They came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. (Mark 10:46-52; KJV)
We have been on a glorious journey these past days of Lent. Beginning at the Banks of Jordan Waters where Christ was baptized, into the sands of the Wilderness with Him; then along the Temple grounds where we saw a woman ruthlessly arraigned before Christ for adultery. We witnessed His compassion and mercy in forgiving the woman. Then, up the coast of Tyre and Sidon at which place the Syro-Phoenician woman, burdened by the straits of the darling of her soul (her little daughter), begged for the crumbs of the Bread of Life from the Master’s Table and received whole Bread. From thence we crossed the Galilean Sea to Capernaum where one with palsy was brought on a stretcher to Christ and carried away his bed. Afterwards, down to Bethany we walked to a tomb of a dead man named Lazarus. When we arrived, Lazarus occupied the tomb. When we left the tomb, so did Lazarus! What a beautiful trip we have had. Now we shall have another amazing experience at Jericho. There is a blind man named Bartimaeus who has been sitting beside the road outside Jericho for a very long time. God saw the man the first day he came, and the man will see God the moment he leaves his place beside the road.
And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. Just a coincidental meeting? Never! Christ knew of the appointment of which Bartimaeus had no idea. Bartimaeus had perhaps heard many reports of Christ, but he had no way of searching Him out. But Bartimaeus did not sit at home and pine away his hours – instead he went to a public place at which he could use his remaining senses to learn and to gain a means of self-support. He was at that roadside every day. The modern Christian feels over burdened to attend church only one day out of seven in hearing the Word of God. If we will find Christ, we must be diligent in seeking Him out, even in the busy thoroughfare. One thing is certain: when we seek Christ, He will find us. And Christ found Bartimaeus! He was blind and begging beside the road. Take no pride, dear friend, in your present salvation. You, too, along with me, shared a place along side the road from Jericho. We, too, were spiritually blind and begging ere we came to Christ.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Once we are abundantly aware of our blindness and realize the source of healing is passing by, we must cry out in earnest lest the opportunity pass. So does Bartimaeus. He recognizes Christ as the Messiah by referring to Him as “thou Son of David.” Though blind, his cognitive vision was better than many others in the place and, surely, better than those who proudly sat in the Temple of Jerusalem. No one told Bartimaeus that this was the Son of David, he knew instinctively that it was so based on those bits of news he had gathered by the roadside. A desperate voice cannot, and must not, be stilled. God may not hear the voice of a casual Christian, but one who is desperate and serious in his prayers will be heard.
Once again, we see that those closest to Christ are often the very ones who prevent others from coming to Him. “And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” But the voice of desperate faith cannot be silenced. Any attempt to do so results in a more compelling appeal. Although the entire, rowdy crowd may be against us, Christ is not! And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. When man stands still, it may be due to indecision or fear, but when Christ stands still, something wonderful is about to happen. He stood still outside the Tomb of Lazarus. He stood still beneath the sycamore tree in whose branches Zaccheus sat. And now He stands still for the least esteemed of those on the road from Jericho – blind Bartimaeus! When Christ calls the broken heart, or even a dead heart, the call will always be heard.
“Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.” When Christ calls, we shall rise. There is a time appointed of God for our own names to be called, and we shall answer, and we shall rise. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. Though we are not told with certainty, I believe this garment cast aside by Bartimaeus was the same he spread upon the ground for men to cast coins upon. Such cloths were used by beggars I have seen while living in the Middle East. If so, Bartimaeus knew he needed the beggar’s cloth no more. When Christ calls for us, we do not hesitate demurely, but arise immediately to the call unlike those we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Matt 8:18-22 (KJV) Who are the dead? Those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? Do you, for a single second, believe that Christ did not already know the desires of poor Bartimaeus’ heart? Certainly He knew; however, Christ loves for us to voice our prayers for the glory of God and those who may be watching. The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. Please note that Bartimaeus did not make reference to Christ as “Good Master” (or Teacher), but as LORD! His prayer was a simple one: “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” He didn’t ask the Lord if He was able to grant this – Bartimaeus had the sure faith that this prayer could be fulfilled. Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole This is a powerful command! Bartimaeus is now free to go his way (because he can see to find his way), but he is also made whole in every other way including the forgiveness of his sins. But Bartimaeus did not longer go HIS way. He went the way of Christ: And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Likewise, when we have been made whole and our sins forgiven, we must no longer proceed on OUR way through life, but following Christ in His Way. AMEN!