Dr. Benjamin Gladd preaches a chapel sermon at RTS Jackson from Mark 10:46-52 on the healing of Bartimaeus. The message is entitled “The Blind Can See.”
Hear God’s Word. I’m going to start in Mark 10:46, and we’re going to go through verse 52.
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me.”
Now many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and he said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, ”Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
In 2004 scientific studies were undertaken at McGill University and University of Montreal, and they were testing whether or not blind people can hear better than those who can see. And they found out that actually blind people can hear better, that the body was simply able to adapt and and to learn. And what we read about here in Mark 10 is something that’s not too dissimilar. Bartimaeus has the capacity to see more clearly than those who can physically see.
Mark’s Gospel Demonstrates That Jesus Is a Suffering Messiah
Now, before we delve into this, this intriguing passage, it’s first to best paint a picture of what is going on in Mark’s Gospel. And we’re going to start with Mark’s purpose. Mark wrote his Gospel—this is probably the first Gospel written—to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah. But he is not just a usual messiah, he’s a suffering messiah. And this is something that’s going to really take a whole Gospel to explain. And that is, Jesus is reworking messianic expectations. He will reign in the midst of defeat. His kingdom will not be marked by ruling over the Romans, but by suffering and death. If you want to follow this Messiah, you’re going to have to be like him. You too are going to have to suffer and die.
Jesus is indeed the messiah, but he’s a suffering messiah.Now Mark’s Gospel breaks down into a three-part drama. The first part goes from chapter one to chapter 8, and that generally focuses on Jesus’s dealings in Galilee to the north. The second part is his journey, the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. It’s here in the second part where Jesus’s identity becomes all the more clear. Jesus is indeed the messiah, but he’s a suffering messiah. This is where we get the second and third passion predictions. And then the third dramatic act is when Jesus goes into Jerusalem, where he will suffer and die. Mark 10:46–52, that is this episode with Bartimaeus, occurs right before the third act, right before Jesus goes into Jerusalem, where he will suffer and die. Now that’s going to play an important role as we continue on.
If you want to be a part of Jesus’s kingdom, you’re going to have to be a last. You’re going to have to serve.We’re going to pick it up. I just want to discuss for a minute the previous context. Look with me here in Mark 10, verses 35 and 45. All this in here. James and John, they want to be part of this exciting kingdom that Jesus is ushering in. But what they fail to understand is that Jesus’s kingdom is, again, it’s unlike their expectations. If you want to be a part of Jesus’s kingdom, you’re going to have to be a last. You’re going to have to serve. You aren’t going to be ruling; you’re not going to be prominently situated at the Father’s right hand, at Jesus’s right hand. Instead, you’re going have to serve and you’re going have to suffer and die. But they don’t want that.
The kingdom that Jesus brings in is for the outcasts. It’s for the last. This would explain why—notice the transition between that section there with James and John pining for a prominent position and then Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is the example of one who is an outcast but is actually first in the kingdom. A blind man will now be prominent in the kingdom. It’s simply the reverse of what James and John were asking. It’s a fascinating, fascinating passage. OK, so now let’s jump in here to verse 46 for all that background coming on in.
Jesus Is a Messiah Who Cares for the Outcasts and the Spiritually Blind
When we look at this account, it’s unusual on several levels. The first one is, this is only the second time that Mark has discussed the healing of a blind man. You see in the other Gospels, Jesus, he heals blind people left and right. Bang, bang, bang. Not so in Mark’s gospel. He only does it twice. The other one, if you remember correctly, those of you who took my class, we get it in Mark 8. It takes eight chapters for Jesus to finally heal a blind man. But in that healing, it was a little awkward, wasn’t he? It’s a two-stage healing. Jesus heals him the first time, he’s like, “Thanks, but I still have some cataracts. I see men walking as trees.” And so then Jesus has to go in and heal him a second time. Now, the reason why we have this two-stage healing is because it explains the two-stage healing of the disciples.
