“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:48)
When Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting beside the road outside of Jericho learned that Jesus was passing by, he began to shout. He was seeking to ask Jesus to heal him of his blindness. Mark tells us that the crowd that was following Jesus rebuked Bartimaeus and told him to be quiet, but he disregarded the crowd and shouted all the more.
Jesus rewarded his perseverance, restored his sight and said, “Your faith has healed you.”
Like Bartimaeus, we too, may experience the crowd in rebuking us and telling us to keep silent in our quest for Jesus.
It is tempting to go with the flow of the crowd and do what is popular or easy, but the crowd is usually wrong. It was the crowd that yelled, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Mt. 27:22-23) It was the crowd in the Roman Colosseum that took delight in the persecution of Christians in the early centuries of the church.
Sometimes the crowd is a work environment demanding us to be available 24/7 to the detriment of family and other important responsibilities. Sometimes the crowd is the government when it attempts to force a baker to conduct his business in a manner contrary to his Christian beliefs and values. The crowd may be a college professor ridiculing a student who is Christian for his or her belief in God. The crowd could even be a parent discouraging a child to pursue a call to ministry or a less lucrative career in the service to others.
Sometimes the crowd is us, in our own inclination to sinful conduct that becomes an obstacle to our pursuit of God and fulfilling his will in our lives. Having a tendency to always want to be in control of my schedule, I sometimes let my list of things to do to get in the way of dealing with the unexpected or what God would like me to do.
A number of years ago, I had a friend who had terminal cancer. I had visited him both in his home and at the hospital. One afternoon I received a call at my office that his situation had worsened. I delayed going to see him in order to finish an item on my list for that day. I thought just a couple of hours wouldn’t matter. He died before I got to see him one last time. The crowd in this case was my will taking precedence over God’s will for me that afternoon.
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Co. 13:7)