As the Lord Jesus made His final approach to Jerusalem, and the cross where He would give His life, He passed through old Jericho, and then toward new Jericho where a diminutive man anxiously awaited His passing. It was here in this little stretch of road, smothered by a horde of people and dust, that another man named Bartimaeus sat pathetically begging. His life may not have been long, but it was full of one humbling, frustrating experience after another. He could not see. As such, he was a burden to his parents, unable to support a family, and incapable of earning even a meager existence outside of pleading for others to toss him a few coins. But one opportunity was afforded to him. The one they called the Messiah, or the Son of David, would pass by near to him.
The road was full of people heading to Jerusalem for the Passover. Among those following the Lord were His disciples who were still trying to understand who He was. Others, no doubt, followed just to look for flaws or produce some accusation against the Lord. Still others came along just for the ride, hoping to experience the thrill of watching a potential miracle. They were all waiting for something. But Bartimaeus had one earnest need, one pressing desire, and one urgent matter that must be resolved.
As the mass of people surged within earshot of Bartimaeus, he knew his moment had arrived. He was determined that he would cast all aside and make a desperate call to the one he believed to be the Son of David. Yet, despite his earnest, heart-wrenching plea for mercy, there were voices in the crowd shouting him down. Perhaps this might lead him to conclude that Jesus would have no more use for him than anyone else or that he was not worth the Savior’s attention. But he cried out all the more, possibly knowing that the Lord had had mercy on others who were without sight. Blindly, without fear, trusting the words of Isaiah 55:6, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near,” Bartimaeus pled for mercy.
The crowd was stunned. Jesus, the Lord of the universe, stood still at the humble cry of a blind beggar. He commanded the man to come. Suddenly, the fickle crowd changed their tune saying, “Be of good cheer,” and quickly urged Bartimaeus to come. Knowing he had one precious opportunity, he threw off his cloak, likely his only earthly possession, and came to Jesus.
The conversation was simple, direct, and earnest. Both parties were prepared; one sought mercy, the other was ready and willing to bestow grace. The Lord wanted to hear directly from Bartimaeus. It seemed obvious to all around, but the need had to be confessed from the one seeking mercy. Bartimaeus blurted, “Rabboni, let me recover my sight!” In calling Him, “Rabboni,” he showed that he understood that Jesus was the Lord and Master of the universe. Immediately, at the Word of the Lord, Bartimaeus received his sight. No touching occurred, no balm was created with moisture, no reassurance from the crowd was necessary. Bartimaeus received his sight and was made whole, simply through resting on the Word of God.
Can you identify with Bartimaeus as being spiritually blind concerning God’s salvation and beggarly poor as to the currency of heaven? If so, answer His call and come, trusting His word for salvation today.