Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
There are at least four healings in the story of Bartimaeus that I can find:
Begins when Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus, even though the crowd is telling him to be quiet (v 47.)
He is a beggar, and blind at that. He had no voice or rights; the most common belief might have been that he was blind because of sin – either on the part of his parents or perhaps because of something he himself had done. When he persists in calling out to Jesus, he is defying his “place
and identity. He is expecting to be treated as a person by Jesus.
His healing continues when he throws off his cloak (v 50.) He wore a garment that was issued to him by the synagogue officials, legitimizing him as a beggar. The word used for “threw aside” is Apoballo, which means to throw away. it is only used in one other Scripture passage: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” Hebrews 10:35
He had completely rejected his identity as a blind beggar; he was now acting as one who had rights and access to God’s goodness. By the way, this was extremely risky on his part: Begging was his livelihood; his means of support. If nothing happened, he would not have the means to pay for food, shelter, etc.. The crowd could have injured or killed him for stepping out of line.
What is the “cloak” you wear? You don’t need to be disabled, in the obvious sense, to have one that is not from God. What do you need to throw off so that your identity and place are healed?
Is one for the community. In the beginning of the story, they are regarding Bartimaeus as a cursed thing, a nuisance and a bother. On one hand, there has to be something wrong with him or his family to make him blind; on the other, they are required to give alms to him. I’m betting that he had to scramble to find more than one coin because people didn’t hand things to him gently and compassionately.
Then, Jesus speaks to the crowd, telling them to bring Bartimaeus to Him. Okay, so He could have gone to the man Himself or told a disciple to go get him; He could have talked to Bartimaeus from where He was. He didn’t. He redirects the people. Jesus’ words have power: When He says, “Bring him to Me,” their whole regard and demeanor changes. part of this might have been because they wanted to watch a miracle, but I think it was deeper than that. For the first time in who knows how long, they are interacting with this beggar-become-person on a far more human level. This simple act restores Bartimaeus to his people and them to him.
The power of profiling cannot be underestimated. It can empower or undermine; it can bring dignity and recognition or characterize individuals and groups as undesirable, disqualified, unlovable,suspect or not quite human. It can be a major factor in bringing success; it can be a prohibitive barrier that keeps people in poverty and oppression.
When we don’t know, we assume. We are usually way off base, mostly because we draw on our own insecurities.
How do you need Jesus to heal your regard for other people? What fears, self-doubts and insecurities are getting in the way of your ability to love your neighbors as yourself?
Is the physical healing of Bartimaeus’ eyes. He evidently saw at one time: “I want to regain my sight.” (v 51) It is a simple matter of telling Jesus what he wants, and it is done.
We do seem to make the matter of healing or any other provision from God more difficult than it is, don’t we!
There are plenty of situations in life that cause us to lose our sight, not just physically. A short list would include abuse, trauma, betrayal, offenses, pride, accomplishments, money, status, isolation and busy-ness.
How have you lost sight of God? Yourself? Others? Important things in life?
Tell Jesus you want to regain your sight; it will be done.
Is that Bartimaeus went from the powerless position of begging alongside the road to choosing to follow Jesus. He moved on. Whenever we are healed, we need to live according to the new reality.
There is one more thing about this story that has intrigued me for a very long time: What was Bartimaeus’ name? The one by which he is identified in this account means, “Son of Timaeus.” I am sure that his father endured a great deal of disgrace, as indicated by this designation. surely, his parents named him at his circumcision. I’m confident that Jesus made sure he had a name again.
What is your name? What does God call you? How do you need God to change or strengthen your experience ofHim and yourself?