One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Sunday, March 2, 2014: Mark 10:32-52
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!” Mark 10:46-47 (NKJV)
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels. They are called this because they are so similar. "Syn" means "together" and "optic" means "seeing." These three Gospels are at times almost identical. They "see together" the story of Jesus. They often tell the same stories but from a slightly different perspective.
Bartimaeus is a blind man that shows up in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). He is a "nobody" who becomes a picture of the grace of God. He was a man with no identity who speaks to us of the infinite love of the Master.
We need to look a little closer at this man Bartimaeus. In many ways, he is a picture of you and me.
1. Bartimaeus really had no name.
His name in the Bible is really nothing more than a statement of family. "Bar" means "son of". Bartimaeus is not really a name. It simply says that this man was "the son of Timaeus." His father never gave him a name.
2. Bartimaeus was an outcast.
Why in the world would Timaeus never give his son a proper name? The key may lie in his blindness. Bartimaeus lived in Jericho, a border town. Venereal disease was rampant in these crossroads cities. If a mother had gonorrhea, her child could actually be infected and born blind. It was venereal disease of the eyes. This was not at all uncommon. We do not know this for sure, but it is possible that Bartimaeus was born blind because of the venereal disease of his mother.
If this is the case, he would have been an outcast of Jewish society -- marked from birth as the child of sin. In the culture of those day, he would have been labeled and rejected from day one.
In a sense, we are all like Bartimaeus. We are born in sin, and blind from birth (Eph. 2:2-3; II Co. 4:4). We inherited death from our father Adam
3. Bartimaeus had to make a major decision.
Despite the rebukes of the crowd, Baritmaeus kept crying out. He made a decision to meet Jesus. He had heard of this miracle worker. He would not remain quiet while his deliverance came so near.
4. Bartimaeus threw off the old way of seeing himself.
Mark 10:50 says that when Jesus called for Bartimaeus, he "threw off his garment" and came to Jesus. The garment of a beggar was tattered and dirty. It was so recognizable that a beggar could be spotted easily. It was part of who he was.
The garments of a beggar are nothing to brag about. But, remember this, it was all he had. It was all he had to keep him warm on a cold night. It was his pillow on the street. Those rags may have been ugly, but they were all he had. He threw them off!
5. Jesus looked Bartimaeus in the eye.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus a strange question. Jesus knew that he was blind, yet He still asked what seemed to be obvious. "What do you want Me to do for you?" There are two ways we can view this question. On one side, we might think Jesus wants to Bartimaeus to name his need. This is valid in that God wants us to be specific in our requests.
But there is another way of seeing this. Bartimaeus was a "nobody." The God of the universe kneels down to become the servant of a man no one respects. Jesus does this to us. He kneels and says, "How can I help you?" "How can I meet your need?"
6. Bartimaeus knew what he wanted.
What would you ask for if Jesus would grant your request? He repeatedly beckons us in Scripture to make our request known. Bartimaues was clear in what he wanted -- his eyesight. This is key to our progress. God wants us to be specific with Him in our prayers.
7. Bartimaeus became a follower.
The final word in this story is, Bartimaeus "followed Jesus on the road." It all comes down to following Jesus. Christianity is not about keeping rules or doing good deeds. It is about following the Son of God. It is about being a disciple. The greatest praise anyone can offer is immitation. Our goal is to die to ourselves so that we can become flesh-and-blood representatives of the greatest Man that ever lived.
Batimaeus may have been a "nobody". But, he became one of the greatest men of history -- all because of Who me met and Who he followed. That's amazing grace.