Well, if there is a verse in the Bible that should absolutely be memorised, it is this one!
When you think about what is happening here, it is really quite shocking. Here is Jesus, Emmanuel - God with us, heading a certain direction. He seemingly is unaware of the suffering around him. But somehow, in the midst of all the noise, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the crowd, Jesus hears Bartimaeus.
I don’t know if Jesus heard Bartimaeus before the crowd warned him to be quiet. It seems that when everything was telling Bartimaeus to shut up and give up, he pressed in. He levelled up. And Jesus hears him. And Jesus stops.
Jesus stops. He stops what He is doing.
For years, Bartimaeus had been wondering where God was, whether or not he heard his prayers, did God even care? But now, in an instant - Jesus stops and knows everything that is happening.
Dawn always follows a dark night, and how many times have we missed out on things that God had for us because we didn’t level up when our opportunity was there? How many well-meaning friends, and work colleagues have talked us out of the very thing that God has for us?
Jesus would have kept walking, I am sure of it, had Bartimaeus not cried out all the more. God wanted to be involved here. It wasn’t an accident that Jesus was there the same time Bartimaeus was begging by the road. But Bartimaeus had a part to play.
I read this and think God forgive me for all the times I have let you walk past, all those times you engineered something to happen, something great, I didn’t see it and I didn’t say anything.
Jesus stops and calls him
This is a wonderful analogy for life, a picture of what happens when, for whatever reason, someone cries out to God - have mercy on me. This is what happened to me when I was 18. I thought I was in a good place in life. I was travelling. I had a place at uni all secured. I was doing stuff I only dreamed of - but in the midst of it, I realised that Jesus was actually near me and I needed to ask him for mercy, to forgive me, heal me and help me live my best life.
And when I did - He stopped. And He called me.
It's one of the most remarkable verses in the Bible...I really would love to spend more time on this...but we’ve got the rest of the story to read yet!