At one point or another everyone has been shunned. Some are shunned for a season, but others are shunned all of their lives. Whole communities have reacted accordingly. Jewish families, around the world, changed their names and hid their identities to avoid persecution. African Americans are set on edge because they feel they may be attacked or taken advantage of at any moment due to their skin color. Small people feel they are looked down upon. Uneducated people feel they are not respected because they have no degrees behind their names. Poor folk feel overlooked because of their clothing, their old, beaten-up car, their house, or their social class. Those who are overweight or not so good looking are often pushed aside because their outward appearance is not attractive enough. One’s race, religion, or political ideology can cause people to be shunned. Even the blind, the deaf, and people with physical disabilities feel the demeaning stare of others. Without a doubt, the world is full of hatred, pride and bigotry. The Bible teaches something different. It says, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son.” Jn. 3:16. The Son of God came to select those who have been shunned.
Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Jericho and a large crowd of people was following them. By this time, in His ministry, Jesus had performed many miracles and had become famous. The rich and the influential wanted to be close to Him to see the miracles and gain the status of association with Him. The city was experiencing an economic blessing because Jesus was there. A crowd of thousands needed food, drink and other amenities. There was an excitement in the air. This was a great day for Jericho. Although many pressed in to be near Him, most had not learned to be like Him. They had not received His compassion for the disadvantaged. Everywhere Jesus went His message was always about two things: love God and love people, but most of the people had not received this impartation. As the crowd pressed forward, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, who heard that Jesus was passing by, yelled from the side of the road. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Mk. 10:48
Shunned by Religious Folk
Before this time Bartimaeus had been tolerated by the town’s folk. People had given him scraps and coins because he was a beggar and it was their religious duty to do so. Some, no doubt, felt sorry for him but, on this day, the blind man was shunned and rejected. He was insignificant in the eyes of the people. He was a nuisance and a bother and he was in the way.
When Bartimaeus started to cry out to Jesus for help, many people rebuked him. They yelled at him and told him to be quiet. They shunned him because of his disability but, praise God, their rejection only made him shout louder.
Above the roar of the crowd, Jesus heard the cry of the desperate beggar. He stopped the parade and told the people to bring the blind man to Him. Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside, jumped to his feet and made his way to Jesus. The shunned was about to be selected.
Bartimaeus Was Selected
Jericho was a cursed city. It was, and still is, the lowest city in the world. It was a high traffic city because of its location. Most travelers going to Jerusalem from the east or the north had to go through Jericho. It was also a dark, sinful place with a sin-seeking disposition. Of all the people in this city that Jesus might have selected for extra special treatment, He chooses the hated tax collector, Zacchaeus and the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. They were shunned but Jesus chose them. He always does this; He selects the rejected. He chose the leper, the demon-possessed of the Gadarenes, the prostitute of Samaria, the cripple at Bethesda and now the blind beggar. The proud he sends empty away but the humble, the wounded, and the hungry, He heals and exalts. They may be rich or poor, black or white, it doesn’t matter to Jesus. He loves to choose the disadvantaged if they are humble and hungry.
When Bartimaeus came to Him, Jesus asked him what he wanted. The blind man said , “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Jesus said, “Go, your faith has made you whole.”
The man was healed; He could see and he became a follower of Jesus.
What Did Bartimaeus Become?
In an instant, the blind man became a living testimony. He went from being disadvantaged to advantaged. From then on people wanted to be with Bartimaeus to hear his amazing story. The key for all of us is to be humble and hungry for more of God. Then, no matter our disposition, He brings life. He is not impressed by our riches or status. He has all provision and power so our personal gains are secondary.
Blind Bartimaeus, was not blind after Jesus selected him. Now he had proven faith. He was thankful and now he was ready to serve the Lord. He followed Jesus in the crowd but he was not like the others. He had been selected. No doubt, he became a powerful minister of the gospel. He became a co-worker with Jesus. It was men like Bartimaeus who turned the ancient world upside down with the gospel.
Victims or Victors
If you fight rejection with retaliation you are not doing it God’s way. Then your problem will only get worse. If you intensify the fact that you are a victim and focus on being shunned, you will likely end up with more frozen anger. This means you could lose your joy and also the real call of God for your life. You may be a survivor but that can still leave you depressed. That is not God’s intention for you. You are called to greatness, to grow in favor with God and man. You need to be selected.
This is not difficult. Jesus looks for people to select. In Jericho, He selected a blind beggar and a traitor, tax collector. That means your story is likely not so bad. He can select you.
You have been called to be a victor and not a victim, so walk in the ways of the Lord. In this world you will have tribulation but Jesus says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33
Some may like the status of victimhood. In this political climate, in the USA, some may like the attention of being shunned. Self pity and justifiable anger can be soothing for beaten down people, but not for disciples of Christ.
What Really Matters
It doesn’t really matter what people think of you, but it does matter what God thinks of you. If you meet God’s criteria He selects you and then He blesses you. Walk with the Lord and He will protect you, promote you, and provide for you. That is His promise. He will give you your dignity.
Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose (selected) you and appointed you to go and bear fruit– fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Jn. 15:16
When God selects us, it is for the purpose of ministry. All of us are called to serve the Lord as ministers.. So many have been shunned by society but in Christ everyone is exalted if they follow the steps to being selected.
Will you minister to those who are shunned? Then say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me so I will preach good news to the poor. Jesus has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” People are shunned but they can be selected. Help them move into the amazing blessing that God has chosen for them.