Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. –Mark 10:46-52
I don’t like to be interrupted. I think that my plans, my schedule, my ideas are important, and I don’t like when people get in the way. That’s probably because, deep down, I think I’m better and more special than everyone else. And if I’m better and more special, then people should get on board with what I want do, instead of making me stop and do what they want to do. (At least, that’s the way I think sometimes).
But look at Jesus. Unlike me, Jesus actually IS better and more special than anyone else. His plans and his schedule and his ideas really ARE important. But when he gets interrupted—and in the gospels, it seems like he gets interrupted a lot—he never reacts the way that I usually do. Jesus is never grumpy at the inconvenience. He’s never impatient with having his time taken. Even when he’s in the middle of something really important, it seems like he always has time for people. He’s always okay with being interrupted. And the reason why is because he loves people—really loves them. He puts their needs ahead of his own. He cares about them more than he cares about himself. People are more important to Jesus than his own plans.
That’s what this story is about. Jesus was on a really important mission; he was on his final journey to Jerusalem and to the cross. This was the whole reason he had come to earth—there was nothing more important than that mission. But along the way, he came across a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus (let’s call him Barty) couldn’t work because he couldn’t see, and that meant he didn’t have any money. So he didn’t have anywhere to live, and most days didn’t have enough food. He probably didn’t have any friends either. Life was pretty hard for poor Barty.
So when Barty heard that Jesus was coming down the road, he started calling out at the top of lungs, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” What that meant was, “King Jesus, please help me!” Barty couldn’t help himself. His only hope was for Jesus to help him.
Barty was kind of loud and obnoxious, trying to get Jesus’ attention, and everyone around him was annoyed. “Hush!” they said. “He doesn’t want to talk to a nobody like you.”
But Barty wasn’t a nobody to Jesus. When Jesus heard Barty calling for him, he stopped. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked kindly.
Barty’s heart leapt. “Oh please,” Barty begged. “I want to see!”
Jesus smiled. “Your faith has made you better.” And all at once, like the someone turning on the lights in a dark room, Barty’s eyes started working again, and he could see. He laughed and cried and thanked Jesus, and immediately joined his disciples. The rest of his life, he knew, he would follow Jesus no matter what. Because Jesus, and only Jesus, had loved him enough to stop and help him.
The way Jesus treated Bartimaeus was so different than the way everyone else treated him. Jesus was patient, Jesus was kind. Jesus was willing to help. He was willing to be interrupted.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus is like that? And you know what? Jesus is still like that, even today. When you pray—even little, silly prayers—he doesn’t roll his eyes or check his watch. He loves you, he is patient with you, he is kind to you. So that means we can be just like Barty; any time we’re in need, we can pray, “King Jesus, please help me!” And we can know that, just like with Barty, Jesus loves to be interrupted by us.