Monday Morning Coffee Break – Life With Jesus
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. 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!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 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.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 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.” 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. (Mark 10:46-52)
The Faith Of A Blind Man
Jericho is a famous city in the Old Testament as a sign of God’s incredible power. When the children of Israel first came to Canaan the city became the example of how the Lord would impress upon man His wisdom and power. Centuries later the Son of God would be leaving Jericho and once again the city would be the backdrop to a most amazing display of power, grace, mercy and faith.
Being blind in the days of old was a cruel sentence of despair. There was no cure or a hope of a cure. The darkness that prevailed would never be removed and in so many cases those afflicted lived a life of abject poverty by begging. Such was the lot of a blind man called Bartimaeus son of Timaeus. The eyes of Bartimaeus may have been darkened but his heart was filled with light. Whatever background this blind man had with Jesus is unknown but all he knew of Jesus was what he heard. He never saw Jesus. He never saw any miracles of Jesus performed. Yet he had a deep faith in a man only because of what he heard of His power.
As Jesus walked by one day Bartimaeus cried out to the Lord to have mercy on him. The fickle crowd tried to dissuade the blind man to quiet his pleas but this fueled his faith more. Standing still Jesus could not resist the bountiful love of a blind man. Calling for him to come the crowd now encourages the beggar to go to Jesus. It should be noted Jesus could have gone to him but chose rather to stand still and let Bartimaeus come to the Lord. Faith requires our measure of faith to bring us to Christ. The beggar threw aside his garment and went to Jesus. How difficult that must have been for a blind man to make his way through a crowd to find a man he never saw. Helped by others he came before the Lord.
In a most remarkable discourse between a blind man and a healer Jesus asked of Bartimaeus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” At first glance it would seem shockingly obvious what the blind man would desire. Why did Jesus ask this question? Faith is our measure of seeking the Lord with an honest heart of truth. Quickly the beggar pleaded with the Lord to have sight. In an instant the darkness of Bartimaeus’ life disappeared. Light poured into his brain as the eyes soaked in the sights he had not seen. What a moment of transformation for a man who was blind but now can see.
Jesus tells Bartimaeus to go his way but the former blind man choses to follow the only true Way. The first face imprinted on the mind of the blind man was the face of Jesus. He chooses to follow Jesus. There is a sad point to which the story arrives. It is difficult to imagine how incredibly happy Bartimaeus must have been for Jesus to heal him. It was not many days after his miraculous healing the precious eyes of the beggar now beheld His Lord dying on a cross. There would be no weeks, months or years to follow Jesus and talk with Him on the way. Soon after his healing Bartimaeus watched his Savior die.
Nothing else is said of the beggar. It would warm the heart to know that he would become a powerful force in the lives of the early disciples as the church grew. Could he have become a preacher to show the light to those who had eyes to see but were still in darkness? His blindness did not prevent him from seeing Jesus for who He truly was. He was a healer. Jesus took away blindness and gave sight. He still does today. Thank you Bartimaeus. Now I can see.
Faith is obscure. By faith a man moves through darkness; but he moves securely, his hand in the hand of God. He is literally seeing through the eyes of God. (Walter Farrell, The Looking Glass, 1951)