May 26, 2013
Mark 10:46-52

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[Mark 10:46-48] “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. 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!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Q: Is there a contradiction between Mark, Matthew, and Luke’s setting of this scene?

Mark and Matthew indicate that Jesus had come to Jericho and was now leaving the city when this scene unfolds.... “They came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho.”

Luke 18:35.... “Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho.” 

A#1: The Gospel writers are describing two different cities.... making it fairly easy to be traveling out of and going into Jericho at the same time.

1. Ancient City of Jericho.

The O.T. Canaanite city had been rebuilt following its destruction. 

2. Herodian Jericho. 

Constructed by King Herod just south from the old city. 

Populated by the wealthy religious and political establishment.

A#2: The Gospel writers are describing two similar, but separate events.

Difference between Luke and Mark is the fact Mark includes the man’s name.

Matthew’s account is similar, but also features a few noticeable differences:

1. There are two blind men.

2. When Jesus heals them we’re told, “He had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight.”

Scene of Activity

As Jesus - the disciples - and a great multitude make their way out of the old city and into the new one the scene shifts to an interesting character: 

Mark says, “Blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging.” 

Character Profile:

1. We know his name. “Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.”

Significant: We rarely are given the name of those Jesus miraculously healed.

It is generally believed that the early church knew this man as a disciple of Jesus.

2. We know his condition. “Blind Bartimaeus.”

Note: The word “blind” is an adjective in the Greek.

Not only was his blindness a condition, but it was also his identity.

“Bartimaeus” means “son of the unclean one.”

Doctrine of Theistic Karma (all religion) taught:
  • Sickness was the consequence of a person’s sin.
  • Birth Defects were the consequence of a parents sin.

Hinduism: Birth defects are explained as the byproduct of the sin committed in one’s previous life (the doctrinal basis of reincarnation).

It would have been the religious conclusion that Bartimaeus was blind because of either the sin of his parents, or his own. (Could have been a venereal disease.)

3. We know his activity. “Bartimaeus sat by the road begging.”

“Bartimaeus sat” - In a world on the move Bartimaeus was stuck! 

He sat in judgment. He sat in hopelessness. He sat begging for help. 

Jericho was a great place to beg for 3 reasons:
  • It was a city of affluence - expendable income.
  • It was a city with a high moral reputation - charitable.

  • It was the main stop on the journey to Jerusalem to worship - conviction.

4. We see his faith. “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!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Scene of Activity

Bartimaeus is sitting at the gate when he hears a commotion in the distance.

He frantically begins asking someone to tell him what’s happening.

An unnamed bystander tells him “Jesus of Nazareth” was coming by.

It seems that Bartimaeus had heard the stories of Jesus (how he had caused the blind to see), and from his response it would appear what he had heard had led him to 2 incredible conclusions:

1. Who Jesus was.... “Jesus, Son of David.” 

“Son of David” was an Old Testament name for the Messiah.

B-Side: Provide an extended examination of the term Son of David.

2. What Jesus could do.... “Have mercy on me!”

Grace: Jesus giving us what we don’t deserve.

Mercy: Jesus withholding what we do deserve.

Bartimaeus believed his present condition was the product of sin and therefore he was experiencing the righteous judgment of God. 

Because of this, Bartimaeus made no excuses for his condition, nor did he claim unfair treatment by God. 

His appeal to Jesus was therefore, not on the basis of Jesus’ compassion, but instead a plea for His mercy.

Note: Bartimaeus’ faith was also desperate and undeterred. 

Mark says “many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more.” 

Bartimaeus knew this might be his only chance to encounter Jesus!

[Mark 10:49] “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.”

For weeks Jesus has been on a direct and deliberate journey towards Jerusalem, and yet upon hearing the cries of Bartimaeus Mark tells us that “Jesus stood still.” 

The cry of faith immediately stopped the pace of Jesus in its tracks.

B-Side: Jesus heard the cry of a desperate man and He used others to call him.

Observation: Jesus is never so busy that He won’t respond to the cry of faith!

Bartimaeus - his condition - and his cry for help are very relatable!

As with Bartimaeus, Jesus will respond to the cry of faith!

1. The cry of faith begins with humility! 

Humility: Seeing yourself as nothing more than what God says that you are! 

Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no not one!” 

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

Bartimaeus understood an important reality.... Jesus owed him nothing! 

Whether by the sin of his parents, the sin of his own personal choices, or the universal consequences of living in a sinful world, Bartimaeus knew he deserved nothing more than he presently had! 

We make a tragic mistake when we ask God to give us what we believe we’re owed. David Guzik cautions against this when he warned, “Do you really want to start dealing with God on the basis of what you deserve?”

What do you deserve? Nothing more than hell and damnation!

Bartimaeus approached Jesus by offering no complaints - he provided no excuses - he levied no accusations - he provided no unfounded justifications.... 

Bartimaeus’ appeal was not to what he thought he needed - why he felt God owed him - or what he believed he deserved.... his appeal was simply to Jesus’ mercy! 

