Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Bartimaeus had reached a point of weariness with his affliction, blindness, so when Jesus was near, he called to Him, his voice carrying above the excited din of the crowd as they saw Jesus approaching.
In his cry, Bartimaeus gives the designation of recognition of Jesus as the Messiah as ” Son of David,” and pleads for mercy.
Why mercy? Isn’t that something granted to the sinful? How would a blind man, begging alms, be sinful? We can only guess that Bartimaeus cursed his lot in life, and blamed God, and was angry at being treated as human refuse for depending on the patronizing, pitying kindness of strangers.
In his state, the people nearest him tell him to be quiet; he is a poor, blind beggar, and Jesus is a King, so they marked him as unworthy to be in Jesus’ presence by those who probably either ignored him everyday, or mocked him as they gave of their surplus.
Continuing to place his faith in Jesus, obeying the prompting of the Spirit within him, he cried out all the more. In his weariness with his affliction, he saw an opportunity to be free of it, and in his acknowledging of Jesus as Messiah, the faith in his cry for mercy caused Jesus to stop, and command Bartimaeus to approach.
The fickle crowd who at first told him to shut up, now tells him to cheer up, and to rise and go forward. Though none offer to help him stand, Jesus’ command also removes the human barrier of doubt, so neither will they hinder his way.
As Matthew left all, and Lazarus was loosed from his burial shroud, and the bedridden man lowered through the ceiling rose to carry his bed outside to throw it away, Bartimaeus throws aside the garment that marked him as an afflicted pauper, worthy of little more than pitied contempt and whispered judgement as to the nature of his sins, and stands before Jesus.
He answers Jesus’ question (though He knew what the man wanted; he wanted him to say it, to proclaim that he wished to be healed, and free), and says he wants to receive his sight.
Immediately, with no touching from Jesus, with no mud-making, with nothing more than the power of His Word, Jesus heals him through his conduit of faith, and tells him so:
“Go your way, your faith has made you well.”
We read that Bartimaeus did not go his way, but followed Jesus down the road, no doubt giving thanks and praise and glory to the Father.
Therefore I pray:
Lord Jesus, You admonish us to ask, seek and knock. These are not only acts of faith, but of persistence, of effort with a goal in mind of building our faith to have our prayer answered.
Help me to understand, Lord, that as I persist in my petitions to You they will not be granted without these two things:
- faith in You, and the promise that You said all things are possible through the Father,
2. being in Your presence, for You said apart from You I can do nothing, nor can You work in me if I possess a sullied spirit and a skeptical mind.
Help me to listen to the still, small voice when the devil’s hordes are shouting for me to be quiet, to sit down, to trouble the Master no longer, for my prayers are stillborn in my mouth.
I thank You that in Your presence, we leave the garments of our afflictions in the dirt, no longer begging for strangers’ alms, but sitting at the King’s table, partaking of the bounty of Your mercy on us, and the goodness of your grace towards us.
Let me cry out to You all the more, Son of David, that You may say to me:
“Your faith has made you well.”