All the events depicted in Scripture are given to reveal spiritual truth as well as to show the power of the Lord. The story of blind Bartimaeus is more than an historical narrative; it is a picture of what true faith is all about.
“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:46-47).
Bartimaeus, the son (bar) of Timaeus was a beggar. As soon as he knew that Jesus was nearby, he called out to Him. He may have been blind in body, but not in his soul, for he knew who Jesus was. The priests and the rabbis were the ones who were truly blind. Bartimaeus understood Jesus to be the Messiah foretold by the prophets. Here was a man who had seen none of the miracles that Jesus performed, instead he simply heard what was happening and was able to line it up with what he knew of God’s word. He believed that the Lord could heal him even though he had seen no evidence of the reports he had received about Jesus’ miracles.
Paul teaches that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), and the story of Bartimaeus confirms the words of the Lord, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). We too are not allowed to see Jesus with our bodily eyes, but we can still believe that everything told about Him is true. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). We have the word of God to encourage us. Such faith is at the very heart of salvation and God’s mighty work in our lives. The blind man’s simple faith caused him to cry out for the Lord’s merciful touch. This is what praying in faith really means.
“And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:48).
Bartimaeus did not receive any encouragement when he began to call upon the name of the Lord, but he was determined not to be held back by unbelievers. He did not let the rebukes of those around him hinder his faith in the Messiah. Instead of being quiet, he yelled even louder until everyone knew he was calling for Jesus’ to help him.
It does not matter what the world thinks about us when we call upon the Lord in prayer. They may look down on us as did the people of Jericho on a blind beggar, but they will never receive anything from the Lord unless they call upon Him too. We should never listen to those who seek to hinder our faith.
Why are people so hard-hearted when it comes to seeking Christ? Why are they so easily put off when the Lord begins to move in their lives? The answer is that they do not see their true spiritual condition and the seriousness of their sin. They are not convinced that they are sinful enough to be damned to the fires of Hell. It is only when a person sees their guilt will they call out to Jesus to be saved. Only those who come to Christ for mercy can be healed of the sin disease.
“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (Marl 10:49-52).
Bartimaeus received the answer to his prayer. His faith in Jesus brought about the healing he desperately needed. Jesus told him to go his way, but he chose to follow the Lord. Not only did he have simple faith, strong faith, but also serious faith. He was serious about whom he had put his faith in. The very people who rebuked him praised God when they saw Bartimaeus healed, following and glorifying God, “And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God” (Luke 18:43). He would not have been a powerful witness to the Lord’s mercy if he did not have serious faith in Christ.
Those who have been set free by Jesus ought to follow Him, that is, obey His word. The Lord can only draw those who follow Him nearer to the cross, the pathway of holiness and true faith. The ones for whom Christ shed His blood ought to devote themselves wholeheartedly to Him. “For the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Those who boast that they are born again, but do not follow the Lord in their daily lives, are miserable deceivers. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they” and only they, “are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
If Bartimaeus had been quiet that day he would have missed his opportunity to meet Jesus for ever. The Lord never went to Jericho again. How many people have used up their last chance to call upon the Lord today?
Have we had our eyes opened by God’s Holy Spirit? “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1:18-19). If we have, then we ought to prove it by following the Lord every day of our lives.