There are all kinds of reasons people give for not taking advantage of an opportunity that comes their way. Some may say that they didn’t realize it until too late, while others may blame not having enough knowledge to make the most of the opportunity. Blind Bartimaeus diffuses such arguments and reasons with his actions in this instance.
Blindness is no excuse for not taking advantage of an opportunity.
Even if people can’t see all the possibilities, people who want out of their current situation are desperately looking for a change! Bartimaeus was most certainly physically blind but that did not prevent him from seeing and seizing an opportunity! In cases where “blindness” obstructs we must learn to use other senses to our advantage.
There were several things that helped Bartimaeus make use of this opportunity. He had been sitting in a place where activity and information would pass. He was on a roadside. People passed along there everyday and even if they didn’t give him money, they could give him information. He may have been a blind beggar but he was not an ignorant one! He paid attention to news about a certain man Jesus. He heard the rustling of the crowds as they drew near. He sensed the dust rising in his nostrils and took advantage of the chance he got.
Seeing doesn’t just happen with our eyes.
Bartimaeus couldn’t see where Jesus was. He had no idea how close he was to Jesus nor what Jesus looked like. All Bartimaeus could do was cast cries for mercy toward heaven and the general direction from which noise seemed to stir. He was listening. He was hoping. He was dreaming. He may not have seen Jesus at this point but he could most certainly see that his future lay in Jesus’ hands. Bartimaeus had faith. Without eyes, he had to listen more intently and closely for the voice of God. John 10:27 tells us that God’s sheep “hear His voice”. Bartimaeus’ faith came as a result of using His next greatest sense of sound. Many times people may miss opportunities God has for them because they are too fixated on God doing one thing or another and unwilling to see or act with eyes of faith. Bartimaeus “heard” and then he cried out. If we want to see again, listen for His voice. It’s then that everything becomes clear. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17. In other words, don’t look for God if you’re unwilling to listen to God.
Just because you can’t see the future doesn’t mean you don’t have one.
Bartimaeus was not content to be a beggar the rest of his life. He had a dream and that dream would require a miracle. Most dreams do! However when the dream-maker came near, Bartimaeus took full advantage of the chance he had been given. It was a “now or never” moment. Bartimaeus may not have been able to see with his eyes presently but he could certainly see what kind of future he desired. Don’t allow a present limitation to prevent you from asking God for a future without limits . Bartimaeus was no idiot; a beggar but a believer and dreamer as well! His belief was not in himself mind you but in the one who could give him a future beyond his present status and situation. But it all came down to the present: what would he do with Jesus so close by? This is also the case for us. What will we do when Jesus passes by? Will we miss the opportunity given us? Take advantage of every opportunity to see Jesus…even if you have to see with your ears for that’s when it’s a vision to hear!
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and Youth Pastor of New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9 NIV
Now that Easter has come and gone, how did it change the way we live, feel, act, and respond? How easily will we fall back into the mundane and habitual routines of life?
Why not let the Resurrection of Christ affect your life today in by reflecting on these simple truths?
“He Is Not Here”
Where is He then? Sometimes we are looking for the “Lord” in all the wrong places. I put “Lord” in quotes because whether we know it or not, everything we do is a quest for God. We are all seeking the Lord, or seeking the longing created in us that Lord alone can fulfill. This is why we are so dissatisfied at times. It is because we are trying to meet God-given desires with things or people that will never be able to satisfy…He is not here or there or in that relationship or in that pursuit. The women went to the tomb and found that He was not there; all they found was emptiness in a place of death. What is it that you are looking for in a place of emptiness or death? You will not find what you are truly looking for, which is Life, Love and ultimately Christ in those kind of places!
“Why Look For The Living Among The Dead?”
The angels were asking a very simple and yet profound question: Why would you look for the Lord of Life in a place like this? How easy is it for us all to fall into this trap? We can run to all sorts of things looking for answers to life’s most important questions and fail to turn to the Author of Life altogether! Music,movies, and the rest of media all direct us to the fact that we long for something more…something deeper…something life-altering. Why is it that we look for life in places of death? Sin will take your life without restoring it. Christ will restore your life by taking it! If you are willing to die to yourself you will find life…this is in fact the only way to find life. Every other attempt is looking for the living among the dead.
“He Is Risen!”
The greeting early century Christians used reveals a great truth to hold onto: “The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed!” Is there anything too great for Him? If this truth is the truth of our lives, doesn’t it change everything? How is it that we can feel overcoming death for Jesus was easier than overcoming debt for us? How is it that we can think Satan was a lesser foe for Jesus someone else in our lives? How is it that we can think that His ability to overcome the grave is not powerful enough for any situation that seems like life or death to us? The fact remains that the Lord is risen and because He has risen, everything else is less empowered than we think. But that’s just it, right…it’s about how we think! Our thinking, our understanding, our belief is what affects the way we live.
Nothing has power over Christ! But this is what we tend to forget. Everything shivers at the mention of His name. If the Lord has risen indeed, there is nothing that we need to fear, nothing that should intimidate, nothing from which draw back, nothing from which to run. There is nothing which should bring unbelief, doubt, or question His power, love or ability. He is LORD. He is ABLE. He is RISEN! He is the conquerer of not only death but everything that brings death to us and in us. What is conquering you? If it is Christ and you are overcome by His Spirit, His power, His life, then there is nothing else can defeat you because you are dead in Him. He is alive! He is alive in you! This is Easter after Easter!
Questions For Reflection
How does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ affect your view of life today? Your future? Your decisions?
What seems to have a death-grip on your mind?
What areas of your life seem empty and devoid of life?
How are you substituting your relationship with God by turning to these lesser gods, which will never satisfy?
In what way can you leave the tomb today renewed and changed?
How is Jesus trying to restore you today?
18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
If there were a passage that points to spring, this would be one of them for sure! What a great passage to consider as birds begin to sing again and the trees begin to bud! But what about our spiritual lives? Sometimes we can get in a funk and find it hard to get out. We can be stuck in winter while God is trying to bring the spring. Here are a few things to help you do some spring cleaning of your soul.
1) Forget About It
In the dreary winter, life can feel like survival at its best on certain days. God is telling His people to forget those days. Move on! There are times when we as humans get stuck in a mental rut and we just keep marching to the beat of an old beat-up drummer. God says change the tune! Even if the days were good in the winter, change the rhythm! A new season is here! What you choose to hold onto will hold onto you!
In the winter especially I am aware of static cling. Whether I’m getting clothes from the dryer, to pulling sheets and comforter from my bed, the electricity that accumulates shocks me and at times stings pretty good. Separating these items of cloth that have been electrically charged is not easy…nor is it easy to separate myself from some of the past. However, God says to forget those things, good and bad; it’s time to move on. Those things are in the past. God is telling His people to forget the former things but not forget God.
Often as human nature has proven, we as people put trust in things or events instead of God. God tells His people here to move beyond those things and look forward to something new! When we constantly look back, we are communicating that there is nothing worth looking forward to. This is most certainly not the case for Christ Followers! We have God to look forward to! He alone is our hope, trust, love, and future!
2)Perception Is Not Reality
For many what we perceive is what we believe! But perception is not always reality. It is important to note that our belief affects our perception of reality. “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen”, according to Hebrews 11:1. What I choose to look at, whether the glass is half-full or half-empty is my choice. Both are perceptions of reality. However both sides of that perception have failed to realize the simple fact that there’s water in the glass. That’s the reality! Moreover, God is not limited by how much or little is in the glass anyway. How often have we been too caught up in quantity of energy, resources or the like and failed to see the God who is limitless? This should be the reality we live in. My earthly slanted perception is not reality. God is reality and He says He’s doing new things. Maybe it’s time for a spring cleaning and then I’ll be able to see clearly?
Questions for reflection
What things is God telling you to forget about?
How are you clinging to the past and avoiding the future?
How have you forgotten about God? His power? His acts of kindness?
What are you looking forward to?
How has your perception of reality?
Is it wrong or right? Is it correct and from the right vantage point?
Since God is doing something new, what do you see? What things need to change? What things need to be let go? What things need to be embraced?
On this resurrection day, I simply want to remind everyone that while Jesus was on this planet, He had no place to stay. He traveled from place to place, staying in people’s homes like with Mary and Martha and Lazarus, but reported Himself that the Son of man had “no place to lay His head”. This may seem unfortunate to us but it was all part of God’s plan for His Son to not have “residence” in this place or on this planet. This was not His home. Jesus was born in a borrowed manger and buried in a borrowed tomb. In between those two events, He lived in places He did not own and shared spaces He would not stay for long!
Jesus was placed on a cross…hung there with nails in His hands and His feet. He was put there to stay. The people who killed Him thought they were done with Him. But little did they know, the cross could not keep Him down, hang Him up or do Him in! Jesus didn’t stay on the cross! After a few hours, they took Him down and placed Him in a tomb.
After rolling a boulder in from of the doorway, the Romans thought they had devised a surefire way to prevent Jesus’ body from being “stolen” and to keep His body in the tomb! Little did they know or understand that no one can contain or keep the Son of God entombed! After three days, Jesus gloriously rose from the dead and miraculously left the tomb. That was a place for dead people and certainly not a place for the Son of the Living God to stay!
Jesus soon departed for Heaven, telling His disciples to go and make other disciples. He told them He was going to make a place for them…for us…to stay but that one day He would come again to get us so that we could be where He is. Jesus has gone to that place but is not planning to stay there yet…He is yet to settle in! He is preparing a place for us and once that is complete, Jesus will come again!
So what is really amazing is that through all of this, Jesus’ earthly life, His tragic death, His miraculous resurrection and glorious ascension, Jesus has chosen only one place to reside until He comes again and that place is in our hearts through the Holy Spirit! (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30). Resurrection Day is so vitally important because it’s the day Christ chose to demonstrate that the most powerful people or places on this planet could not keep Him or limit Him in any way. He did not stay on the cross or in the grave but has chosen to reside in my heart until He comes to take me to live with Him in Heaven, where we will abide together forever! This is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Why not give Him your heart as a place to stay this Easter?
46And Jesus called out with a loud voice,“Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46
These final words from Jesus' lips could seem like the end on a life but they were really just the segway for the future. In these words there is trust, hope, confidence, and belief as Jesus surrenders Himself to the Father.
30When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,“It is finished! ” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30
Everyone was taken aback and surprised that Jesus went from walking and healing people to hanging bloody from a cross. Surely this was not the ending anyone would have anticipated except God. Yet here He is, barely hanging onto life with a cross hanging from His back.