A large crowd pushed its way through Jericho one day with Jesus in the middle. Leaders out front felt important as they shooed people out of the way, and hangers-on protected their positions close to the Lord. It would have been easy for Jesus to go with the noisy flow and get to his destination in good time. But He made the crowd stop.
A beggar on the side of the road was calling out for him. This was Bartimaeus, a poverty-stricken blind man. Despite efforts by the crowd to silence him, he cried out all the more – “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Lk.18:38) He was not a nuisance to Jesus. He spoke with him and, moved with compassion, touched his eyes and restored his sight. Only then would He allow the crowd to move on.
We’re living in a world that likes to act like that single-minded, pushy crowd. It’s as if we have our lives set on speed-control and we’re reluctant to back off. When others get in the way we don’t like it. Horns blare and people must scurry out of the way. It’s a selfish, arrogant way to handle things.
Jesus shows us a better way. I’m sure he was in a hurry at times, but he didn’t mind stopping for those who needed a hand. Don’t we want to be treated like that? Nothing is more important than a person. Jesus thought so. He was courteous to friends and foes alike. People felt his kindness and appreciated the fact he was interested in their lives. All we have to do is look around us at the many needs and hardships of people. You can’t solve everything, but you can care. “Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Col.3:12). Bartimaeus isn’t far away.
– Tim Johnson