Mark 10:46-52 46And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.
There are some wonderful hidden truths in the passage above, clearly overshadowed by the amazing miracle that Jesus performs in restoring the sight of the blind beggar Bartimaeus. These truths are so powerful, they actually describe how we are called to approach the cross. In verse 47, Bartimaeus gets word that Jesus is heading his way. Now since he was blind and as a result, unable to work, he had no choice but to sit on the main road to Jericho and beg. But at this instant Jesus is heading his way and at the moment he hears of Him, Bartimaeus cries out, “Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me!” It’s impossible for written word to describe the desperation, the brokenness that he has in his voice as he yells out. Even as those around him, no doubt a large crowd by now, try to quiet him down, Bartimaeus again yells out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” On a side note, this is a pretty ironic statement by the blind man; we know he is able to recognize the Messiah, through his declaration of “Son of David” while at the same time many of his Jewish counterparts are so blind spiritually they cannot make this recognition. But it’s his desperation that stands out; his need for Jesus is so great that he’s no longer begging for money or food, but instead he begs for mercy from the only person that can grant it, Jesus Christ. This is the same posture we are to take when we come to Jesus. We must come broken, begging for mercy, recognizing the Messiah as our Lord and Savior, the only one who can give us the mercy we so desperately need.
Jesus’ response is so powerful, “What do you want me to do for you?” I think it’s here we can draw parallel to Matthew 7:7-11
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Jesus has presented him with the ultimate question and all Bartimaeus has to do is ask. Understandably, given his condition, he asks for his sight to which Jesus’ reply reveals the truths of Matthew 7 as He says, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” The literal translation for this from the Greek text means “Go, thy faith hath saved thee.” As the passage concludes the scripture gives us one more piece of insight, “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.” If we look at this same story in the Gospel of Luke 18:43 we read, “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” In both accounts, Bartimaeus doesn’t simply receive his sight then head off in another direction; instead, he follows Jesus on his way. But in Luke’s account we read that not only does Bartimaeus glorify God, but all who saw gave praise to God. Through a blind beggar, others were able to see the work of Jesus and give praise to God.
There are so many truths in this important passage that we can apply to our own lives. The desperation and brokenness of Bartimaeus as he begs for mercy to Jesus, signifies the posture we should take as we approach the cross of Jesus, broken from our sins, crying out for mercy. Through our faith in Jesus we are made well, literally saved from our sins. As our Savior, He grants us mercy and gives us the grace we need to continue our journey, but instead of going our own way, we follow Him, now as Lord of our life. And through the amazing gift of salvation, we not only glorify God, but others are able to see the work of Jesus in our lives, and they too give praise and glory to God.