Bartimaeus was blind and a beggar in Jericho. He had little hope at a time when blindness was considered a punishment – either for his own sin or for the sin of his parents (John 9:2). It may have been true (Deut. 5:9), or may have been superstition based on a poor interpretation by the Pharisees and teachers of Moses’ law.
When Bartimaeus learned that Jesus was passing by with a large crowd, he cried out for Jesus to have mercy on him (Mark 10:47). The passage says, “many rebuked him and told him to be quiet” (Mark 10:48). One must wonder why they would be so selfish. They’re accompanying the great healer – some in this crowd may themselves have benefited from Jesus’ healing power. Bringing him to Jesus would take one more beggar off the roadside – yet they instead tried to shut him up.
How selfish we become in our abundance. How protective we are or our “sources”. Who could take control of Jesus, who could hide Him from a perishing world?
Instead of meekly obeying those who rebuked him, Bartimaeus cried out “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48).
And Jesus did.
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him” (Mark 10:49). When Bartimaeus was brought to him, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)
Bartimaeus’ determination – his persistent faith – had been rewarded. “Rabbi, I want to see.” His straightforward and blunt request was immediately granted in kind. “Go. Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52).
When Jesus healed people, implicit in the healing was the forgiveness of sin. Maybe Moses’ law was accurately interpreted by the Jewish teachers of the day and there was and explicit relationship between sin and disabilities. Because we’ve seen one of the reasons they plotted against Jesus was because they thought it was blasphemy to forgive sins (Read Mark 2:1-12).
Many in our world today will tell us to be quiet when we cry out for answers to our suffering. Those who are persistent will be healed – and not just physically. Here we learn that the real healing brings us into a new relationship with God – eternal life – which is only given by persistent faith in Jesus Christ.