Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
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.
Sometimes our own reactions to the Gospel fall way short. Blind Bartimaeus called out to Jesus.
Sometimes the wrong type of people call out to Jesus and we, like Bartimaeus, are blind to them. The poor guy was well known. He had a dad they all knew, Timaeus. Now why would Mark record that? Because people knew him. Timaeus and his embarrassing son, simply called Bar-Timaeus. But that name is now fulfilled in this encounter. It means “honoured” – Jesus will now honour the Son of the Honoured one.
But Jesus has to get through all the usual bluster from the people. He’s Jesus, Bar-David – he doesn’t have time for bar-timmaeus. The crowd never sees and always tries to silence genuine calling out to Jesus. But genuine faith only grows louder and louder: “SON OF DAVID HAVE MERCY ON ME!”
So Jesus tells his disciples to be counter-cultural, counter-intuitive – “You call him – go on! Go against the crowd; Risk looking foolish and irrelevant; Go against the tide of popular opinion!” So they did, saying the most beautiful words, “Cheer up, on your feet, He’s calling you.” Joy is the mark of encountering Jesus. On your feet is to symbolise resurrection from the old life, because although you were calling out, Jesus is now calling you.
Bartimaeus got to his feet with speed; in the same way the Father runs with speed to the returning son. “What do you want me to do for you?” Blindingly obvious – Yes! But a good question! No assumptions; no predictive texting; no exercise of wrong authority, just simply, “What do you want me to do for you?” Sometimes what we want must be spoken out and named. Of course he wants to see, and so, by faith in Christ, the man was healed, and followed Jesus.
Followed Jesus along with those who tried to silence him. I bet the conversations they had were boisterous and loud that day! The Son of the Honoured one, had now been honoured by the Son of God.
PRAY: Jesus, may we not be numbered among the crowd of naysayers, but those who, at your word, invite those around us to “Cheer up” as they rise to new life and follow Jesus. May we spend time with you thinking and praying the question for ourselves: “What do you want me to do for you?” AMEN
Picture: Josh Calabrese Unsplash