BRIEF INTRO: As we enter the last section of chapter ten, we read about the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus. This serves as another transitional passage in Mark’s gospel. “In the conclusion of this section, the renewed sight of Bartimeaus, a man who recognizes the identity of Jesus and follows Him in the way, stands in contrast to the ongoing difficulty of the disciples, who struggle to see clearly what it means to follow Jesus.”
This account also points us to and builds the bridge for Christ’s “triumphal entry” in the next chapter, as Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus using the title “Son of David” (vv. 47-48)! In that account, the “crowd takes up the perspective of Bartimeaus, calling out their blessings toward Jesus and the coming kingdom of David” (11:9-10).
46 Then they *came to Jericho. And later, as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a beggar who was blind named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 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!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they *called the man who was blind, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And replying to him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man who was blind said to Him, “[a]Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has [b]made you well.”And immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the
FOCUS ONE: What do we learn about Jesus?
The first thing we learn about Jesus in this account is that He is the king who hears! As Jesus, the disciples, and “a great multitude” of people were going out from Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. As the roar of the crowd became louder and the air of excitement intensified, it became clear to Bartimeaus that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by.
At once, He begins to “cry out” to Him. In other words, He starts shouting, as loud as he can, to Jesus. He uses the term “Son of David” in his plea for help. This term for Jesus is a “messianic title.” When the people referred to Jesus in this way, they meant that He was the long-awaited deliver or messiah, who was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Sadly, many people in the crowd rebuked the blind man. Why wouldn’t they want Jesus to hear him? Why wouldn’t they want to see Jesus heal this man? Perhaps they were caught up in the “crowd mentality,” a mindset focused on one thing, their long-awaited deliver coming to deliver them from Roman rule, thereby restoring the kingdom and reclaiming political power back to the Jewish people. But their rebuke does not stop Bartimeaus, not at all. Their repeated attempts to silence him met with his repeated cries for help (v. 48).
We also learn that Jesus is the king who sees the faith of the needy (v.51). Jesus stops, calls him over to Himself, “and casting off his cloak, he jumped up, and came to Jesus” (v.50).
50 And throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And replying to him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man who was blind said to Him, “[a]Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
FOCUS TWO: What do we learn about a life of faith?
The beggar’s hope is rightly placed: People of faith set their hope on Jesus, our king (vv.47-48, 50). Nobody else could have healed this man from his physical dilemma, and nobody else can heal us from our spiritual sickness! Bartimeaus was exhorted to have courage and go to meet Jesus (v. 49). Instantly, he jumped up and went to Jesus.
Bartimeaus exhibits the type of faith each of us should have. A trust that “jumps” at the opportunity to go to Jesus for anything and everything we need because we believe wholeheartedly that He is willing and able to meet those needs. Confidence that He hears and sees us and wants a close, personal relationship with us. Why? Because He loves us!
52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has [b]made you well.”And immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
FOCUS THREE: What do we learn about our response to Jesus?
The way Bartimaeus responded to Jesus is a beautiful picture of how all those who believe in Him should react. People of faith follow Jesus out of gratitude for His grace (v.52). Mark tells us that after Jesus healed him, Bartimaeus “began following Him on the road” (v. 52).
“Mark undoubtedly portrays the healed blind man in a literal sense as walking behind Jesus and heading with Him toward Jerusalem. However, the verb ἀκολουθέω can also have a “metaphorical” sense in Mark to indicate someone’s personal allegiance to Jesus and His teaching. This metaphorical meaning for ἀκολουθέω occurs whenever Mark refers to individuals following Jesus (1:18; 2:14; 8:34; 10:21,28; 10:52;14:54; 15:41). Therefore Mark’s point seems to be that Bartimaeus became a follower of Jesus.”
Bartimaeus responded rightly to Jesus, as many of you have reading this post. His response was immediate and led him to follow Christ. By “following Jesus,” I mean we witness a changed man! Not only physically because of the healing, but more importantly, spiritually, as Jesus granted him faith to believe!
He was willing to leave everything behind to walk in obedient faith to his Lord. He immediately began the journey on his new path in life that was prepared for by God! A journey now filled with hope, not despair; faith rather than fear.
Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament, pg. 181-184
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