Mark 10:46-52: The gospel writer, Mark, gives us this short story of the miracle Jesus did as he gave sight to the blind man Bartimeaus. Mark doesn’t give us much here just the short and sweet version of what happened.
Jesus is coming into the city of Jericho as he continues toward Jerusalem for his final encounter with the leaders of Israel. A blind man, the son of Timeaus, is seated along the path the Jesus is taking and when he hears that it is Jesus is coming along he realizes this is his chance of a lifetime to meet the man he has heard so much about.
The striking thing in the story as Mark tells it is not the miracle itself but the attitude of the crowd that was following Jesus. Bartimeaus is calling out to Jesus to get his attention but the crowd actually tries to hush him up. The crowd seems to have its own agenda that doesn’t include Jesus taking time to interact with a blind man. This is really strange because this is what Jesus seems to have done all day long. His ministry was all about teaching about the Kingdom of God, healing the sick and setting the captives free from demon possession. But his crowd didn’t think anything of trying to force Bartimeaus aside. It is to his credit that Bartimeaus doesn’t let the crowd dictate his ambitions so rather than silently accepting the crowds rebuke he calls out all the louder. In the end he gains his meeting with Jesus and receives what he had hoped for, his sight! He could see again. Were was the crowd now? They were still there but could say nothing as Bartimeaus followed along.
This story is so much like the world we live in. The crowd was guided by a different set of values than Jesus. In the Kingdom of God every person matters no matter what their position. Sadly Satan is able to use this difference in values to keep many from encounter Jesus. There are however those that realize that when Jesus passes by it is their chance to experience his transforming power. The crowd is often the strength of Satan to dissuade those who are seeking God to truly meet him in Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the pressure that a community puts on its members to subscribe to a worldview and values which doesn’t allow room to discover Jesus as Lord and Saviour. It takes a brave person to step outside of the confines of the crowd to call out to Jesus despite the pressure to be silent.