Bartimaeus: Darkness to Discipleship
“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)
- Disillusionment and darkness:
Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, was born blind. That gave him no option for productive life. He had to depend on the charity, goodness of people who pass by and mercy of others. He was sitting by the roadside begging. He did not have any sense of dignity or identity. Alas, there was no bright future or hope. Without possibility restoration of his eyes or healing, his life was filled with darkness, agony and misery.
- Discovery & Discernment:
Bartimaeus made the greatest discovery of his life. He had heard about Lord Jesus Christ who was teaching, healing and forgiving people who came to him. In His mind, he had a conviction that the Messiah expected by the Nation of Israel was Lord Jesus Christ. Bartimaeus was aware that the prophets who foretold, was about this Lord Jesus. While those normal people who could see, including Pharisees were not able to discern Lord Jesus Christ as the anticipated Messiah, Bartimaeus could. Bartimaeus was physically blind but was able to see with his spiritual eyes and spiritually discern that Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.
When Bartimaeus heard Jesus was crossing the point at which he was sitting and begging, he responded quickly and courageously. Opportunities may come only once in our life time. These opportunities could fly off like birds. These opportunities would not come in the same way again. The time was right for Bartimaeus to call upon the Saviour. This was the right time, opportune time. A few minutes delay will plunge his life into eternal darkness and hopelessness.
The cry, prayer and plea of Bartimaeus caused disturbance to all people. The disciples must have wondered, who this person was. The crowd must have considered Bartimaeus as a nuisance and nonsense. There were some who tried to silence him by rebuking him. May be some would have offered him some coins to buy his silence. There could be some hot headed people who would have threatened him to keep silence. Rebuke, money or threats could not stop him from pleading and praying. Instead of helping him to come closer to Lord Jesus Christ, people were trying to keep him where he was – sitting and begging.
- Distraction or Attraction:
The prayers and pleadings of Bartimaeus was a distraction to the disciples and the crowd around Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the same was an attraction to Lord Jesus Christ. The cry of the poor and needy reaches Lord Jesus Christ. He stopped! (Mark 10:49) Our prayers are not distraction to Lord Jesus Christ, but attracts him towards us. Our prayers could be distraction to the disciples and the crowd around him, but never to Lord Jesus Christ. It may be nuisance and nonsense to humans around us, but it certainly makes ‘new sense’ to our Lord.
Bartimaeus prayers were heard. Lord Jesus Christ said: ‘Call Him’. (Mark 10:49) The attention of the whole crowd turned towards the blind Bartimaeus. Those who rebuked him, harassed him, terrorized him and ignored him, spoke to him and invited him to Lord Jesus Christ. When God hears our prayers, the world is astonished. Lord whom he had to cry out to be heard, is near him. The distance between him and Lord Jesus Christ disappears. Bartimaeus throws off the cloak and runs to Lord Jesus Christ.
- Divine Power
Lord Jesus Christ wanted to know the real desire of Bartimaeus. Will Bartimaeus ask for a home instead of living on streets? Will he ask for an income generating project? Is his desire for some agricultural land and food for his life time? Will he ask for a wife, who would take care of him? His desire and focus was on one critical need that will change his whole life. If his eyes are restored, he can have food or money or home or wife. Bartimaeus did not opt for easy money or laziness but restoration of his sight. God’s power was manifest as Bartimaeus was a man of faith. God’s power restored his sight, affirmed his faith and set him on a new spiritual journey.
Disillusioned destitute got a new meaning for his life, new sense of direction and new purpose for his future. Instead of sitting, now he will be following Lord Jesus Christ. His pitiable identity of being a beggar has been transformed, now a honorable disciple of Lord Jesus Christ. Beggar becomes benefactor of blessings to others. Restoring Bartimaeus sight, Lord Jesus Christ gave him freedom to go and enjoy his life on this earth. However, Bartimaeus made a choice to become disciple or follower of Lord Jesus Christ. Following Lord Jesus is a voluntary choice and not a compulsory option.
There was a huge crowd following Lord Jesus Christ. Most probably, all were able to see well except for Bartimaeus. The crowd remained a crowd, while a blind Bartimaeus became a disciple. Bartimaeus cried, Lord Jesus Christ called and the result was transformation. Let us call upon Lord Jesus Christ. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)