They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.I wonder how many pewsitters listened to a sermon today that focused on how Jesus opens the eyes of those who are spiritually blind, or those who are blind to the poor or the needy instead of the simple facts of this Gospel message. Let me break it down,
Bartimaeus son of TimaeusHere we have a person who was healed by Jesus identified by name and family. This is not typically done in the Gospels. I can think of just three others, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Peter's Mother-in-law. The fact that the Gospel writer and his church knew the formerly blind beggar's name would indicate that this was a verifiable story and not a fable, a story that could be checked out by those familiar with the man or his family. That is not what one would want to happen if this were a fabrication or a parlor trick.
‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’Mark's Gospel lacks the genealogies of Luke or Matthew with the exception of the testimony of Bartimaeus. The blind beggar loudly proclaims Jesus to be the Son of David.
Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’Jesus did not go directly to Bartimaeus, instead he had others transmit the message of his call. Maybe there is a message for us today in this simple fact.
Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’Unlike last week's story of James and John, the sons of Zebedee who tried to demand their wants be satisfied, here Jesus creates an opening for any kind of request.
The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’Bartimaeus was not born blind. He once had sight but lost it. What disease or accident caused his blindness we will never know. Doubters might opine that he had psychogenic blindness, but we now know this to be a very rare condition. In Jesus time, blindness due to disease or trauma would have been far more likely.
Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’His faith in Jesus made him well. No laying on of hands by Jesus, no prayer to the Father, just Bartimaeus, Jesus, and faith. How many of us who wore glasses as children prayed to awaken with 20/20 vision only to be disappointed in the morning by opening our eyes to a blurry world?
Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.Unlike many Jesus healed (like nine of ten lepers), Bartimaeus followed Jesus. This may be why his story recalls him by name.
It is a simple, short story of a miraculous physical healing. A story that needs no meanderings into other types of blindness to engage the pewsitters. We need to focus on the undeniable fact that the God who created the universe can do these things, and He did when he came to us as Jesus.