Anglican Morning Devotion, 2 December 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“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. 47And 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. 48And 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. 49And 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. 50And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51And 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. 52And 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; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Yesterday, we studied how Saul (Paul) was struck down on the Damascus Road with blindness for failure to believe in the Son of God and for persecuting His Church. Today, we learn of a man, Bartimaeus, who was instead healed from blindness as a result of his faith.
The Lord had known Bartimaeus from the days of his birth (and before). He was aware that Bartimaeus would be encountered on His last trip to Jerusalem to be crucified. He had seen Bartimaeus begging day after day by the Jericho roadside. Now was the hour for Bartimaeus to be healed. Bartimaeus had doubtlessly heard all the reports of healing miracles of Jesus long before that day arrived. He had longed to plead for his sight from Jesus but, being blind, he had no means of travel or finding Him. For those who yearn to see Him, Jesus will come to them.
As Bartimaeus pounded his tin cup on the sidewalk to attract sympathy, the surrounding chatter suddenly changed. There was a bustle of footsteps coming up the road toward Bartimaeus. It was an excited and animated chatter that attracted his attention. Inquiring of others about him, Bartimaeus was informed that it was Jesus and His disciples. “Could it be true? Is Jesus passing by this very place at this moment?”
Years of yearning for this moment boiled up in the soul of poor Bartimaeus! Nothing else mattered now. He must not allow this opportunity to pass by. “He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Bartimaeus had heard bits and parts of truth about Jesus – enough to know that He was the promised Messiah for he called Him the Son of David. Bartimaeus made only one initial request: “Have mercy upon me.” When the Lord has mercy on us, it is not a half-hearted mercy, but a mercy that answers our every need.
As the blind man cried out, those around Jesus tried to silence him. Isn’t that the case in many churches today? Those who are closest to the Lord often try to keep others coming too near to the Lord or from having any role in the Church except tithing! But Bartimaeus would have none of it. This was his only opportunity and he would not allow it to pass. With each attempt to silence him, he cried out even with greater vehemence. Should we not all persevere with our pleads to the Lord and ignore any who would interfere with those prayers?
When Jesus heard the earnest pleas of Bartimaeus, He stopped and command him to be brought to Him. When our prayers are sincere, they will cause the Lord to Pause and hear us. Whenever Jesus stops, there is something very important about to happen whether beside a bier at Nain, or a dusty road at Jericho.
What a joy to hear that Jesus calls for us! That is what Bartimaeus heard: “Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.” When Jesus calls for us, we must discard every incumbrance and go to Him without delay: “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.”
The Lord asked the blind man, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Please do not think that Jesus was ignorant of the desires of the man’s heart for He knew with absolute certainty even before He passed through Jericho. The question was intended to allow the surrounding company to witness the faith and healing of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus responded “The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.”
The Lord responded, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” No longer would the formerly blind man need someone to escort him. He was made free in body AND spirit, for when the Lord makes whole, He makes whole in every way. What was the response of Bartimaeus? Did he proceed on his WAY home? Not at all. His was the response of all who have been redeemed from the death of trespasses and sins. He followed Jesus. That was the NEW way of Bartimaeus. “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”