The Power of Crying Out to God


“…a blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the road…When He heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’…” (Mark 10:47)

The Bible is full of references to people calling upon the name of the Lord.  Amazing deliverances, healings, and rescues are attributed to God as He responds to the cries of His needy people. 

Bartimaeus overcame the censorship of the crowd and cried out until he gained an audience with the King.  For Bartimaeus (and everyone else at that point in history), the process of getting into the immediate presence of Jesus wasn’t something you could do simply by going into your prayer closet and “closing” the door.  Jesus was in only one place at a time, and that for a limited time.  You had to go to where the action was.

Bartimaeus had to cry out to be heard above the crowd, above the agendas of those surrounding Jesus.  Today our crying out is not so much to be heard in the crowd but to overcome our own unbelief and self- centered control.  But we need to be careful lest we turn this biblical principle into yet another method of man trying to manipulate God.

The goal of Bartimaeus’ crying out was to gain access to Christ’s immediate presence.  This is really the issue.  We cry out to Him, we call upon His name, for the purpose of gaining a conscious awareness of His mercy and nearness.  This is what Bartimaeus appealed to:  “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me..”

Bartimaeus was not quoting a proof text or demanding that Jesus fulfill a specific promise.  He was appealing to Christ’s mercy and hoping to be ushered into Christ’s immediate presence.  Hallelujah.  This is where miracles happen.  I’ve studied the miracles of Jesus, and I’ve yet to note a single one that did not involve someone gaining an immediate audience with Jesus.  His presence came before He released the miracle. 

So what’s the significance?  Bartimaeus got into Christ’s presence by calling upon His name.  Once in the presence of the Lord, Bartimaeus was able to hear words from Christ’s lips!  Bartimaeus then responded accordingly.

Another man in the New Testament requested Christ’s intervention.  From prison, John the Baptist sent his disciples to the immediate presence of Christ.  John charged them to ask Jesus if He was truly the Messiah or should they expect someone else.  It is sad but kind of comforting to see even a great man of God like John having some major doubts.  John knew what the Old Testament said about the Messiah.  He knew his own role as the forerunner, the one called to prepare the way of the Lord.  There is no doubt he also knew by heart much of what the Bible predicted or promised about the Messiah.  And I believe that John was struggling because Jesus wasn’t meeting all of his immediate expectations.  Let me explain.

Jesus sent word back to John, saying, “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind recieve sight and the lame walk…the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matt 11:3-6)  In these words Jesus is sending back to John “biblical” proofs of His Messiahship.  There were many prophecies that proclaimed the Messiah’s miracle ministry.  Promises like Isaiah 42:7, “…to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”  Or like the very text Jesus read during His first sermon in Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners…” (Isa 61:1)

If you’re not blind or in prison, these specific promises regarding Messiah’s ministry might not catch your attention.  But its hard to imagine Bartimaeus and John missing these references! 

But here’s the difficulty.  Jesus fulfilled the promise to open blind eyes…for Bartimaeus.  But He did not fulfill the promise to free the prisoners…for John.  At least the promise was not fulfilled in John’s earthly life.  And Jesus sent word to John, “You will be blessed if you don’t take offense at Me when I fulfill these promises immediately for some and only in eternity for others” (my paraphrase).

Both men gained an audience with Jesus (Bartimaeus directly, John via his disciples) and both men heard words from Christ’s lips.  One got an immediate miracle.  One got an exhortation to endure without offense.  And so it is for us as well.  Crying out to Jesus, drawing near to God through Him, in a humble yet bold faith, gives us direct and immediate access to God.  In His presence we can expect Him to speak.  He will give us what we need.  Yes, we will be required to exercise the faith that comes through that encounter.  And by that faith we can live – or die!  Either will be glorious, because we will be doing it with Him.

 

Many Christians live their lives without radically drawing near to God, rarely sensing His voice with clarity.  Could the problem be that we are not crying out?  That we are not truly calling on His name?  That we are willing to live without regularly experiencing His presence?  Remember the awesome promise:

 

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord with be saved. (Romans 10:13)

Call on the name of Jesus.  Expect His merciful presence.  Draw near to God from your heart.  Jesus has opened the way through His blood at the Cross.  He’s waiting for you.  But be careful about loading the encounter down with lots of preconceived ideas.  Because God may or may not come the way you expected.  Listen to Him.  Respond to Him.  Believe Him.  But let God be God.

One thought on “The Power of Crying Out to God

  1. Daniel Lunsford says:

    I think the major difference between us and Bartimaeus is that he was seeking Jesus’ attention, whereas we already have the attention of our Heavenly Father. The scene of Mark 10 is not foreign to us today—we can easily see how celebrities are hounded for a mere comment or photo-op. The image of Bartimaeus crying out for a second of the Messiah’s time—just an ounce of healing power—shows how desperate he was to receive the love that was in store for him. Now I contrast that to Christians today. The tides have in fact turned. Now Jesus is the one desperately hoping we will turn to Him during the course of our day. Just the 30-seconds at dinnertime, the 5-minutes before bed… is that all He gets? We have literally unlimited access to the throne of God but barely use it! What would Bartimaeus have done with an hour alone with his Creator? Perhaps we just aren’t hurting enough. Perhaps we’ve allowed the world to numb us to His holiness, majesty, and glory. Maybe work, life, and complacency have become the Lord and Master of our lives. How do we restore that sense of urgency to earnestly seek God? What does it take for Jesus to get OUR attention? How loud does He have to yell before we turn our head?

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