Looking in Mark's Gospel we find a man who was sitting at a gate beside the road to Jericho. His destiny had been chosen for him through circumstances. He was blind. They had no welfare funds then; no vocational training for the handicapped, no Braille.
Circumstances had relegated Bartimaeus to the lowest of the low—to the very pit and dregs of humanity: to begging. There he sits beside the road, holding up his little cup.
The dust from the hooves of the animals and the feet of the people walking by settles on his clothes. Many times he smells the food some of them are eating, and his stomach cries out for a morsel of bread. Still he sits there, waving his cup, hoping perchance a wealthy merchant or landowner will drop in a few coins so that he can make it through another day.
One day Bartimaeus hears a commotion. There is a great stir in the air. A large crowd seems to be approaching Jericho. Bartimaeus grabs hold of the hem of somebody's robe that brushes against him. He shakes it and demands, "What's happening?"
They reply, "Oh, Bartimaeus, it's just Jesus of Nazareth passing by. Don't get yourself excited. The crowd will be gone in a minute, and maybe even you can get a few coins from them."
And Bartimaeus is faced with this question: "What do I do now? Where do I go from here?" He realizes that this is the man that has been going about doing good and healing all who are sick and oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
He realizes this is his opportunity. What he does from this moment on does not rest in the hands of God; it does not rest in the hands of religious leaders. What happens to him from this moment on rests solely with blind Bartimaeus himself!
The Word of God says, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Faith that changes your destiny comes by hearing God's Word. In John's Gospel it says that the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). And that Word was Jesus Christ.
When Bartimaeus hears that the Word is passing by, faith leaps up in his heart. He asks himself, "Do I sit here and let the crowd go by and maybe accumulate a few coins? Or do I turn to the only help mankind has ever known? Where do I go from here?"
It doesn't take him long to make up his mind and respond to that question. Jumping to his feet, he screams and hollers, "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!"
The men preceding Jesus go over to Bartimaeus and scold, "Hey, be quiet! Shut up! Don't you know Jesus is coming!" (Isn't it strange that those who are always walking out in front of Jesus want everything to be quiet, and those who are walking alongside Him are rejoicing, praising God, and having a good time?)
Faith in God cannot be quieted! When circumstances come in like a flood, the cry of faith will ring out the louder! It says here that Bartimaeus didn't shut up—he cried more loudly: "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!" He screamed it at the top of his lungs.
Yes, Bartimaeus could have done as many people do even today. He could have sat there and said, "All right, Lord. You know my needs. I'm just going to sit here and meditate and project my spiritual thoughts. When they reach you, if you want to bless me, just come over here and touch me. I'm going to sit right here and be quiet. I'm not going to cause any commotion. I know you are supposed to be quiet when Jesus is around."
If that's what Bartimaeus had actually said, he would still be sitting, blind, on that road outside of Jericho!
But because he would not be quiet—the cry of faith cannot be quieted—he screamed the louder as he heard Jesus approach: "Jesus have mercy on me!" And his life was changed (See Mark 10:49-52). Bartimaeus had faith. He wanted to change his destiny in life.
See it! See Jesus. See the crowd. See them bringing Bartimaeus to Jesus. Here he comes—this blind beggar. Does he fall down, place his face on Jesus' feet and begin to weep, "O Lord, please help me?" No, that's the way people think it should be done—that is the way some modern preachers and others would tell you it is supposed to be done—but the Bible says that blind Bartimaeus walked up to Jesus, looked in the direction of that voice that was flowing with love from the Master, and asked straightforwardly, "I want to see, Lord." And Jesus said, "You've got it!"
Immediately, Bartimaeus began seeing, and it says he began to praise God and follow the crowd. He no doubt threw away that money cup, gave the money he had collected to some other poor man, and said, "Here, take this. I'm going with Jesus." He had made his choice. He hadn't listened to those around him who were trying to discourage him.
If you listen to those around you, they'll keep you in bondage. If you read the Word of God through the colored glasses of tradition, you'll remain in bondage. But if you open your eyes wide to the truth God's Word, you can change your destiny in life. If your destiny is changed, it will be because you realize the truth of God's Word and get up and walk in it.
Find out what God wants from you, and do it. I challenge you: receive what God has for you! It belongs to you. Don't let the devil take it away from you.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications