The Son Stood Still

October 19 2016
October 19 2016

In Joshua 10, when Israel was at war with five Amorite kings, the battle raged on into the evening, where the sun was about to set, and Joshua, “said in the sight of Israel – Sun, stand still at Gibeon. And moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until Israel took vengeance on their enemies. The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man.”

No day like this until… the day when the Son of God stopped, and stood still to heed the voice of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. The story is told in Mark 10:46-52 - As Jesus was leaving Jericho, with his disciples, and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road-side. 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.

A man whose life is lived in complete darkness, cries out to Jesus. A man dependant on others, as he begs people for money is crying out to Jesus. But notice where he is sitting – “He is by the roadside.” He is not on it. Rather he is pushed off to the side in a ditch. He is not in the game of life, he is sitting on the sidelines, while normal people and their normal lives pass him by.

Notice something else about this man - we know his name. Jesus heals many people, and we don’t know their names, but we know Bartimaeus. He has been cast aside by society, he is broken and unfit to function in normal life. And the most important thing that Mark wants us to know about him – he’s so broken and desperate that, “he cries out to Jesus for mercy!”

Can you imagine how insignificant Bartimaeus feels when the crowd tells him to “shut up”? He can’t see their faces, but he can hear it in their voices -  “You’re worthless and insignificant! You are a nuisance, an inconvenience to us – Nobody wants to hear what you have to say, so shut your mouth and be silent.” But when Jesus hears his cry for mercy - “He stopped and stood still”.

The Son of God with a heavy heart, who is on His way to Jerusalem to pay the ransom for sin by drinking the cup of God’s wrath, heeded a man’s voice and stopped! The Son of God stood still because a desperate man called out for mercy! Can you feel the force of Jesus stopping for mercy, brokenness, desperation, suffering, and for the shamed? The Son stood still for a blind beggar crying out for mercy.

Bartimaeus knows that the promised Son of David will conquer not by crushing and condemning sinners, but by forgiving and pardoning sinners. By standing with, and for, sinners who have no hope, save for the King’s mercy to make them whole – “Son of David have mercy on me!” When Jesus heeded the voice of Bartimaeus and stopped, everything changes - “What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus is giving Bartimaeus a blank check to spend it on whatever he wants to spend it on, and what does Bartimaeus want? He just wants to become whole again. He just wants to recover his sight and be a normal human being. We know Bartimaeus’ name, because he is the model of true faith. A man who trusted in Jesus to do for him what he cannot do for himself.  “Go your way; your faith has made you well. And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”

His sight and heart are immediately restored, he has been healed physically and spiritually. He is no longer on the side of the road, he is now on the road of following Jesus. He is back in the game of life, because his faith in Jesus has made him whole again.

A lot of us remain blind and don’t cry out for mercy, because we still don’t see that we really aren’t trusting in Jesus, but are trusting in something else to make us whole. Bartimaeus knew he deserved nothing, yet he cried out to Jesus for the only thing he knows he needs – “Have mercy on me.” Cry out for mercy and watch the Son of God heed your voice and stand still for you!


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