“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” Mark 10.46-52
This story is in all three of the synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke. Only Mark mentions the blind beggar by name, Bartimaeus.
Is this passage Jesus and his disciples arrive at Jericho. It’s been a long, hot journey. As they are leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which Mark tells us means “son of Timaeus”) was sitting by the road.
Bartimaeus is desperate. As so many in Scripture are, he “heard” because he could not see, that it was Jesus. So he begins to shout, and shout, and shout. Being blind, he couldn’t walk to Jesus. So Jesus had to come to him. But first, he had to get his attention. God tends to listen to those who cry out to him.
Yet as he was shouting people were rebuking him and telling him to be quiet. So what does desperate and blind Bartimaeus do? He shouts even louder. The people around him and who know him are embarrassed. What kind of impression will this leave on Jesus? Or maybe they wanted to be noticed rather than Bartimaeus.
And as Bartimaeus shouted, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped. Jesus knew. Jesus told his disciples to call the blind man to him and said, “Cheer up, on your feet! He’s calling you.”
Now Jesus calls to all of us whether we know it or not. What we do after we hear his call makes all the difference in the world. Maybe we ignore his call, turning a deaf ear to God. Or maybe we delay the call, thinking that perhaps tomorrow or next week will be a better time to come to Jesus. But not Bartimaeus, upon hearing that Jesus was calling to him he “threw his cloak aside, jumped up and came to Jesus.”
Don’t you just love his enthusiasm? Don’t you just love the passion? The shouting, the yelling, the persistence until Jesus takes notice. But in truth, Jesus took notice of Bartimaeus years ago, before his birth. Jesus took notice of him long before he met him face to face on that road from Jericho. Jesus knew one day they would meet and when they did, Bartimaeus’ life would be changed forever.
Well you know the rest of the story, Jesus asks the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus says, “Rabbi, I want to see.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
This is the kind of response Jesus wants from all of us. He wants to hear our cries for help, our reliance upon him and our desperation for redemption. Once he heals us, which takes only seconds, he wants us to follow him along the road of life.
Have you cried out to the Lord for help? Are you seeking his face? Searching for his heart? Why not call out to God today and get ready for the miracle he has in store for you.
“O Lord God, in these trouble times, we need your help. In these moments of uncertainly, you are our solid ground. Though this world has your imprint all over it, the rebellion of human sin has caused us to displace your grace. Come now, Holy Spirit, blow a fresh wind of your Spirit over me. Help me walk in truth and rely upon your love. Send your peace and comfort to this world that we might know your power, your might and your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen