And they came to Jericho. And as Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside.47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. – Mark 10:46-52
Have you ever had to compete for someone’s attention? Perhaps you were a student who knew the answer, and you waved your hand so that the teacher would call on you. Maybe you needed to get a taxi and you waved down a cab. You might have been a suitor vying for the attention and affections of a lover. This is the first part of faith that avails before God for extraordinary attention.
Saving faith receives the gifts of God promised to all who believe: Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation. Such faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It can be active, reflective, and conscious, or passive, receptive and inherent – such as the faith in which we go to sleep at the end of the day.
Then there is this other kind of faith which moves us in prayer for God’s intervention in our lives, and seeks his help in times of trouble. It is active, purposeful, intentional, and urgent. This is the faith of the blind man in this encounter with Jesus and the crowd of people around him.
Not only does the man call out urgently and insistently: Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me! He is vying for Jesus’ attention, help, and intervention in his life. I notice also that he calls Jesus by name and by title. He realizes that Jesus of Nazareth is also David’s son – King and Savior. He will not be dissuaded.
Such faith is not necessary to salvation, but it does occasionally adorn saving faith. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Think of that next time you are seeking someone’s attention. Rejoice that Jesus does take note and promises to hear us when we call to him.