“When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” ~Mark 10:47-48 (NLT)
In Matthew’s account of this story he tells of two blind men alongside the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. They cry out “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David”, but the crowd that is hanging with Jesus tells them to be quiet. It’s a multitude of people you see and they are on a mission with Jesus so you two “undesirables” need to know your role, sit there and beg in the quiet of your misery. Yeah right, like that was gonna fly with them. So, they yell out (just a wee louder) a second time, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David”, and with that Jesus stops and asks them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
In Mark’s account of this story it’s focused on one of these two and when Bartimaeus cried out the second time, Jesus acknowledges him. “When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, He’s calling you!” (Mark 10:49) But the question doesn’t change, “What do you want Me to do for you?” In both accounts the restoration of sight is given to the blind from Jesus Christ Himself. Matthews account say’s He was moved with compassion and Marks says it was shown by faith, I believe it was both or it wouldn’t be in the Bible as such.
Funny how this comes right after two of Jesus’ disciples and their mother have this little discussion about who gets to sit with Jesus in the Kingdom. The NASB put it this way, “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Him, saying to Him, “Teacher, we want you to do us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Now notice the difference here. We don’t have these two brothers addressing Jesus with reverence, oh no, we got two brothers who might as well went up to Jesus and said, “Yo Dude hook us up” before they asked this question, “Grant that we may sit in your glory, one to right, and one to your left.”
Now these were two guys that Jesus picked to follow Him. They see what Jesus does as far as miracles go, they hear His teaching straight from Him, He warns them about His death and rising and yet they wanna sit with Him in glory. Bartimaeus and his buddy aren’t privileged like this. They sit on the side of a road putting their hope in the generosity of others for provision. They probably struggle to get to synagogue to hear the writings of Isaiah, “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” (Isaiah 11:1)
All Bartimaeus wants to do is run into Jesus and when he does all he has is his voice to pursue Jesus with…and what was in his heart. Now I could easily go into a deep discussion on how the High Priests, like Annas and Caiaphas, couldn’t see Jesus as that new branch as they recited Isaiah to those in synagogue or the implications that involved John and James as they thought themselves worthy of the seats to the right and the left of The Son, but both pairs of men thought themselves above guys like Bartimaeus so why bother giving it further mention.
Because I see myself like Bartimaeus, sitting on the side of the road at one time in my life, waiting for life to throw its scraps at me so I could exist. When I came to that point where I yelled out, JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME, He was just and true and removed those spiritual scaled from my eyes. When they were opened, I could finally see the grace and mercy that is Jesus Christ. The cool part of the blind man’s story is this, “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 10:52)
Ya know, I think Jesus was gonna be cool with healing Bartimaeus and getting on down the road to Jerusalem. But He left the blind man with a choice and what did he choose? He chose to follow Jesus. Sometimes in the complexity of reading the Gospel we miss this simple thing…when the heart desires the things of Jesus, then we are to follow Jesus. Even if it means that we are following Him on the road to The Cross. I think, maybe Bartimaeus saw that for himself. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 15; Proverbs 15
Daily Quote: “We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts” — A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11