Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending our church’s ministry to one of our local public elementary schools. The ministry is called, “Good News Club“. We meet weekly with over 20 elementary students and study the eternal Word of God. Over the past 4 weeks, we have been learning about the miracles performed by Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of John. We have learned about how Jesus turned water into wine and the reason behind it. We learned about Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and the miracle of being born again. Then we covered Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and how He forgave her sins. After that, we learned how Jesus healed the royal official’s son and transformed an entire family. Finally, yesterday, we covered Jesus’ encounter with blind Bartimaeus. The story of blind Bartimaeus is not found in the Gospel of John. The Gospel writer Mark mentions this encounter in Mark 10. Chapter 10 in the Gospel of Mark is all about faith. The word “faith” means being convinced of the Truth of reality based on the Word of God. A synonym for faith is “trust“. Another word that could be used for faith is, “surrender“. Faith literally means trusting the Word of God and surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the Gospel of John, the author informs us of why Jesus performed all of these miracles.
30 Therefore many other miracles Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have eternal life in His name. (John 20)
The purpose of each miracle is to lead people to believe (trust/surrender) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As I mentioned before, the main idea for all of chapter 10 in the Gospel of Mark is to lead people to faith.
I. Blind Bartimaeus
In this passage, we are introduced to a man named Bartimaeus. Names in the Bible are significant. Names signaled character in the Bible. The name Bartimaeus means, “unclean son of Timaeus“. Bartimaeus has a physical disability. It is treated as a sickness by the people who lived during Bible times. People believed that if a child were born blind, the parents must have committed some kind of grave sin and the child’s condition was proof of that sin. Interestingly enough, Bartimaeus’ father’s name is Timaeus. “Timaeus” means “highly prized“. It seems that Timaeus was a good man, a godly man and he did not do anything wrong. Bartimaeus’ blindness is a physical representation of a spiritual problem. Just as Bartimaeus was blind physically, we are all blind spiritually until we encounter Jesus. Bartimaeus’ life is about to change radically because of his encounter with Jesus Christ. The same can happen with us today. We live in the darkness of sin until we encounter Jesus. Our encounter with Him changes everything.
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. (Mark 10:46)
Jesus makes sure that He walks near to where blind Bartimaeus sits and begs. Bartimaeus could not come to Jesus so Jesus went to him. Jesus takes the first step but Bartimaeus has to respond. Jesus took the first step to come to us in our spiritual blindness. Now, we have to respond to Him the way that Bartimaeus did.
Bartimaeus does respond to Jesus. It is a beautiful picture of a beggar crying out to Jesus with nothing to offer, only to receive whatever He (Jesus) gives. Jesus gives everything!
When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)
Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus. Bartimaeus recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah when he calls Him “Son of David“. Bartimaeus begs for mercy. The word “mercy” means, “not getting what you deserve“. Bartimaeus did not deserve anything from Jesus other than punishment for being a sinner. Bartimaeus begs Jesus, “please do not give me what I deserve“. This is a beautiful picture of the Gospel. All of us deserve punishment because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All we can do is beg God for mercy. Please don’t give us what we deserve. Have you ever come to God as a beggar with nothing to offer and beg for mercy?
Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48)
Bartimaeus faces opposition immediately. He does not cave to that opposition. He overcomes the obstacle and keeps his eyes on Jesus.
49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.”
50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. (Mark 10)
Jesus responds to Bartimaeus and calls him to Himself. Bartimaeus asks for mercy and Jesus is going to extend that to him. Not only is Jesus going to show mercy to Bartimaeus, He is also going to show grace to him. Again, this is a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Jesus meets us right where we are in our spiritual blindness. We beg for mercy and He extends mercy to us. He also shows grace to us. Have you experienced the mercy and grace that Jesus Christ wants to show you? Have you cried out to Jesus the way that Bartimaeus did? What stops you? What obstacles are you not willing to overcome?
The word “grace” means, “getting what you do not deserve“. Mercy and grace are like sisters. The two go together. Jesus Christ wants to show both mercy and grace to those who cry out to Him.
51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. (Mark 10)
Grace could be defined as getting a second change that you do not deserve. Bartimaeus did not deserve mercy. He also did not deserve grace. Jesus showed both to him. What was the purpose of Jesus showing mercy and grace to Bartimaeus? It led him to faith in Jesus Christ. What is the purpose of each of the miracles that Jesus performs in the Bible? That’s right, to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Bartimaeus came to faith. Bartimaeus was healed physically, but more importantly, he was healed spiritually. What about you, my dear friend, you may not be blind physically, but, if you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you are blind spiritually. Are you ready to experience the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to receive sight, spiritually?