“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. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” Mark 10:46-52
The location of this miracle is interesting in the fact that it takes place on the Jericho road. However, while the story of the Good Samaritan depicts the beaten and left for dead man as going towards Jericho this incident depicts Jesus travelling towards Jerusalem. The large crowd that is mentioned in the story is probably pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem for the Passover. In the story of the Good Samaritan we encounter Jesus the healer and restorer of the broken that life has passed by. In the healing of Bartimaeus we have the last healing miracle recorded in Mark.
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to become the great substitutionary sacrifice for mankind and all people will need their eyes opened just like Bartimaeus if we are to understand the meaning of the cross.
So many amazing things are going on in this story it is difficult to fit them all into one short post. First of all we should notice what happens to a person who encounters Jesus. Bartimaeus is sitting on the side of the road, blind, hopeless and begging for coins. When he heard Jesus was passing by he began to shout, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” When Jesus responded to his pleas by having His disciples call the man over to Him, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. After the healing we find the man following Jesus to Jerusalem.
In these few actions we are given an insight into the wonderful saving grace of God. Regardless of our hopelessness we can call out to Jesus and He hears. Jesus calls us to Him and when we come to Him we are not disappointed. The great healing for Bartimaeus was not his physical sight restored but his spiritual sight opened up that he could follow Jesus. His ability to see Jesus and follow Him was in exact contrast with the religious officials who never would open their eyes to the glory of God.
The next thing we should notice in this story is that Jesus has time for us all. Here Jesus is marching towards Jerusalem and His destiny with death. So many things must have been on His mind and yet out of the crowd that surrounded Him He heard the voice of blind Bartimaeus crying out to Him. I take comfort in this verse because it constantly reminds me that Jesus hears us through the din, confusion and noise of our world. He can feel the touch on the hem of His robe when pressed on all sides by a mob, and He can hear the call of a sincere heart through the agony and pain of their discouragement and sorrow.
I love the disciple’s words of encouragement to the man, “ Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” They seemed to know something wonderful was about to happen and they encouraged the man with their words. When we face pain and difficult decisions in our lives we need to remember that God calls us to cheer up, rise and come to Him for support and comfort. When we see our brothers and sisters hurting we need to remember that we have been called to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus on this earth. It might feel awkward to us to try and comfort someone who has great loss and sorrow in their lives, but our words of encouragement might be a great source of strength to the person.
The last point revolves around Jesus’ simple question to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Have you ever thought about that in your own life? Many of us call ourselves followers of Jesus, but have we ever sat down and thought it out – what we really want from our relationship with God? Forget about Heaven and eternal life for a moment, but instead, ask yourself what you want out of your relationship with Christ in the here and now. Do you long for broken relationships to be healed? Or perhaps you long for a family member’s problems to be resolved and spiritual healing to take place in their life. For some of us, we may long for a deeper and more serious relationship with God, while for others, it might be a need for physical obstacles to be removed. Whether our needs are financial, a new job, a healed relationship, a new start in life or a spiritual renewal, we should be clear what it is that we would love God to accomplish in us and through us, as well as for us. When we can answer Jesus question, “What do you want me to do for you?” we need to make that the focus of our prayer life.
Jesus makes it clear throughout Scripture that we are to ask, and the reason that so many of us are unhappy in our walk with God is because we never ask. We feel shy about seeking God’s help in secular matters that revolve around finances or personal problems. Somehow, we believe that to seek God’s help in the “mundane” is unspiritual or presumptuous. Just remember, if Bartimaeus had answered Jesus question with “I don’t know” or “I don’t want to bother you”, or “nothing really”, he would never have experienced the glory of amazing grace.
Instead Bartimaeus made it clear, “Rabbi, I want to see.” He didn’t stumble around Jesus’ question or try to frame his answer in spiritual language, instead, he just came right out and presented an honest answer to the question. And notice Jesus response to the man’s honesty. “Go, your faith has healed you.”
Do you believe that when we come to Christ with an honest heart that healing takes place within our lives? We don’t all receive physical healing right now, but we will receive physical healing in the Kingdom of Heaven. We can be assured that we will receive spiritual healing and the assurance of eternal life. What exciting words to hear from the mouth of Jesus, “Go, your faith has healed you”.
Regardless of the circumstances we face, you and I can be assured that when we call out to God, He hears. But He more than hears. His nail pierced hands guarantee that our deepest desires and hopes are of His greatest concern and He will hear our prayers and bring us comfort and assurance. None can be lost when we put our hand in the hand of the man who hung on Calvary’s tree for you and me.