The story of Jesus healing Bartimaeus of his blindness is found in Mark 10:46-52 (NIV): 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.
This story starts out with Jesus, the disciples, and a large crowd leaving the city of Jericho after a visit. Yes, this is the same Jericho referenced in the Old Testament. The city that was destroyed when “the walls came tumbling down” during the time of Joshua after the Israelites entered the Promised Land (Joshua 6). The city was rebuilt during the time of Ahab and Jezebel centuries later (I Kings 16).
As Jesus and the crowds are leaving Jericho, a blind man, Bartimaeus, is begging along the side of the road. When Bartimaeus hears it is Jesus of Nazareth passing by, the scriptures say he begins to shout “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The people start telling him to be quiet and criticize him for bothering Jesus. But with this, Bartimaeus gets even more determined and shouts louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus hears him, stops, and asks the crowds to “Call him”. So Bartimaeus jumps to his feet and comes to Jesus. Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus says, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus responds to his request saying, “Go, your faith has healed you.” Then the story concludes that Bartimaeus immediately receives his sight and follows Jesus along the road.
So how did Bartimaeus demonstrate his faith to Jesus that ultimately healed him? Well notice what Bartimaeus calls Jesus when he shouts at him – “Son of David.” What does “Son of David” mean? Wasn’t Jesus God’s son? From an earthly standpoint, wasn’t Jesus Joseph’s son? How could Jesus be the Son of David if David lived 1,000 years earlier? The answer is that this reference refers to the fact that the Messiah would be the descendant/ offspring of David as prophesied in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 7). In Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus shows Jesus came from the lineage of David (28 generations later). When Bartimaeus refers to Jesus as the Son of David, he is confirming his faith in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah and Deliverer, the fulfillment of the scriptures. Although Bartimaeus could not visibly see Jesus, he was able to see by faith and recognize who Jesus really was this day as he passed by. Many others in the crowd could visibly see Jesus, yet they were unable to recognize him as the promised Messiah.
And 2,000 years after Jesus walked the earth, many in our culture today still do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. Many are “blinded” by their sin and do not see the need for a Savior to deliver them and give them their sight. Bartimaeus knows Jesus is the one person that has the power to give him his sight and the one person that can forgive his sins. When he shouts to the Son of David, he knows Jesus is his one and only hope. That is why no matter how much the crowds tell him to stop yelling to Jesus, Bartimaeus refuses to listen. He only shouts louder. He does not want to miss Jesus. Jesus eventually hears him, decides to give Bartimaeus his sight, and says, “your faith has healed you.” Once Bartimaeus receives his sight, the scriptures say he immediately follows Jesus. No time to wander around and visibly take in the beauty of God’s creation for the first time in his life, but Bartimaeus immediately follows Jesus. God is waiting and eager to give sight to sinners (blinded by their sins) that come to Him in faith today like Bartimaeus. Those sinners who admit and recognize their sins, who believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and who confess Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
Faith Gauge Questions:
Do you have the level of faith of Bartimaeus? Do you recognize Jesus as your only hope to heal your “sin” blindness?
Do you recognize Jesus as the “Son of David”, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies?
Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear them – please leave a reply here or email me at email@example.com. Thanks.