His garment looks like an old, shabby rag, needing a good washing and mending.
Why? Because he sits in the dirt on the side of the road.
Darkness surrounds him, even in the hot, noonday sun. He is blind. He is a beggar.
Bartimaeus is his name, but he is usually called more unpleasant things.
He begs for coins, any coins, just to buy some bread.
An occasional mite plinks in his meager cup.
Gratefulness is always offered to his benefactor.
People pass by. Their gestures and stifled laughs go undetected.
If he could see them, they would be a rushing blur of avoidance.
Hunched over with dejection, he sits in the grime, day after day, his soul shriveling a little more with each sundown.
“Alms? Alms for the poor?” he cries out each morning, awaiting a response. His voice slowly grows softer by evening, as a sea of discouragement drowns his plea.
What’s that sound? cupping his hand to his ear. It’s growing louder and closer. He’s puzzled. “What is that commotion?” he asks someone nearby.
“It’s Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth passing by.”
Jesus? I know that name. The One in the prophecies. They say He’ll rule from the throne of David. Isn’t He the One I hear Who heals? I need to…
“JE-SUS,” he yells. “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Shhh! Be quiet!” some reprimand him.
But their stern warnings only spur him to cry louder, “SON OF DAVID! HAVE MERCY ON ME!”
The footsteps halt.
“Bring him to me,” commands the authoritative voice.
“Be of good cheer!” the men say. “Take courage! Get up! Jesus is calling you.” Strong hands grip his arms but Bartimaeus jumps up. Yanking off his old, pauper’s garment, he throws it aside. He walks definitely in Jesus’ direction.
“What do you desire Me to do for you?” asks Jesus.
Can this be true? I stand before Jesus? “Please, Rabboni!” he begs, for he knows no other way. Four small words loom large in his heart and catapult off the end of his tongue, “I want to see!”
“Receive your sight; it is given to you, for your faith has saved you,” declares Jesus.
Immediately, the familiar darkness dissipates and unfamiliar light fills his eyes. Shielding his eyes from the brilliance of the sun, what does he see? Jesus! Before him stands a crownless King with gentle, loving eyes, crinkled up in pleasure.
He falls to his knees in gratitude. Gratefulness is an understatement! With a myriad of visuals before him, a rush of exhilaration then triggers unrestrained jumping.
“I can see! I can see! Thank You, Lord! Thank You!” All those in the entourage rejoice in praise with him.
He “saw” his chance and he seized it. His darkness dissipated. And the Light of the world flooded his heart and soul.
He left his squatter’s residence, his beggar’s perch. Never to return. For from that day, he became a companion of Jesus, following Him on His journey.
I once was blind. I sat in the dirt on the side of the world, my filthy, old garment needing to be cleansed, my life needing to be mended. Darkness surrounded me. I was a beggar of life. My soul shriveled a little more with each sundown.
Then, Jesus of Nazareth passed by one day. Standing before Him, I heard Him say, “What do you desire Me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see!”
He said, “My grace is sufficient for you. Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.”
After falling to my knees in gratitude, I yanked off my dirty rag of unrighteousness and threw it aside. I received my sight and the robe of righteousness. The darkness dissipated; His Light filled my heart and soul.
And His eyes crinkled up with pleasure.
Unrestrained gratefulness is the order of every day. I can see! I can see! Thank You, Lord! Thank You!
I am His companion. I follow Him, day after day, glorifying Him and giving Him praise.
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