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)
It Seemed Obvious
There were not many days left before Jesus would be crucified. He had told His disciples what would happen when He went to Jerusalem and they were leaving Jericho on the road to His final hours. There must have been many things on the mind of Jesus as He journeyed towards fulfilling the Father’s will. With throngs of people surrounding Him, the Lord walked along the dusty road deeply in thought of the trial of obedience that would tempt His soul to its core. And then there was a commotion. He heard above the noise of the crowd a voice crying out to Him. A man was calling out for Jesus to have mercy on him. Those standing by rebuked the man telling him to be quiet but he insisted more. Standing still Jesus commanded the man to be brought to Him. Stumbling through the crowd a man approached Jesus and it was clear the man was blind. Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, sought for mercy and a remarkable thing happened. Jesus asked him what he wanted Him to do. There would be just a few miracles left before the Son of God was killed. It would seem evident the miracle this man would desire was his sight but Jesus asked him what he wanted.
Nothing is known about the life of Bartimaeus and how long he had been blind. It would seem clear that he had never seen a miracle of Jesus and yet here he is begging the Lord to have mercy on him to give him sight. There was a poetical blind faith on the part of Bartimaeus to believe Jesus could perform such a feat but his heart was not to be swayed by the crowd as he determined to have an audience with Jesus. The Lord could have come to the blind man but He insisted he come to Him. There was no hesitation. Throwing aside his garment, Bartimaeus went directly to his savior. Living in blindness would create a world of trust in what he could not see. He had never seen the face of Jesus but he trusted His voice. A blind man would have only one object in life and that would be to receive or restore his sight. As the frail sightless man stood before Jesus, the Lord asked him what he wanted.
Faith comes in many forms. Someone might argue it was obvious what the man desired. He was blind. Who would not want to receive their sight? What purpose did it serve to ask the man what he wanted when it seemed clear the need of the man? Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Faith is a determined soul who boldly asks God for the impossible. Healing a man of blindness was not giving him a pair of glasses so he could see better. What Jesus did for Bartimaeus was to take him from his world of darkness to perfect vision. The blind man had to pronounce his faith in the power of the Lord. Jesus could have healed Bartimaeus where he sat but the Lord insisted he come to Him. Seeking an answer from Bartimaeus was a testimony of his own faith to believe the Lord could do the impossible and the confession to the multitude of the power of Jesus.
There is a deeply sad part to the story. Bartimaeus received his sight and immediately followed Jesus. Very shortly after seeing the face of Jesus for the first time and imprinting the image of the Son of God on his heart, the former blind man witnessed the death of Jesus by those who could not see the power of the man from Nazareth. Jesus went to Jerusalem, was received with a triumphal festival of glory by the people and then watched as the hearts of the people turned in hatred to kill Him. Where was Bartimaeus in these dark days? A great miracle had happened with him but now they delivered his Savior up to be crucified. He believed Jesus had the power of God when he was blind and those who could see denied that same power. It must have been a crushing blow to the son of Timaeus. There is a hope that one of the first Christian’s of the New Testament church was a former blind man who sat by the side of the road near a town called Jericho. What a story he could tell when Jesus asked him what he wanted.