And so finally here in chapter 10, we have the second and final healing of a blind man. Here are a couple questions that we need to ask ourselves of this passage. Why is this the final event before Jesus’s public declaration that he is indeed the messiah? Because remember, he comes in on that donkey, the triumphal entry, it’s this public demonstration that Jesus is indeed the messiah. So we have to ask ourselves, why does this proceed that? Question number one. Question number two, why does Jesus heal a blind man? Of all the things he could have done before going into Jerusalem, why does he do this? We’ll see if we can give answers to these pertinent questions.
Jesus cares for the outcast and the spiritually destitute.My first point is this: Jesus cares for the outcast and the spiritually destitute. He cares for the outcast and spiritually destitute. Now, at this time in the first century, those who are blind, those who couldn’t hear, those who were lame, they were considered to be on the fringes of the society, which is why we have Bartimaeus here. Look at this, verse 46: “They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.” He’s not in a prominent position in Jericho, is he? He’s on the outskirts. He’s on the road. He’s begging. This is just typical conduct in the first century as it is really today as well.
My point here is that blind people are on the fringes of society. But it’s precisely those people to whom Jesus runs after, and he brings them into the kingdom. Listen to this one Jewish text that talks about this precise thing. This is from Qumran. Listen to how sort of they treated people like this blind man: “No man who suffers from a single type of the uncleanness that affects humanity shall enter into their assembly. Neither is any man so afflicted to receive an assignment from the congregation. No man with a physical handicap, crippled in both legs, hands, lame, blind, deaf, and dumb.” Get out. Stay away. You’re not like we are. We are important; we are true Israel. Yahweh is on our side. Get out. So what does Jesus do? He goes after and he seeks sinners; he seeks those who are culturally outcast.
Let’s talk a little bit more about this idea of blindness. That is, why does Jesus heal a blind person? Now, again, keep in mind that this is only the second healing of a blind person. Now, whenever you come to a particular healing event, you always have to ask the question, what’s its symbolic value? Because Jesus just isn’t going about healing things, healing people. These are specifically, and with great detail, inserted into the Gospels. They play prominently in the narrative. And so we always have to ask the question, why are they there? What’s its symbolic value? We saw in chapter 8 of Mark that the two-stage healing symbolizes what? The two-stage healing of the disciples. They are blind. It’s a little mini parable. Most of Jesus’s miracles, most of his actions are acted out parables.
So what we’re really seeing here is an acted out parable on the road right outside Jericho. I think that Bartimaeus actually symbolizes blind Israel. That’s what I think is going on here, just as in chapter 8, that blind person symbolizes the two disciples, Bartimaeus now symbolizes a much bigger group: Israel. Why is Israel blind? Why is she blind?
Israel Is Blind Because She Becomes Like the Idols She Worships
In the Old Testament we have text after text after text that talks about Israel being blind. We see this especially in Deuteronomy 29. Listen to this text: “But to this day, the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.” Why is she blind? Because as Psalm 115, Psalm 135, Isaiah 6 as they make clear, Israel’s blind because her idols are blind. You become like what you worship, whether for ruin or for restoration.
You become like what you worship, whether for ruin or for restoration.Listen to this text here, that’s Psalm 115, says, “They have mouths [they’re talking about idols] they have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats.” Now watch this: “Those who make them [that is the idols, those who make the idols] will be like them.” Israel was blind because she has been adoring idols.
Now, here in the first century, they aren’t carving out idols like they used to. They learned that lesson. So then why is Israel blind? Not because she is bowing down to literal idols, but because she is bowing down to a figurative idol, human tradition. Obeying, putting the law above God. Instead of worshiping the law giver, she worships the law. Mark actually makes this, I think, clear. In Mark 4, listen to hear about why Jesus is giving or why is he speaking in parables, he says, “And he was saying to them, ‘To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to those who are outside, get everything in parables.’” Why? “So that while seeing they may see and not perceive and while hearing they may not hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” Israel is in a state of blindness.
