This is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Jacob;
shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
‘Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.’
See, I will bring them from the land of the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labor;
a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.”
Is this the God you think of when you think of GOD? Is this the God you know?
“And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
This compassionate God of the Old Testament is the same one who shows up in the person of Jesus some 600 years later, and attends to the needs of a blind man named Bartimaeus. While the crowd was hushing this beggar who cried out, “Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me,” Jesus was taking in the scene. He knows the crowd is dismissive of such an unimportant man as Bartimaeus, yet he engages the crowd in what is about to happen, by saying, “Call him.” All at once, voices are all around Bartimaeus saying, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
Next we have what might be called an MGM moment. A hush falls over the crowd, and in s l o w m o t i o n, Bartimaeus jumps up, throws of his cloak and heads in the direction of Jesus’ voice. They exchange words and a miracle takes place. Bartimaeus can see and, after taking it all in, turns and runs after Jesus. End “slo mo.”
If the words and actions of Jesus don’t shake us up and cause “our hearts to burn within us,” maybe we missed something in the scripture narrative. This Jesus, who takes care to call the blind man shows us The Father, who gathers the lame and women in labor. He is the one who leaves the 99 to find the lost sheep, sweep the house for the lost coin and calls Abraham leave his home for the Promised Land. This Son of David is in fact, the God of history. Now and Forever.
How long have you been sitting by the side of the road, waiting while everyone around you seems to discourage you from going to God with what you really want? Will Jesus notice you? Will he care? Is the crowd right that you should be quiet? Or…? Will you risk all your doubt to be healed?