We have a familiar story tonight. It is of Jesus healing a blind man outside of Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. Mark tells us the man’s name was Bartimaeus. Matthew tells us there were two blind men present during this event. Luke also chooses to focus our attention on only one man. I am assuming this one was Bartimaeus.
When we looked at the story in Matthew, it was presented in first person style. We were there when “Jesus Heals Two Blind Men.” In Mark’s story we get observe the crowd’s attitude change as they go from trying to silence Bartimaeus to hearing them say instead, “Take Heart, He is Calling You.”
What I want to share today has already been touched on in our other visits with this scene, but I want to look at it a little different today. I want to look at Bartimaeus’ faith. Jesus commends his faith in the end of the story and tells him “your faith has made you well” (verse 42). I want to talk about how his faith possibly grew to the place it was that morning.
We know from our three accounts that Bartimaeus was a beggar. He sat by the city gate and earned a living by calling out for handouts from passersby. We are not told how long he has been doing this, but I would assume he had been engaging in this “employment” for some time. He was not able to roam about the city independently. He only heard the news that came his way. Somehow he had heard of Jesus and the miracles He did.
Jesus was famous at this point. He has healed thousands of people and many of them were MORE than happy to talk about their interaction with Him. Surely Bartimaeus has heard many of these stories. He probably longed to be able to jump up and go wherever Jesus was. But he wasn’t able to. He had no one to take him to where Jesus was. If he could get to Him he was certain he would be healed. But that was just a pipe dream. He had no way of knowing that Jesus was coming to him!
Bartimaeus heard the crowd approaching. He had no idea what all the commotion was about, so he simply asked. Someone said it was because Jesus was headed their way. All the reports about Jesus would have been swirling around in Bartimaeus’ head at that point. This was probably his one and only shot at healing. He HAD to get to Jesus! So he did the only thing he could do; he cried out until Jesus answered his call.
Bartimaeus didn’t call out once and give up because Jesus couldn’t hear him over the noise from the crowd. He didn’t ask others to pass Jesus his message. He called out with everything in him, and he didn’t quit calling out until he KNEW he had been heard. He stopped yelling only after he was told that Jesus was calling out to see him too.
How AMAZING that must have felt! Not only did Jesus hear him but Jesus also called out for him to be brought to Him. He didn’t get the “as He passes by” healing, but the brought right to Jesus healing. He had Jesus’ full and focused attention. He also had the attention of everyone in the crowd.
When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted he knew exactly what to ask for. He didn’t have a doubt in his mind that Jesus could do what he was requesting. “Lord, let me recover my sight” (verse 41). In healing him Jesus even used Bartimaeus own words. “Jesus said to him, ‘Recover your sight; your faith has made you well’” (verse 42).
Jesus knew of the conviction of Bartimaeus’ heart. He knew his determination to reach Him. And He honored Bartimaeus’ request.
As soon as Bartimaeus received his sight he started praising God. He knew where his healing came from. He gave praise where praise was due. All the people who witnessed this event also praised God with him. What a way to pass the day with Jesus, shouting praises to His Father.
Father God, thank You that You hear my heart’s cry. Thank You that You don’t get angry when I cry out over and over to You. Thank You for Your personal answers too. I don’t always get exactly what I ask for but I always get Your attention. Thank You for calling to me to come to You. “Take heart, I’m calling you!”
I trust You with the answers too Father. You know my faith is not strong in the area of miracle healings. You also know the stronger areas of faith for me. Thank You for proving Yourself faithful in so many things in my life. Thank You for teaching me how to come to You. Thank You for welcoming me onto Your lap. Help me grow in faith in the areas where I’m weak. I want the kind of faith Bartimaeus had. The kind the woman with the issue of blood had. Would their faith have been different if they lived in my day? Would their faith have been less if they didn’t have Jesus right in front of them, doing miracles on a daily basis? Would mine be stronger if I did? Or would I still have needed to pray the same thing the father of the epileptic boy did? “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” For me too; help my unbelief.