We may not want to admit this, but we are all, all of us in here, are idolaters. There is that classic Calvin quote, the heart here is a factory; it’s an idol factory. Every single minute of the day, we are pumping out idols. Minute after minute. Theology, family, children, church, all of those things, we just pump them out. They’re good things, of course they are, the problem is that we worship them more than we worship God. Idol after idol after idol, and so here Bartimaeus, I think he symbolizes blind Israel. It’s fascinating.
There’s a 2005 documentary by Herzog that he shot. It’s called *Grizzly Man. Have any of you guys seen this? It’s crazy. Crazy. It’s rather violent. So I don’t know if it’s Women in Ministry approved. It’s rather violent. When I watched it, I was so fascinated because this guy named Treadwell, he lives in Alaska and he was around these bears day after day. He loved them. He wants to be with them. He started acting like them. It’s fascinating. He starts acting like the very thing that he worships, that he adores. And several years later, he’s in a cabin in Alaska, and he and his girlfriend are killed by a bear. Comes in, his friend comes in and takes them out because you see, he was judged by the very thing that he adored, that he worshiped. So that’s my first point.
Blind Bartimaeus Identifies Jesus as Israel’s Long-Awaited King
My second point is that Jesus here in Mark 10:46–52, in this particular passage, Jesus is Israel’s long-awaited king. We see this especially—look at this here with Bartimaeus: “They came to Jericho.” Now Jericho is the last stop on the way because they’re coming down, remember, they’re coming down to take Passover into Jerusalem. So imagine this big caravan coming down the road and they have to stop by Jericho before they hit Jerusalem. So they’re in Jericho. They come out of the city, “as Jesus and his disciples together with” you see this “together with a large crowd,” read there, RVs. RVs. They’re leaving the city and he hears them. It says he was sitting by the roadside when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth. So apparently somehow must have said, “Hey, Jesus, duh duh duh duh.” And he’s like, “Wait, wait, wait.” Somehow he figures out that this caravan has Jesus in it. And so what does he do? He shouts out twice, “Son of David, son of David.”
Watch the sequence of events. He labels Jesus son of David, and then he’s healed. You see, he’s not healed first, and then he calls Jesus the son of David. No, it’s the reverse. You see, blind Bartimaeus, he can actually see spiritually, can’t he? He identifies Jesus as the king. Even though he can’t actually see him, he can see him spiritually. This is absolutly fascinating. And he calls him, he calls Jesus, the son of God.
Now, this label here, it probably harkens back to several Old Testament texts: 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 2 about how David’s going to be God’s son and then David’s descendants will be kings and then Psalm 2, Israel’s kings are called God’s son. And so when he says there, “Son of David,” he’s referring to Jesus being the long-awaited messiah. He’s here, but unlike David, he’s going to succeed.
Adam and Eve, they were supposed to be kings. It didn’t work out so well. Noah was supposed to be king. Same thing. Abraham all the way down. King, King, King. Failure, failure, failure. Then Jesus comes in and now we’re there. One who is going to be the true king, who is going to get it right, he has arrived and Bartimaeus gets it. You, Jesus, are the son of David.
Jesus Rules as Divine Messiah by Healing People and Bringing in the New Creation
My third point now is that Jesus in this text is Israel’s healer. He is Israel’s healer. Let’s read this once again.
Verse forty nine: “Jesus stopped.” You know, so he’s going on this caravan, you know, they’re in this RV, they’re cruising by. And then blind Bartimaeus, he starts shouting out, and the people from the caravan are like, “Shhhh. Be quiet. There’s noise pollution. You know, we’re trying to listen to our music. You’re too loud. Be quiet.” But he shouts all the more, “Son of David, son of David, have mercy on me, heal me.” In other words, he’s saying, “Restore me.”
So look at what Jesus does. Jesus stops, so they’re going up to Jerusalem, he stops the caravan. And he tells his disciples or he tells somebody, one of his associates, and he says, “Hey, call him.” So they call the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
“Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and he comes to Jesus.” Now, verse 51, “‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
We have to ask this question because remember, I just talked about how Jesus is the king. Jesus is the descendant of David. So as King, what does he do? He heals somebody. So then we have to ask this question: what’s the relationship between kingship or kingdom and healing? Because both of those collide here. Jesus functions as king, but not so much ruling here, but he functions as king, sort of as a healer. Remember in Matthew 11, turn with me here to Matthew 11. Perhaps this passage came to mind as you were thinking about this.
