The man before us cried out for mercy. The volume of his cry shattered the exclusive preferences of those crowding him out. He was barely mobile. Just a beggar outside the crowd. His unworthiness ranked high on the judgment charts of the masses that demanded his silence. Pushed to the curb, he continued his rant for ‘mercy’. What was trending that day caught us up in its web of indifference. But there was another man on site. He stopped the mob in mid-judgment. We, his followers, were embarrassed. We were embarrassed for two reasons. First, because the trendy momentum of our coolness was broken. Secondly, because a common beggar had stopped our trendy parade and exposed our crowd-pleasing judgmental nature.
Sheepishly, we brought the blind man to Jesus. ‘What do you want?’, Jesus asked. To the crowd the need was obvious. From their blindness surfaced the thought of ‘just heal the beggar and let’s be on our way.’ But Jesus took longer. He always did. He wasn’t annoyed. His patience went deep into the heart of the man. Jesus was always distracted by the heart conditions of those in front of him. Not afraid of losing the crowd, he focused entirely on the blind beggar before him. The crowd nervously leaned in. The beggar man called Jesus ‘master’. None of us had. He asked Jesus to let him see again. Jesus responded to the man’s faith. ‘Your faith has healed you’, Jesus assured. His actions conveyed compassion and proof that good old Bartimaeus mattered. His cry for mercy was a showstopper! We should have seen it coming.
Jesus saw faith. The crowd saw an inconvenience. Jesus saw the opportunity to change a man’s life, and extend mercy. The crowd had followed that day demanding a fix of some kind that would give them something to talk about at their evening happy hour. Bartimaeus sought mercy. When we’re broken and shattered by life, it always comes down to a cry for mercy. Blind Bartimaeus took us to that point. He outshouted the crowd who was clinging for photo-ops with Jesus. Bartimaeus had been pushed aside all of his life. His cry for help had often been hushed by the conversations of the popular. Satan knows how to keep a man down. Isolation is his game. Left in the darkness of a world who chatters mercilessly about the petty, Bartimaeus finally outshouted the ranks of the acceptable. We had tried to silence him. But he wouldn’t be silenced, not this time.
The conversation that crowds its way into our thinking to isolate and condemn us must be silenced. There comes a time when we have to shout it down. God is always listening for the cry of mercy. Satan turns up the volume on judgment. Mercy is prevalent in the heart of the One who stands before us and for us. His name is Jesus. Remember His name. The blindness of condemnation, ridicule and judgment loses their prominence when mercy turns up its volume. In Jesus’ ministry mercy triumphed over judgment for the lepers, the blind, the abused and the betrayed. Mercy is a game changer. We need to get in the game. We need to really see the person before us. They matter.