Mark 10:46-52 46 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Bartimaeus is a blind man; he was born with this condition. Blindness was a common condition in Bible times, because of various diseases and sanitary conditions.
According to The Holman Bible Dictionary, “Physical blindness in the biblical period was very common. The suffering of the blind person was made worse by the common belief that the affliction was due to sin (John 9:1-3 )”.
“Because of their severe handicap, blind persons had little opportunity to earn a living. A blind man was even ineligible to become a priest (Leviticus 21:18 ). Frequently, the blind became beggars (Mark 10:46 )”.
The Holman Bible Dictionary further says: “Jesus frequently healed blind persons (Matthew 9:27-31; Matthew 12:22; Matthew 20:30-34; Mark 10:46-52; John 9:1-7 ). Perhaps there is no greater evidence of His compassion and power than that seen in His willingness and ability to heal those who lived in darkness and hopelessness”.
Due to his physical condition Bartimaeus was unable, or, rather, prevented from finding and performing a job in order to earn a living. During those days, there are no welfare programs or charitable institutions who could assist him. He was totally dependent upon the generosity of others in order to survive on a daily basis. It was a pitiful and wretched condition for him.
Let’s pause for a moment. In this condition, Bartimaeus is an example of every human being who has no relationship with God. First of all, the Word of God says that Jesus is “the light of light” and whoever follows Him will no longer walk in the darkness (John 8:12).
The Holman Bible Dictionary continues, “The Bible addresses spiritual blindness as the great human problem. The problem is that the spiritually blind do not know they are blind (Revelation 3:17 ). They are blinded by the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ). They walk in darkness, eventually being blinded by the moral darkness of hatred (1 John 2:11 ).”
And like Bartimaeus, the lost person is spiritually blind. They are blind to their real condition, to their sin and to their impending eternal doom on Judgment Day. In fact, only God can open their eyes to enable them to see the light of the gospel. What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news of salvation – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1Corinthians 15:1-4). This is the core tenet of Christianity.
Bartimaeus is also a beggar. Many times we heard the saying that “beggars cannot be choosers”. Like Bartimaeus, the lost person is also a spiritual beggar. They can do nothing and they have nothing; they can only sit by the road and beg.
Although he was blind, he was able to hear about stories of unbelievable proportions: the miracles performed by Jesus. In those days, miraculous deeds are often the subject of conversations everywhere. He heard that the lepers, the lame, and the demon possessed were healed and made whole; in fact, even the dead was brought back to life by Jesus. As he sat by the road, reflecting all these things in his mind, he knew that Jesus could heal him! And this could be his only chance. All he need is to act that faith. And so he kept on crying, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me”. He was rebuked and told to be quiet, but he shouted all the more. He is determined to get the help that he needed from the Lord regardless of what others would say or think about him. When Jesus heard his cry, He stopped and called for him. You see Jesus hears us when we cry to Him and He wants us to come near Him in faith. No matter how busy God is, He will always have time to hear us when we come to Him. In verse 51, when Jesus asked him what He can do for him, he answered excitedly, “Rabbi, I want to see”.
I believe this is the first crucial point in salvation. You must recognize who He is and believe that if he can heal others, He can heal you; if He can change the lives of others, He can change yours. All that Bartimaeus needed was an opportunity to come near Jesus and talk to Him about what troubled him the most. If you were given that chance today, how would you respond?
Supposing that Bartimaeus had sat by the road that day and did nothing and said nothing, then the next day would have been like all the others before. He would have sat by the road begging for food and water until the day that he died. He may have been blind, but even in his blindness he could see that unless he did something about his situation, he is doomed to a life of darkness and misery.
Right after Bartimaeus was healed, the Lord told him to go his way. However, he saw that the road that Jesus would take was a far better way than his own and so he decided to follow Jesus. If you are him, what would you do?