Matthew 11:2–5. Remember John is in prison. John’s trying to figure out, is Jesus the Messiah? Because it looks like he is, but he just isn’t quite sure because the problem is that Rome is still in authority. So there’s this awkward, “Okay, you may be the Messiah, but where’s your kingdom? Where’s your rule? How is it being exercised?”
“After Jesus had finished instructing the twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.” Verse 2: “When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” Watch what Jesus says in reply to this question. In other words, John is saying, are you the messiah? Now look at Jesus’s answer. “Jesus replied, ‘Go back, report to John what you have heard and seen.’” Now here it is. He’s going to give us two Old Testament quotations.
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, and those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
He doesn’t say anything in here about ruling, he doesn’t cite 2 Samuel 7, he doesn’t cite Psalm 2. He cites a text about healing people. That’s fascinating. But he cites it as a demonstration, as a validation of his messiahship. And so I think this is why he does it. The first quotation is taken from Isaiah 35. So again, turn with me now. Now we hurry up and go to Isaiah 35, and I want you to see this is very important. Quotes are whenever you have quotations, you got to go back and you have to hunt them down.
Isaiah 35, we’re going to pick it up in verse 5: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened.” You see this whole idea of Israel’s coming out of Babylonian captivity, and she’s on the road. Imagine Israel going on the highway, going to retrace her steps once again. They’re going to go back to the Promised Land.
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there.” See, all these people are coming out. “It will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way.” Now look at this. This is key. “The unclean will not journey on it.”
In other words, Israel, when she comes out of captivity, they will all be restored. They will be resurrected. There will be no lame. There will be no blind. They will be fully restored individuals when they come back into the Promised Land. When they come and be a part of God’s eternal kingdom, they will be fully restored individuals. And so what Jesus is doing here in Mark 10 is that he’s ushering in the new creation. That’s what he’s doing. Every time when he heals a blind person, when he heals a lame person, those are little sparks, imagine little new creational sparks. He’s fulfilling Isaiah 35 every time he heals somebody. This is a New Creation text. It’s a demonstration that he is actually the king. He’s the messiah. He’s bringing it all in. It’s a fascinating, fascinating text. Doesn’t it just want to drive you to your knees and worship? Worship the one who brings about the new creation, worship the one who brings about healing.
Worship the one who brings about the new creation, worship the one who brings about healing.Because here, even though we’re Christians, and even though we’re spiritually resurrected, our bodies are not. Our bodies are still in the old age. We’re prone to disease. We’re prone to suffering. But one day when our bodies will come together with our spirit, we will be fully restored. That’s the way that we are intended to be. That’s how we’re going to be in the new heavens and new earth. So even though things may be difficult, we do have all these sufferings, we have infirmities, but Jesus, his goal is to fully restore us, just as he did here with blind Bartimaeus.
Now back to this idea here with Jesus healing. In the Old Testament, before we move on, in the Old Testament, who’s the one who heals? There’s only one person who heals in the Old Testament: Yahweh. He’s the only one who heals. Exodus 4: “The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”
We can cite text after text that talks about giving sight is reserved for Yahweh alone. So what does this tell us about Jesus when he goes around giving sight to the blind? Wait a minute, only Yahweh can do this, Jesus is doing it, Jesus must be Yahweh incarnate. So now the picture is emerging. We now not only have Jesus as the long-awaited king, we have Jesus as the long-awaited divine king. Now, this will take time for it to get worked out, but we do see it already here in Mark’s Gospel.
Jesus Will Heal True Israel from Spiritual Blindness by His Death and Resurrection
As I said before, blind Bartimaeus—and this where I am going to bring the cross into view—blind Bartimaeus, he symbolizes whom? He symbolizes Israel. Mark 8, the first blind person symbolizes the disciples. Mark 10, this individual Bartimaeus, he’s going to symbolize Israel.
