And 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. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And 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.” And 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. Mark 10:46-52
If you remember, we already had a story in Mark near the closing out of the Galilee section where the man received partial sight (men looked like trees) and then complete restoration. I made the comparison with the disciples not fully seeing Jesus yet.
Now, on the heels of the disciples again demonstrating their lack of vision, we come across a blind beggar sitting on the roadside who “sees” Jesus; his name is Bartimaeus. Twice he cries out with the knowledge of the One passing by him:
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He knows! Bartimaeus sees! He has called Jesus the Son of David brings forth two illusions. First, legends at the time spoke of King Solomon, David’s ultimate son, as having had healing powers ten centuries ago, so begging for mercy from Jesus acknowledges his genealogical connection to Solomon. But it also recognizes that the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, who comes from David to sit in the thrown forever, is present. The True King of Israel is on the road toward the capital.
Notice that the beggar does not ask for money. Instead, Bartimaeus asks for healing, and Jesus points out his faith, and he is healed without spit, fingers in the eyes, or fancy words. His physical sight has been restored, and he follows Jesus to Jerusalem.
This “sighted” blind beggar sees what the disciples are still struggling to understand!
Jesus, Son of David,
You have shown us more mercy than we deserve. We beg for you to help us be convicted of our sin, and experience the joy of your calling. Help us to jump up and run to you, and with our sight, let us follow you!
I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!