Monday, January 11, 2010

Pestering Persistence

“When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’   Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ ”  

Children have an annoying habit of pestering persistence until their voice is heard.  With their stature three-plus feet shorter than ours, it is a necessity for them to tug on pant legs and raise their tiny voice so that it reaches our lofty ears.  They barge in expecting an audience and rarely concede until they are given one.  I have concluded, especially since having been blessed with grandchildren, that their little minds are being filled with so much information at such a rapid speed, it has to find a way of escape or it will crash like a computer.  When they entered this world, they were empty little vessels.  And as they grow, often the cup is tilted and the things they are learning slosh over the rim.  From an adult’s standpoint, this can be an annoying mess.

As children growing up, my siblings and I were often reminded of the old adage “children should not speak unless spoken to.”  We were instructed that it was rude to interrupt an adult conversation and should wait our turn.  The importance of what we had to convey would just have to be side-lined until the adults briefly gave us a precious moment of their attention - if we were lucky.  Our persistence could be received with mild interest, a bored look, or an impatient frown.  The worst we could expect would be a sharp rebuke, telling us to stop being a pest and go play.  But if the matter was important enough, we would charge ahead with boldness because of our determination.  In spite of the response we may have received, nothing was going to stop us from having our voice heard.

The Apostle Mark tells us of a man with this child-like persistence.  His name was Bartimaeus, a blind beggar destined to sit daily on the side of the road and eat the dust from the feet of the people passing by; hoping a coin or two would be dropped in his hand.  It was an all-too-common site in Mark’s day.  How Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was present in the crowd can only be explained by the number of people who were with Him.  The impact Jesus made as He traveled Judea with His message of peace caused an uproar heard around the world.  As a beggar who probably sat at Jericho’s city gates and heard the Rabbis speak of this bold stranger who was causing such a stir, Bartimaeus’ ears had been sharply attuned to anything new or of interest.  More than likely, the blind man had heard of the miraculous healings performed by Jesus; the lame able to walk, the blind able to see.  Whatever his reason, Bartimaeus was going to be heard.

It’s interesting that the reaction of the Apostles and the people surrounding Jesus closely resembles how we respond to children who are persistent.  Twice Bartimaeus called out to Jesus.  Twice he was sharply rebuked by the Apostles and others.  Perhaps they were deeply engrossed in a conversation with Jesus, or they themselves were straining to hear the words of their Teacher above the tumult that surrounded them.  But one thing is clearly evident: Bartimaeus “shouted all the more” because of his need to be recognized, and Jesus heard the man and gave him His full attention.

Jesus stopped and said,Call him.’ ”    

Wait a minute.  Let me read that one more time.

Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.’ ”

 It’s hard to believe that among the jostling crowd who were all vying for His attention that one voice was heard above it all.  Unlike the way we respond to our own children and grandchildren, a child’s voice called out from his darkness and our Lord heard his plea.  And Christ did more than just hear it.  He stopped what He was doing and immediately responded to it.  There were no half-interested, bored or impatient looks from Jesus.  There was no sharp rebuke to be silent and not bother Him.  Instead, Jesus asked the blind beggar, “What do you want Me to do for you?

Now, we know that the man’s physical ailment was glaringly obvious, that there was no need for Jesus to ask him about specifics.  He could have impatiently spoken the words, healed the man, and been onto more important matters, if that had been His way.  Instead, Christ looked with genuine intent into Bartimaeus’ heart, rather than into his milky and clouded eyes, to see what lay there.  And what He found was far more than what those with good vision could see.  He saw faith.  He saw a heart filled with the stories and rumors Bartimaeus had heard of what this man called Jesus was saying and doing.  Jesus saw belief, and it was Bartimaeus’ faith and belief in the Messiah that healed him.

“Rabbi, I want to see,” he said.

What greater thing could Bartimaeus have asked for than to see the Man Who was healing the sick, the lame, and the blind?   He knew Him to be the One spoken of in prophecy, the Son of David, come to save the world.  Bartimaeus believed He stood before him and it was this belief that gave him the desire to gaze upon Jesus.

“Rabbi, I want to see.”  

And see, he did.

Jesus’ children never need fear that when we go to Him with something of importance to us that He will wave a shushing hand over our heads and tell us to go play.  Our excitement will never be quashed because He thinks our questions are trivial, unimportant, or unworthy of His attention.  We can be assured that He will give us His undivided and immediate attention for His greatest desire is that we go to Him always with every need, trial, or hope.  And Jesus’ ear isn’t lofty and beyond our voice.  There is no need to beg, plead, shout, or tug on His pant leg.  His ear is ready and waiting for our pestering persistence.  When we call out to Him for an audience, we are guaranteed He will quickly respond with, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  

Be a Bartimaeus and believe it.

(Copywright 2007 Karen L. Brahs)


Katy said...

Great reminder! :)

cathy said...

I do believe that Jesus wants us all to come to Him as little children.Children believe,have faith,and love with all their hearts with out question.My husband and I Were a big influence in our grandchildrens first 5 years.Then my daughter moved and we couldn't see them as much.But The Lord can and we pray for them all the time. I noticed that Ryan was having night mares.One night when they were visiting I heard Ryan yell out a terrifing scream.I ran to him and he was crying,it broke my heart.I ask him what he was dreaming about. He told me that the devil was trying to get him.I told him the Lord was always with him and he would never let anything happen to him.I told him that we prayed for him all the time.I told him that when the devil tried to get after him again to put the devil under his feet and stomp on him,and tell that old devil to go back to hell where he belonged.I held him until he calmed down and went back to sleep.The next night afer the kids were fed bathed and we talked about Jesus,and had quiet time. I put the kids to bed we said our prayers. I told Ryan to remember Jesus was with him all the time.After I did dishes, I sat down for a minute. When I heard a loud thumping coming from the kids room. I went in and ther was Ryan jumping up and down.I asked him what he was doing ? He said putting the devil under my feet mawmaw.I asked him if it made him feel better. He said yes it did.praise the Lord.He didn't have any more night mares.Praise the Lord!! Please pray for my grandbabies.The devil seeks to tear apart christian homes one child at a time.Let us all go before the throne of God as His little children. Love in CHRIST Cathy