For Bartimaeus, that day had begun like every other day. The blind man had been led down to his spot beside the Jericho road, sitting in the dirt and the dust and crying out for alms to passersby whom he could not see, most of whom intentionally tried not to see him. Few of them knew his name and fewer still had pity on him. After all, why should they be concerned about a blind beggar sitting by the road? Yes, it seemed like this would be another ordinary day.
But something was different about that day, for down the road coming out from Jericho was a large crowd, all apparently following the Man who was walking on ahead of them. The crowd was talking excitedly among themselves, as crowds do, but they were also listening intently to the words being spoken by the Teacher, the Rabbi who was leading the crowd.
Large crowds were not common on that road out of Jericho, so Bartimaeus asked about the Rabbi. Who is He?
And 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
It would be difficult to find a less significant person in all of Israel than this blind beggar in the dust of the Jericho road, whose lot in life was to cry out for alms. And it would be impossible to find a more significant Person in all of human history than Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of God sent from heaven “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).” And at this moment, this most significant of men was fixed on accomplishing the most significant work in human history as He aimed for Jerusalem and His appointment with a cross.
Nevertheless, blind Bartimaeus “kept crying out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” – Mark 10:48
Could Jesus even hear the blind beggar’s cry above the din of the crowd? And even if He could, would He pay any attention? Why would He pay any attention? But Jesus does hear the beggar’s cry.
And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” – Mark 10:49
Jesus interrupts His journey to Jerusalem and His mission of dying as a sacrifice for sin to call a dirty, blind beggar to Himself. What manner of Man is this (Matthew 8:27)? Bartimaeus “jumped up and came to Jesus (10:50),” and then the Son of God gave Bartimaeus a blank check.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” – Mark 10:51
Jesus put no limitations on what could be requested, because there are no limitations on what He can supply. In essence, Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “Ask Me according to your faith.” Then, as an act of pure faith,
the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight! – Mark 10:51
As only Jesus could do, He gave the blind beggar sight, then continued on His way to the cross with a new disciple following behind Him.
THE MESSAGE OF BARTIMAEUS
Why is this story of Bartimaeus in our Bible? It is here because all of us are born into this world as insignificant blind beggars, and we figuratively sit in the dust beside the road begging for mercy from passersby. Like blind Bartimaeus, we cannot change our situation or fix ourselves. Every day is basically the same as the last one, and we wait for someone or something that can give us hope of change.
Like Bartimaeus, we are waiting for Jesus the Nazarene. We are waiting for someone to tell us about Jesus, Son of David, who can give sight to the spiritually blind and who can give life to the spiritually dead. We are waiting for Jesus, the Man with divine power, to have mercy on us, to call us to Himself, and to allow us to follow Him forever.
For all those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, you, like Bartimaeus, have a “that day” when you met Jesus. On “that day,” when the Lord Jesus came near, you cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And on “that day,” Jesus heard your cry and stopped and said, “Call them here.” When you realized that He was calling for you, yes, for YOU, you threw aside your cloak, and jumped up and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to you, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
“Lord, save me! Forgive me of my sins! Make me one of Your disciples. Let me walk with You.”
Then Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you.”
So, that is one reason why this story of Bartimaeus is in our Bible. It gives a picture of who we are as fallen, sinful humans and how we can come to Jesus and be saved.
SDG rmb 4/8/2021