NOW OR NEVER
The passage also reveals the impatience and the fickleness of the crowd. Instead of being sympathetic and moved by the blind man’s earnest cries for help and mercy, they were harsh, uncaring and insensitive. They rebuked him and tried to shut him up and shut him down (39). However, the more they attempted to shut him up is the more he cried out – “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (v39). If ever a time we need to shut out the maddening noise of the crowds, is today. Bartimaeus simply ignored their indignant instructions to silence him. There was a righteous stubbornness that welled up in him, a righteous rebellion, a cry within that no man or earthly force could have silenced. He had reached boiling point. He was fed up of being blind, helpless and distressed and as Jesus passed by, he instinctively reached out by crying out. He did everything within his power to not only get Jesus’ attention but to receive a miracle. He realized Jesus was present but passing. As each step brought Jesus closer, each step also took Him farther away.
Out of desperation he cried and even when they rebuked him, it only fueled him to become more vocal and unflinching. May the good Lord help us to tune some people out as we come closer to our miracle! Can you imagine if Bartimaeus had listened to the unholy reprimand from the crowd to keep him in check – to hinder his miracle! May God help us to become so radically desperate that we tune out all the negative suggestions of the masses. Bartimaeus’ cry was a protest cry. Sometimes we just need to protest about our conditions until we are heard and seen.
In response, Jesus stops. This blind beggar interrupts Jesus’ procession and momentum toward the holy city. The Bible says, “And Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought to him . . . (v40). Jesus had his face set toward Jerusalem but in this case, Jerusalem can wait. A desperate soul with a crying need took pre-eminence over all. In Jesus’ schemata – people come first. It must always be so in the church! People and their needs must come first. Jesus graciously restores his sight and gives him a voice in what happens next to him as the passage unfolds.
Let us be blessed and challenged by Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus that day. The passage concludes brilliantly. It states, “And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave God praise” (v43). He received his sight. He followed Jesus. He glorified God. The same crowd that tried to hinder him, had to turn around and give God praise as a result of his miracle.
The blind man received his miracle that day, but what if he did not seize the moment and cry out at that instant! For him, like it is for many of us, today, it is NOW or NEVER! Give it all to Jesus Now!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
November 14, 2020
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region