This past Sunday at Lincoln Baptist Pastor Steve asked us “What is your greatest desire?” Howard Hughes was presented as an example of a man who, by reason of his great wealth, could fulfil virtually any desire he might have, yet ended his life in emptiness. The glitter of his own glory had blinded him to the glory of God.
Bartimaeus, on the other hand, was a blind beggar who, by reason of his great need, could see he required a power outside himself to intervene. The darkness of his inner world had turned him to “the true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9) He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)
Like Hughes, Bartimaeus also is now dead. Like Hughes, naked he came, naked he left. Death is always the great equalizer.
But Bartimaeus received something Hughes could never buy. He reported his “greatest desire” to Christ, received physical and spiritual sight, then followed in the footsteps of his Saviour.
Days earlier Jesus’ disciples had asked Him, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” (Matt. 13:10). Jesus’ answer was itself part parable. Here’s what He said,
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matt. 13:11-15)
Jesus taught in parables In order to weed out the curious from those whose “greatest desire” was spiritual understanding – sight and insight are granted only to those who know they are blind, and whose greatest desire is not to be seen, but to see.
To such as these Jesus adds, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (v.16,17)
What is your greatest desire?