Mark 10:46-52 Jesus heals an outcast named Bartimaeus
Jericho is the last stop on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. A blind man, begging along the pilgrimage route to the Passover festival, might have been left unnamed in this narrative, but perhaps Bartimaeus (v. 46) was known to the early church. He is persistent in his crying out to the Messiah for mercy (v. 47). The crowd on the other hand is clearly irritated by this beggar (as in “Shut up!’), but Bartimaeus is not deterred (v. 48)!
The Master pulls an all stop for the sake of this outcast, this undesirable, marginalized from the community. Hold everything, bring him over here to me now. Now the crowd changes their tune: “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you” (v. 49). [I can’t help but wonder if their appetites are now whetted to perhaps see the spectacle of a miracle from this Rabbi that they have surely heard tale of.] Bartimaeus’ reaction appears to be one of joy, excitement, expectation (v. 50)! Jesus’ question to the blind man could be a head scratch-er at first. Hello, he’s blind! But it may be designed to strengthen his faith (in the mercy of God, and His power to heal – NICNT, p. 389). But Bartimaeus is game: “let me recover my sight” (v. 51). In healing Him, Jesus commends him for his faith:
“your faith has made you well.” – Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 10:52)
Despite all the distortions of the word-faith movement – faith matters!
So who are you in the narrative? The heartless members of the religious crowd who see this marginalized member of society as a mere nuisance in their longing to see (and hear) this incredibly popular religious figure that they have heard so much about. Perhaps you are blind Bartimaeus?
Desperate for a touch from the Master, filled with faith, and determination to receive the mercy of God you have longed for. Or are you one the twelve, here mentioned only in passing, faithfully following their Rabbi, listening, watching, observing (and all the while analyzing everything in light of Jesus apparent determination “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) as your band makes it’s final approach upon Jerusalem)? Will you continue to follow Jesus to His gruesome fate there? And what of this hope of rising from the dead (Mark 10:33-34)?
Join us next time for a critical milestone in our journey with Jesus – entrance into the city of Jerusalem! Until then, follow “him on the way” (v. 52).