and follow You. Amen.