Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mark 10:46-52

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 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!” 48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

Jesus having come into the region of Judea on His way to Jerusalem by way of the ancient region and city of Jericho a city which was on a common travel route which linked to Capernaum north and south and Jerusalem east and west. In N.T. times the city of Jericho actually lay two kilometers south of the O.T. location. And it was near here that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and received the Holy Spirit from His Father when He began His public ministry. Now Jericho lies 800ft below sea level at the foot of the ascent to the Judean Mountains amongst which Jerusalem is situated some 2500ft above sea level. And thus serves as a wonderful metaphor for Jesus Christ’s ascension towards His destiny; a crucifixion death outside of the walls of Jerusalem by which He will save believing mankind from sin and death. For it’s not Jerusalem the holy city that saves men and women, its Christ’s cross (John 3:16). Now the passage says Jesus having come into the city of Jericho; and likely having preached and or healed there, that as He went out of the city, a great multitude followed Him and His disciples, and it was while this great procession was walking along the road with Jesus and His disciples going towards Jerusalem that a blind man named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road begging (vs. 46). The significance of which was that when the blind beggar Bartimaeus, heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming towards Him that he begins to loudly cry out, saying: …“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” vs. 47

Now the passage says that as Bartimaeus did this, many people warned him to be quiet. In Luke’s gospel it gives some additional information saying that those who went before Jesus and the disciples warned him that he should be quiet (Luke 19:39). These were probably men who wanted to make sure the road was clear so as to keep the Lord’s progress from being hindered. They likely thought what they were doing what was right, as the disciples previously did when they similarly rebuked those who wanted to bring their children to Jesus so that He might bless them, but which only made Jesus greatly displeased when they did (Mark 10:13-16). Nonetheless though they warned him to be quiet Bartimaeus, would not be dissuaded; instead the Scripture says he cried out all the more, again saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” vs. 47 The significance of calling Jesus the Son of David is that Bartimaeus is acknowledging Jesus as the heir of King David's throne and thus the Messiah. Suffice it to say that Bartimaeus' literal blindness did not keep him spiritually blind from Christ while "seeing" Israel largely remained blinded and remains blinded until this day.

Therefore Bartimaeus would not be silenced, instead he kept calling out to Jesus, even after the people warned him not to; for to be quiet at such a time as this might be to lose the only chance he might ever have to connect with Christ. A chance he wasn’t going to take. And so with Bartimaeus’ continuing to do so, Jesus commands that he be brought to Him. Now when Jesus did so the people called to Bartimaeus, and said to him: “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” Vs. 49 Upon which Bartimaeus without hesitation throwing aside his garment rises and immediately comes to Jesus (vs. 50); quite a contrast to the rich young ruler who wouldn't leave his possessions to follow Jesus ChristNow in doing so, Bartimaeus I believe, exemplifies a recklessness of faith (or maybe it is better described as an abandonment of ones life for Christ) that God always honors when anyone’s heart desires to know Him.

Look people may not understand everything about Jesus; but when someone acts in faith on the revelation that they have, of what they understand of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. God, I believe, always responds personally to them as Jesus does here with Bartimaeus. Whether this is through their reading His Word, or hearing a sermon preached, or through a believer’s testimony, or a Bible tract, or a Christian artists song, or book, or even through creation itself, without my finite mind trying to define this. I believe in the God of infinite possibilities; who calls things that do not exist into being so that they do exist; who will directly speak to their heart in some way, to communicate something of Himself and His gospel to them that they might believe and be saved. Since that is why the Lord Jesus Christ became a Man to bring men and women into a personal relationship with God the Father through faith in Himself.

Now clearly Bartimaeus being Jewish had come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah who was to come through King David’s linage as the Scriptures declare. And that is all Bartimaeus knew. Yet for Bartimaeus it was enough at that time, because he put all his faith in the revelation God had given Him of His Son. And that is all that God requires of us to put our trust in what He has done to save us, through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar to do that, or be able to explain all the great prophetic mysteries of the Bible, all you need is faith. Mustard seed sized faith that God will grow up in you as you let more and more of His revelation take root in your heart. A revelation when properly understood always point's people to Jesus Christ, God's Son as testified to in the Scriptures as the only Person for our salvation, worship and adoration, not someone or something less than Him (Rev. 19:10).
And so when Bartimaeus is brought before Him, Jesus says to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” vs. 51 To which Bartimaeus responds: “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Vs. 41 Notice Bartimaeus publically calls Jesus “Rabboni”***, which is an Aramaic term meaning: “My Great Master.” Now this was an official title normally reserved for the President of the Sanhedrin counsel. Which was a religious counsel made up of the two prevailing Jewish theological parties in ancient Israel, the Sadducees and the Pharisees who ruled over the Jews regarding all their religious affairs, thus by so doing Bartimaeus was publically declaring that Jesus Christ was his one and only Lord. And with that great declaration of Jesus Christ’s Supremacy, not just a rabbi, but the Rabbi or Lord, Jesus says to him … “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Vs. 52 After which the Scripture says: …“And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” Vs. 52 Now in the gospel of Luke it also says that after Bartimaeus received his sight that he followed Jesus, glorifying God, And when all the people saw that he was healed from his blindness they also began praising God (Luke 19:43).

Now just as Jesus healed Bartimaeus of his physical blindness, so Jesus can heal you of your spiritual blindness. For the Lord Jesus Christ alone has the Power to heal your soul and restore you to God the moment you believe in Him. Jesus Christ is the One who can satisfy what you have been trying to satisfy by your own means for so long. So instead of trying or pursuing more of this and that which always leaves you feeling empty inside, just surrender your heart to His, invite Jesus in, and He will bring God's love, joy, peace into your heart and soul. For God's invitation to new and everlasting life is to all.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

Additional Resources
***W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

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