Eyes of Faith to Follow
Spirit of the Living God, I pray that You’ll grant me a right faith, a sure hope and a perfect love.
Read MARK 10:46–52
46 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Unlike the rich man of a few scenes earlier who had everything except spiritual insight, the blind man Bartimaeus had nothing, but saw clearly. The latter is an example of true faith.
Nearly two weeks ago, we read of Jesus healing a blind man (Mark 8:22–26). This was one bookend of the “discipleship discourse.” Today is the other, in which another blind man, Bartimaeus, receives healing and follows Jesus. Unlike the first man, who symbolically seems to represent those who see Jesus’ teachings but do not understand them, Bartimaeus represents the true disciple.
Bartimaeus will stop at nothing to meet with Jesus and cries out, over his silencers, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (47,48). “Son of David” is a royal and messianic title. “Have mercy on me” is a pattern familiar from the Old Testament, as the psalmist cries to God, “Lord, have mercy” (Psa. 123:3; see also Matt. 20:30,31). Hence, Bartimaeus “sees” what the sighted people do not. Before him stands the promised one, the true Messiah, who may be addressed as one would address God himself. For in this Jesus is his hope of sight and salvation.
We do not know the names of many of those who receive Jesus’ miracles. Bartimaeus is an exception. He is presumably named because he was famous among the readers of Mark’s Gospel as one who continued to follow Jesus in the time of the church. He is a remarkable example of discipleship, for it is Bartimaeus, a blind man,
who “saw” Jesus’ true identity. Likewise, it is Bartimaeus, a beggar, unlike the rich man, who was willing to follow Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. In the same way, it is only those who truly acknowledge Jesus’ identity who will be willing to go with him to the cross and likewise to live a cross-shaped life. It is such followers only who will be able to see and understand and live these teachings of Jesus in the “discipleship discourse.”
Imagine Jesus coming to you and asking, “What do you want me to do for you” (51)? Thinking back over Jesus’ teaching throughout these two weeks, how would you answer him?
Open my eyes, Lord; I want to see Jesus.