by Julia Charleston
“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. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Mark 10:46-52 [NIV]
In biblical days, being blind was often seen as a curse. There was really no way to support yourself financially, so beggars were given cloaks, which gave them permission to beg. Beggars were defined as such by the cloak they wore. Usually, the cloak was the beggar’s one and only possession and their only source of income.
With heightened hearing, Bartimaeus probably overheard many conversations of people coming and going. There was a lot of talk about Jesus and the amazing miracles He performed, and Bartimaeus believed what he heard. When Jesus came through town, the blind beggar called out to Him not once, but twice: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”
People tried to quiet him, but Bartimeaus had a yearning in his heart for something greater. There was something about this man called Jesus that was different, and Bartimeaus was excited to have an opportunity to meet The Healer face to face. He would not be silenced.
Verse 49 “Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
Bartimaeus threw off his cloak. He threw off his old way of life. He threw off his comfort zone. He was done being defined as a beggar. He didn’t just toss aside a jacket or sweater, this was life or death. It was sink or swim time; either he was going to be healed or he would have nothing. His faith was remarkable; he was so desperate for change he went to Jesus expecting a miracle.
Next, when Jesus asked “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimeaus boldly told Jesus he wanted to see. A real, honest answer to a question Jesus already knew, but was testing the beggar’s faith. I believe Bartimeaus was asking for something bigger than physical healing; more than sight. He was standing before GREAT and he wanted to SEE. Bartimeaus was healed instantly, and Jesus told him to GO. But he stayed and followed Jesus along the road. Who could blame him? I wouldn’t want to go either. I would want to stay and bask in the greatness and watch Jesus work.
We all want healing, whether physical, relational or financial. Sometimes healing comes instantly, and sometimes it comes slowly over time, while we get healthier and stronger. We all have a cloak representing something in our lives that hinders us from living the GREAT life. Our cloak can hold us back, and because it’s comfortable, we fail to see that our cloak actually impedes our progress.
We all want to see. We all want to receive the Best God has to offer. We can look to a blind beggar for directions on how to do just that:
1. We throw off our cloak.
2. We jump up and run to Jesus.
3. We boldly answer His question when He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
4. We follow Him.
Papa, God, thank you! Please give us courage to toss aside our cloaks as we run to your son. Help us to answer the question Jesus asks us with bold honesty. Help us all to see in order for us to live the GREAT life you have planned for us. In Jesus most precious and holy name. Amen.