Because I think this would explain why it’s placed right before Jesus goes into town, because he’s going into Jerusalem to suffer, die, and be raised. So the question is: why did we have a healing right before these huge events? Of all the things that Jesus does, why does he heal a blind person? Well, because Israel is blind. So here it is: just as he heals Bartimaeus, so too will he heal Israel.
What’s fascinating is that in Mark 15, at the crucifixion, Jesus is on the cross. We get a confession that’s pretty similar to Bartimaeus’s confession. Mark 15:39. Listen to this.
“And when the centurion.” Not a Jew, a gentile. Not just any gentile, a Roman gentile. Not just a Roman gentile, but a soldier. Not just any soldier, but a centurion. What does he say? “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died.” What does he say? “Surely this man was the son of God!” I think that these two phrases, “son of God,” the confession here of the centurion at the cross is close to what Bartimaeus is saying, “Son of David, son of David.” And then we finally get Jesus healing Israel at the cross and the confession is made not by an ethnic Jew, but by ironically, a pagan gentile.
Jesus is now beginning to heal the remnant, he’s healing true Israel, and the first one who makes it in is actually a Roman soldier.
Jesus is Israel’s great king-healer who has come to bring about physical and spiritual restoration.The main point of this text is that—whenever you look at a text, you always have to figure out what the main point is—the main point of this text here in Mark 10 is that Jesus is Israel’s great king-healer who has come to bring about physical and spiritual restoration. That’s the main point, so if you leave with something, please leave with that.
Some of us hear as students. We may be blind. We may see physically, but perhaps we’re spiritually blind to God’s working. Would you have identified Jesus? “You’re the son of David.”
What about in our studies? Or what about with our families? Are we blind to what God is doing with them? Are you blind to what God is doing with your spouse? How he’s working with them and moving in their lives and using things to bring about his will for his glory? Are you blind to those? I mean, this is something that I have to ask myself. Do I have eyes to see? Because the more that I sin, the more that I commit idolatry, my eyes become dim. I don’t see God working like I should.
But the more that I’m in his Word, the more that I pray, I can actually see God working. See God working with my wife, working with my children, working just generally in life. We can only do this by relishing in the crucified Messiah. You want to have eyes to see? You have to embrace a crucified king. You have to think about that day in and day out. You have to think about this messiah’s resurrection. You know, it’s becoming part of evangelicalism to use the term “gospel-centered.” And that’s great, I think we should use it. But the problem is that sometimes there’s no reference to gospel: the gospel is Christ’s death and resurrection.
So if you aren’t thinking about Christ’s death and resurrection on a daily basis, if you don’t relish in that, then you aren’t relishing in the gospel. That’s what Christians do: you relish in the crucified messiah.
Bartimaeus Gives Us an Example of Obeying Jesus’s Call to Kingdom Living
Now, my last point is obeying Jesus’s call to kingdom living. Turn back, I was in Isaiah 35, let’s go back now to Mark 10. Obeying Jesus’s call to kingdom living. Mark is going to highlight Bartimaeus’s dedication to Jesus, more so than the other two synoptics. He really focuses in on who Bartimaeus is and what he does, more so than Matthew and Luke. Let me give you a couple reasons why I think that’s the case.
1. Bartimaeus Answers Jesus’s Call to Follow
The first one here that I see in verse 52. Jesus gives a command, he says what? He says, “Go. Bartimaeus, go.” I think this recalls the calling of Peter and Andrew earlier in Mark’s Gospel, actually in Mark 1: Listen to what Jesus says there to Peter and Andrew. He says, “Come. Come on guys. Follow what I’m doing.” And he says the same thing to Bartimaeus. “Come on Bartimaeus. I’m headed to Jerusalem. I’m going to suffer and die. Be a part of what I’m doing.” So in other words, this is most likely a call to discipleship extended to Bartimaeus. Even this notion of following. I mean, look at this here at the end of the verse, “immediately he received his sight.” And what does he do? He followed. The same thing that happened with the disciples.
