This morning I was once again deeply blessed with Mark’s account of the healing of Bartimaus. Jesus’ statement, “Your faith has healed you” is amazing. It was Bart’s faith that positioned him for the miracle that would change his life!
When Bart heard that Jesus was within reach, he was faced with a crisis of faith. Would he be willing to “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15) or remain in the realm of the familiar? This decision would determine whether Bart would continue to just get by or get blessed. Begging by the roadside made sense until he heard that healing was within his reach. That revelation led to responsibility. Bart would now have to take responsibility for what was now possible. Jesus has made us all response-able. What we do with that reality determines our destiny.
One of the things that strikes me as odd is the immediate opposition to Bart’s pursuit of mercy. Bart was shouting. He was obviously quite loud and passionate. The response of many to this was to rebuke Bart for such excess and to tell him to be quiet. Bart was here faced with yet another crisis of faith. Would shut up or shout out all the more?
Bart’s perseverance paid off (Gal. 6:9). His passionate persistence led to an invitation to encounter the presence and power of Jesus. This then led to yet another crisis of faith for Bart. Would he respond generally or request specifically in reply to Jesus’ question? Bart was familiar with crying out for mercy. He had done it all his life as a blind beggar. It was what he knew and had depended on to get by. To experience a blessing he had never known he would have to move beyond the familiar and speak specifically with regard to his need and desire. It is often more difficult than one would imagine to pursue and relate with God outside one’s comfort zone. Bit it seems that it is most often the most desperate and daring that get the miracles.
“Because many fear excess, mediocrity is embraced as balance. Such fear makes complacency a virtue. And it’s the fear of excess that has made those that are resistant to change appear noble minded…Risk takers, the ones who thrill the heart of God, become the targets of those who never fail because they seldom try” (Bill Johnson).