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Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger wanted to play football for Notre Dame. He wanted this more than anything, but there were too many reasons why it wasn’t going to happen. His high school grades were low, the tuition too high, he was too short, and weighed next to nothing. Not to be deterred he applied, and was rejected. Three more times he applied and on the fourth try was accepted to Notre Dame. The football coach accepted “walk-ons,” but with no promises and essentially indicated Rudy would never have field time.
Rudy was placed on the practice squad, the team that never sees a game day. They’re only used to toughen up the “real” players. But Rudy never tired of trying. Knocked down, tackled, pushed, shoved, piled on, he’d get up again and again. Eventually he earned the respect of his teammates if only for tenacity. They knew he didn’t have a shot on the field for a game, but his persistence brought at least admiration. The day of the last game of the season, the entire squad requested the coach put Rudy in. It was the final play of the game, and pressured by the team, the coach put Rudy in. He sacked the quarterback securing a win for Notre Dame and was carried off the field in triumph.
He wanted to see Jesus. But as a blind man, he was limited.
Bartimaeus has a story a bit like Rudy’s. He wanted to see Jesus. But as a blind man, he was limited. When you can’t see where you’re going, it’s hard to follow and find what or who you’re looking for. But Bartimaeus decided to do his own version of a “walk-on” by positioning himself on the sidelines. He sat by the Jericho road as throngs of people made their way to Jerusalem for Passover. And he waited to see whether the Coach would call.
He felt the rhythm of a group walking together; he heard the quiet respect of the crowd; he sensed the anticipation of the throng. What was happening? Jesus was coming! That was his cue. He began to cry out persistently, loudly, and repeatedly. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” His cries filled the air—loud and jarring and tireless. The crowd attempted to quiet him, but he was determined. And then Jesus called him. Bartimaeus found himself on the field for the biggest play of his life.
Bartimaeus found himself on the field for the biggest play of his life.
Perhaps we’ve all had something we really wanted and pursued relentlessly until we achieved it, but how many of us do it for an encounter with Jesus? Rudy could have accepted his small stature, lack of funds, and low grades and missed his one real game. Bartimaeus could have been excused because of his blindness. We, too, can have a myriad of reasons why watching Jesus from the sidelines is all He asks of us. But when we do, we miss the full-on encounter He’s waiting to give. Go for it! Shout to Him from the sidelines! Call to Him, and when He responds, be renewed.
Book Two of the Renew series offers short, meaningful devotions that cover the life of David to the early years of Jesus’ ministry—just a few minutes to read, offering a new perspective of Scripture. Take a moment each week and be renewed.
- Short devotions
- Deeper understanding in just a few minutes
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A perfect gift for mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, or grandpa! A must read that will make the Bible come alive.
The story of Bartimaeus is found in the three synoptic Gospels. While they don’t particularly agree on how many men (one or two) or whether Jesus was on the road to Jericho or from Jericho, the way that Bartimaeus attempted to get Jesus’ attention is the same. He cries out with a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of David . . .” (Mark 10:48). This is important in understanding what Bartimaeus believed about Jesus. In essence, he was calling Him out as Messiah, because it was the Son of David who would ultimately take the throne of Israel.
This would also have been of value for Jesus to hear as Jesus was now on His final walk. The road to Jericho led to Jerusalem where He and His disciples would arrive in time for Passover. It was there that Jesus would ultimately give His life for all. We are now within days of the Triumphal Entry, Gethsemane, and the cross.
Making it Real
Jesus asks Bartimaeus what seems like an obvious question: “What would you like Me to do?” Bartimaeus’ response, “I want to see.” Two questions to ponder this week:
- If Jesus walked up to you today and asked, “What would you like Me to do?” What would be your response? (Hint: the answer to this question isn’t as easy as it might appear.)
- How is Bartimaeus’ response, “I want to see,” perhaps the answer for all of us?
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, who’s delighting everyone with her smiles. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.