“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
Bartimaeus was blind and had been reduced to begging for his daily sustenance. He was ignored and marginalized by the culture. He was an outcast and considered to be expendable, yet this man boldly confesses that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, boldly believes and asks for his sight, sees clearly, and upon seeing clearly the restored “son of honor,” he follows Jesus on the road to shame and dishonor.
The type of faith and praying that the Lord treasures:
1. Bartimaeus RECOGNIZES/AFFIRMS that Jesus is the long awaited “Son of David” (2 Samuel 7:14-16; Mark 10:47-48). (“Rabboni” in verse 51 is a term of greater respect than a common “Rabbi”).
2. A PERSISTENT BELIEF IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION “Many rebuked him telling him to be silent…” (v 48) Bartimaeus was spoken to sternly (i.e. rebuked) by those around him (Luke 9:42; 17:3-4).
Bartimaeus acknowledged his need. He was FULLY AWARE OF HIS BROKENNESS AND NEED. Helping Broken People Treasure Jesus.
He had a BOLD FAITH which compelled him to believe that Jesus was able to do what was exceedingly more than all he could ask or think (v 50).
- He threw off his cloak/leaving the old behind
- He sprang to his feet/jumped up in anticipation
- He came to Jesus
1. The nature of faith is a looking outside of ourselves to the one who is almighty God.
2. Faith is persistent.
New City Catechism
Q38: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.
3. Our weaknesses and hardships keep us humble and focused (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
(The thorn in the flesh) “kept Paul from imagining himself as a spiritual superman, and revealed to him the reality of his human mortality and weakness despite his extraordinary revelations. The ‘thorn’ also kept Paul pinned close to the Lord, in trust and confidence.” Barnett, The Message of 2 Corinthians: Power and Weakness, p. 178
4. Believers have the opportunity of “believing big.” Bartimaeus could’ve asked for food or money but he asked for that which was his ultimate and deepest need. It is possible to see Jesus as the Messiah, Son of David, and receive him as Savior but not glory in the fact that he restores, builds, and conquers as we follow in obedience.
“That it may please You to keep us in all time of temptation and heaviness; to comfort and help all the weak-hearted; to raise up them that fall, and finally to BEAT DOWN SATAN UNDER OUR FEET.” A Liturgy/Order of Christian Worship for the German Reformed Church (1858)
“Therefore, let us not cease so to act that we may make some unceasing progress in the way of the Lord. And let us not despair at the slightness of our success; for even though attainment may not correspond to desire, when today outstrips yesterday the effort is not lost. Only let us look toward our mark with sincere simplicity and aspire to our goal; not fondly flattering ourselves, nor excusing our own evil deeds, but with continuous effort striving toward this end: that we may surpass ourselves in goodness until we attain to goodness itself. It is this indeed, which through the whole course of life we seek and follow.” John Calvin, Institutes, p. 689
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil," Hebrews 2:14
"And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts." Malachi 4:3
The battle cry of the believer: "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:31-32
1. How did James/John and Bartimeaus respond to the question from the Lord “What do you want me to do for you?” How do their responses reveal the inclinations of their hearts?
2. What does it mean to “believe big”?
3. Why is it necessary to be aware of our need and brokenness as we approach the Lord?
4. What does it mean to say “we can know the Lord as our savior and redeemer but not continue to grapple with the fact that he is the one who restores, renews, and refreshes on a daily basis as we come to him”?
5. What are some truths we can glean from the quote by John Calvin?