The purpose of this series of blogs on Jesus is to learn what he did in various situations rather than listen to what he taught. It may be possible to learn certain things from the way he reacts that are not necessarily expressed in his teachings. So lets watch as one day he leaves Jericho with his disciples. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus hears the crowd that so often accompanied Jesus and calls out for pity. It is interesting how the synoptists record the moment: When Bartimaeus kept calling for help, some in the crowd were upset and insisted that he be silenced (Mark 10 gives the fullest account) but Jesus “stopped” (vs. 49) and asked that the man in need be brought to him.
The crowd was “passing by” but Jesus “stopped” – and there is the difference between the heart of God and the nature of man. One might argue that both the disciples and the followers needed to learn all that Jesus had to teach and that there would undoubtedly have been other times to take care of a blind man. Certainly the needs of the many outweigh the need of a single person. So goes the warped reasoning of the mind turned inward for personal gain. Bur life is not a zero-sum game and acts of kindness expand their domain without limiting others.
The lesson that the crowd was to learn was presented with far more impact by illustrating it than by discussing it. Had Jesus said something about it being a fine thing to heal the blind, lives would probably never have been changed. But to actually see him respond to a need he could meet would leave an indelible impression. In the long run, learning has less to do with the accumulation of information than it has with the doing of what we “know.” When it comes to moral choice we “know” what we do, not what we remember.
Granted, we don’t meet many physically blind people today and if we did there is not a lot that we ourselves could do about it? But we are constantly surrounded by people with other kinds of blindness. Some cannot “see” the gospel as the story of God’s redemptive love for them. Others have never “seen” the beneficial results of caring for the needy, the insights of Scripture for a more satisfying life, the fact that apart from God there is no hope. We are surrounded by blindness and like Bartimaeus , they are calling for help. If God has opened our eyes through faith in Jesus Christ we know the one thing that needs to be “seen” by all who would prepare for an eternity in heaven. Others may pass by the needy but let's stop along with Jesus and meet the immediate need.