Jesus Is Not Ashamed of Those Who Are Overlooked: The Story of Bartimaeus

Feeling Small

It's not hard to feel overlooked, right? You walk down the street, walk by people, and nobody looks you in the eye. They just glance and go right by. In a crowd, you can feel like no one even knows who you are. Outside of friends and family, maybe coworkers or associates, not many people really know who we are.

In a world this big, we can kind of just blend in and it just makes us feel, in many ways, insignificant. And then at the same time, you have a cultural narrative that's pushing beauty, money, success, and honor. We might think, How could I ever do this? I mean, no one really knows who I am. That can be discouraging and it can even hold you back and make you have the Ecclesiastes mentality of, Is this even worth it? What's the point?

He Is Not Ashamed

Erik Raymond

In He Is Not Ashamed, Erik Raymond takes a close look at the “family portrait” of God—filled with imperfect people throughout Scripture—and shows that God is not repelled by their shameful past, but delights to redeem and receive those who believe in him.

Upside Down Kingdom

What's so interesting about Jesus is that when he comes, he's the King of Kings. And you would think that maybe a king would be drawn to people that are so influential and full of honor and wealth and success, but Jesus doesn't need any of that. And it's actually the people who fade into the background that capture his gaze.

One story where you see that in particular is a story of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. Jesus is walking to go to Jericho, and he is on his way to die for the sins of the world. And he's got a crowd of people around him that are listening to him teach and following him. It's very noisy.

As was custom, there's this beggar sitting on the side of the road. And he's blind. And he hears the crowd coming and he thinks that maybe this is the Jesus of whom he's heard. So he begins calling out, asking for Jesus. He’s crying and yelling.

Since he's lame and he can't see, his voice becomes his arms and his legs, and he’s calling out to Jesus and running towards him, so to speak. And then the crowd, in trying to quiet him down says, Just be quiet. Basically, in our language they say, Shut up, be quiet. You don't know what you're doing here. He can't be bothered by you.

Jesus Dignifies Us

But then—it's fascinating—in Mark's Gospel, he tells us that Jesus stopped. So now you have this blind beggar on the side of the road that everybody is trying to hush. Jesus stops and calls him to himself. So this man jumps up and leaves his stuff and comes to Jesus. And Jesus dignifies the blind beggar who was marginalized on the side of the road. He looks him in the eye and asks what he could do for him. And then he heals him and restores him.

The one who needs nothing welcomes people like you and me.

That blind beggar ends up going out with the crowd. The one who was on the side of the road is in the throng with Jesus, walking away. The insignificant one is now a part of Jesus, his crew, his people.

That's the way it is for people like you and me. We're insignificant in so many ways. We're just ordinary people. And nobody's going to really remember us in three or four generations. But Jesus calls us to be a part of his family. He welcomes people like us who blend in, who feel overlooked. Jesus sees us and welcomes us to himself. The one who needs nothing welcomes people like you and me. That's great news.

Erik Raymond is the author of He Is Not Ashamed: The Staggering Love of Christ for His People.

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