2. The cry of faith demonstrates persistence! 

There were those who tried to get Bartimaeus to shut up, but he kept crying out! 

Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you.”

Isn’t it sad how easily we often give up when we make our request known to Him?

3. The cry of faith produces expectancy! 

[Mark 10:50] “And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.”

Upon hearing the news, Bartimaeus does two things: 

A) “He threw aside his garment....”

There was in the first century what was called the “garment of the beggar” which was a unique coat that functioned as a “handicap sticker.” 

For a beggar it was the one thing that legitimized his need for charity.

“Throwing it aside” revealed his confidence that he would never need that garment again. Bartimaeus was so certain Jesus would heal him he let go of all security to come encounter the Son of David.

B) “He rose and came....” 

These two Greek words “rose and came” indicates Bartimaeus literally sprang to his feet and came with no intention of ever returning.

[Mark 10:51] “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.” 

Q: Why would Jesus ask him this question?

Wouldn’t his need (blindness) been obvious?

A: Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to be verbally specific.

His appeal to mercy was general, but the request to restore his sight was specific. 

Though the core of our prayers should be focused on seeing God’s will done on earth rather than mine accomplished in heaven.... please know.... it’s ok to bring your specific needs to Jesus. 

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Sadly, it’s often a lack of faith in God that causes us to generalize our prayers.

Bartimaeus’ response to Jesus, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”

“Rabboni” is the strengthened Aramaic form of the word for “Lord or Master.” 

The word is more than an acknowledgement of Jesus’ title or position, but it places Jesus’ position into a personal form. “Rabboni” literally means “my precious Lord.” 

John 20:16 - Mary Magdalena is the only other person to use this word.

[Mark 10:52] “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.”

Describe the Miracle: In order to receive his sight Jesus.... 

1. Healed his eyes so he could physically take in the image.... 

2. Programed his brain so he could chemically process the image.... 

3. Imparted visual memory so he could neurologically grasp what he was seeing.

B-Side: The incredible and complex process behind human vision.

Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well....”

Common Misconception: 

Your faith” - His faith in Jesus brought him to Jesus - the source of healing.

Faith alone is powerless because it depends on the object in which it’s placed. 

Faith didn’t heal him - Jesus healed Bartimaeus.

Significant: The source of healing is Jesus and not a person’s faith.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .

“Go your way.... he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”

B-Sides: The easiest way to tell whether a person is coming to Jesus for a new life or a life bandaid is what they do once Jesus has worked in their life. 

“Going your way” verses “following Jesus.”
.    .    .    .    .    .    .

It is not an accident Jesus choose the healing of Blind Bartimaeus in Jericho to be the final “healing miracle” of His earthly ministry.... 5 Significant Reasons:

1. Bartimaeus contrasted the Rich Young Ruler.

The Rich Young Ruler refused to sell all and was mired in self-righteousness.

Bartimaeus appealed for mercy and immediately left all to follow Christ.

2. Bartimaeus contrasted the Religious Establishment.

Religion had condemned Bartimaeus and provided no remedy for his condition.

Jesus not only heals him, but attributes the work to his faith in Him - not works.

3. Bartimaeus contrasted the Blind Disciples.

The hardness of their hearts had blinded the disciples as to the will of Jesus.

Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus removed his blindness and enable sight.

Like James and John, he didn’t bargain for position or status. He doesn’t come wanting to be the greatest in the Kingdom or to sit at the right hand of Jesus. If only disciples could have seen Jesus and what He was about to do clearly!

4. Bartimaeus contrasts the Unbeliever.

Bartimaeus heard - believed - cried out in faith - responded to a call from a friend - and then.... Bartimaeus stepped out into the darkness believing an encounter with Jesus would save him from his present condition. 

Note: Bartimaeus had no problems being led to a person he could not see.

Bartimaeus new his condition - wanted to be freed from his condition - and immediately jumped at the opportunity to encounter Jesus. 

If Bartimaeus didn’t put it off to another day or another time.

5. Jesus contrasted Joshua.

“Jesus of Nazareth” was traveling into Jericho.

The English name “Jesus” originates from the Latin form of the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Yeshua.” If you translate from Hebrew to English, you get “Joshua.”

Note: Connection between Jesus and the O.T. Joshua.

It was Joshua (not Moses) who brought the people into the land of promise! 

Moses was not allowed to lead the people because the Law could never bring a person into the promises of God. This is why Jesus is his successor. 

Joshua’s ministry began by dividing of the waters of the Jordan. 

Jesus’ ministry began at the same location, but it was not the waters that parted - the heavens opened and the Spirit descended instead.

The greatest miracle preformed by Joshua was during the battle against the Amorites when he prayed and the sun stood still giving the Israelites the victory.

Jesus’ final miracle: Bartimaeus cried out and the Son stood still!

Note: This is not the first time a Joshua has entered Jericho.

In the O.T. when Joshua had arrived to Jericho he had come to destroy the wicked.

When Jesus arrived He didn’t have destruction in mind, but rather salvation!