STORIES OF FAITH – Bartimaeus
Mark 10:47 – 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!”
Jesus and his disciples had spent time in Jericho, spreading the gospel to all who would listen. It was now time to leave and head toward Jerusalem. As was now customary, a crowd was following Jesus on his way. I imagine it was an early start as it was approximately a 7hr walk, the majority of which was uphill. They would need to rest midday from the heat of the sun and find a well to draw water before continuing on, then hopefully arrive at their destination before evening…. if there were no distractions.
Bartimaeus had heard the teacher speak and was convinced that he was the Messiah. Unfortunately, because he was blind, he had been unable to get close to Jesus; there were always so many people around him. He heard that Jesus was leaving the town the next morning and knew that he only had one more chance to get his attention. The gate would be the best option as only so many people could go through at a time. So, he rose early and got himself by the side of the road by the gate and waited.
He knew by the chatter and commotion that Jesus was coming his way. Afraid of missing his opportunity he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Some people began telling him to be quiet and not to bother the teacher because he had a long journey ahead of him. Bartimaeus would not be deterred and raising his voice even louder, cried, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The fact that he used the name Son of David convinces me that Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. His faith in this belief was so strong that nothing was going to stand in his way.
Jesus responds by calling him to come. Those closest, tell him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” Bartimaeus did not need to be asked twice, as we read, ‘throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus’. What a scene as people move out of his way to let him through, eager now themselves to see what would unfold.
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight…
He knew this was the Messiah and his faith had prevailed. The world had been opened up to him and Rabbi Jesus had told him he was now able to go on his way. Bartimaeus knew that there was only one place he wanted to go and that was wherever Jesus was going – so he ‘followed him on the way’.
Today, Jesus still asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Tell Him what’s on your heart because He still responds to faith.