- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

These are excerpts from a recent sermon preached by the Rev. Leonard N. Smith at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arlington.

Our biblical episode today is focused on Mark’s recall of the events leading up to the time of entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It is the story of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus is in a pitiable predicament. He sat by the road, begging. As a result of his blindness, high-class people wouldn’t accept him and low-class folk wouldn’t fool with him. He was a strapped, sightless soul who depended on sympathizers to finance his cost-of-living expenses. There were no SSI payments, as Social Security didn’t exist.

He was also stationary, by the side of the road. This brother was motionless; he couldn’t move. He’s a picture of the individual that’s not fully able to receive what Christ has totally offered. If you look at many of our lives, we receive Christ, but we’re still motionless and bound. Bound by old habits, stuff we want to let go of but which won’t let go of us. There’s some stuff you want to release, but it doesn’t want to release you. But God has got a way of breaking all that stuff up.

He was also a professional beggar. Because there was no ADA laws in place, it was impossible for him to make a living. Every day he sat by the interstate, soliciting others in his quest to survive. When you’re trying to survive, you’ll do almost anything. What a miserable life that must have been, not because he wanted to, but because he had to.

Bartimaeus’ strength was in his personal persistence. Regardless of how bad your situation is, God has blessed you with some strength. Don’t be always crying the blues and looking at what you don’t have because God has given everybody something. God gives everybody something and nobody everything.

Bartimaeus wasn’t stupid. At least he knew who Jesus was. It’s one thing to know His name, but you’ve got to know who He is. And you don’t know Him unless you live with Him and have spent some time with Him. If someone’s been in contact with Jesus, they can’t help but share with someone else. Even if you don’t say anything, you’ll walk like you’ve been with Him.

Somehow, Bartimaeus said to himself, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I couldn’t get to Him, but now He’s coming to me.” The thing I’ve learned about the Lord, He will always show up where you are. Many people here didn’t get saved in the church. Some people here got saved on the dance floor. You were out there shaking, shaking, and all of a sudden, it didn’t feel right no more.

This guy shouted, he screamed in a loud voice, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” He called Him by His human name, Jesus, then His royal name, Son of David, and then made his request: “Have mercy on me.”

When you move from Jesus’ humanity to His divinity, you move to a new realm. You really need to know Him for the deity He really is.

It must have been a strange sight, to see a blind man screaming. Everyone was looking at him. Men don’t generally scream. We’re too cool for that.

But this man was determined. The crowd scolded him but instead of shutting up, he got louder. You have to have strength enough not to allow situations, circumstances or people stop you from what you’ve got to do. The reason why a whole lot of us are not where we could be is because we’ve allowed ourselves to be stifled by the scolding of other folk.

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