2. He Forsakes His Earthly Possessions
My second point here, as far as this notion of Bartimaeus’s faith, is that Bartimaeus, you notice, in verse 50, throwing his cloak aside. Bartimaeus, he throws his cloak aside. This is not all too dissimilar from what we get, again, in the calling of the disciples when they what? They forsake all. They leave behind their possessions, and they’re going to follow Jesus. In the same way, Bartimaeus is going to leave—I mean, this is probably all that he has. He’s a beggar. He’s not going to have many possessions at all. Really, the only ones that he has are the ones that are literally on his back. He gets rid of them. That symbolizes his worldly possessions. So he’s going to forsake that, and he’s going to follow this king.
3. He Perseveres and Is Named So He Can Bear Witness
Thirdly, I think this is actually the most fascinating, and that is his name. His name. Let’s look here in verse 46. “Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man.” Now watch how Mark phrases this. “A blind man, Bartimaeus (which means son of Timaeus).” Mark is the only synoptic to actually label him. In the other two we just have a blind man, or actually or in Mark we have two blind men. Mark is the only one that gives us his name. That’s intriguing. The second intriguing observation is Bartimaeus is not his name. Whose name is this? This is his dad’s name, his pop’s. *Bar is “son” in Aramaic. And so Mark actually says this, it’s son of Timaeus. We don’t know his name. He goes by—Mark, actually says, OK, this guy, we’re going to call him by his dad’s name.
Why would Mark do that? You have to kind of read between the lines. I think it’s because Bartimaeus had such a common name that it would be indistinguishable. In other words, John Smith, right? John Smith, that’s his name, John Smith. That’s not going to help us. John’s going to have to go by his dad’s name. And so what they’ll do then is, actually he’s labeled by his father’s name. So then the second observation, why is that important? Why is it important that he is named? In Mark 8, the blind man is not named. In fact, the majority of people that Jesus heals are not named. But then why are some named, like Jairus’s daughter? Why not just say, some guy’s daughter? Why Zacchaeus? That’s a pretty tough name. Just say some guy. A short guy, right, a short dude. Why Zacchaeus?
It’s probably getting back to this notion of eyewitness testimony. We have names that are preserved in the Gospel accounts. Because if you want to find out more about that healing, well you go and talk to them. Bartimaeus most likely stayed behind in Palestine, and he became an influential person in the early church. And so Mark’s readers, they may say, “You know what? I’m going to go; I’m going to find this guy. I’m going to hunt Bartimaeus down.” And he would go to Jerusalem, start talking around the very tightknit network, and say, “Where’ Bartimaeus?” “He’s over there.” So you’d hunt him down and you’d say, “Bartimaeus, tell me about Jesus. What was it like? What was it like traveling with him? What was it like being in Jerusalem with him? What was it like when he healed you?”
Will we be like Bartimaeus?And so it gives the readers, it gives the audience, an opportunity to hunt these guys down and to experience this episode one more time, but to actually hear it from the person who was there. It’s fascinating. What we can draw from that is this idea of Bartimaeus hung in there. He persevered unto the end. We have texts where Jesus will heal somebody, but then they quickly jump ship. They’re not on board with what Jesus is doing. Not so with Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus will persevere because he’s named. This guy stuck with Jesus. He followed him. He was a disciple. Now he’s going to disciple others.
What we’re left with here: One, Jesus is this great healing divine King. Two is we need to be like Bartimaeus. When Mark’s audience is reading this account, they need to identify themselves with blind Bartimaeus. Mark wants the audience to say, “That’s the son of David. That’s a divine healer.” And so we are sort of in Bartimaeus’s shoes. But the question is, will we persevere like Bartimaeus? Will we press on in our faith whatever the case may be? Some of us in here will probably not. I hope most of us in here will continue on in our faith, but the question is, will we be like Bartimaeus? That is the question that the text leaves us.