I love some of the small passages in Scripture we usually just skim over, thinking that we “know” what they say. But these passages can teach us so much if we stop to think about them! One such passage is Mark 10:46-52 — the healing of Blind Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus used to sit on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem — a fairly popular spot for a beggar to set up shop. Many wealthy people lived in Jericho where the weather was a bit nicer, and catching them as they left the city to head to Jerusalem was actually a pretty shrewd tactic. Heartstrings could more easily be plucked as pilgrims traveled to and from their spiritual capital city!
Bartimaeus must have sensed a special commotion along the road that day and picked up on the murmurs spreading through the crowd — “It’s Jesus! Jesus of Nazareth!”
I think we can safely surmise that Bartimaeus knew something about Jesus and the miracles He’d performed. He’d apparently heard enough to believe that Jesus really was the Messiah, the promised deliverer of God’s people, because he uses the Messianic title “Son of David” when crying out to the Lord.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Can’t you just see those around Bartimaeus shushing him, maybe even pushing him aside to grasp their own opportunity to see Jesus or get His attention? But Bartimaeus cried even louder.
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Then the unbelievable happened. Jesus stopped and called for him to come. And this is what grabs my attention. When Bartimaeus heard that call, he threw off his cloak and jumped to his feet. Now that cloak was probably dusty and ragged, a patched-up relic of years of humiliating, exhausting, disappointing begging. In all likelihood, it was the only thing he owned. And when Jesus called him, he threw it aside without hesitation. It struck me how that one action was his statement of faith, if you will. He was choosing to lay aside everything he had known to that point — everything that had identified him — in order to be healed.
And don’t you love what happens next? Sight restored, Bartimaeus begins to follow Jesus “along the road” — no cloak in sight.
There is so much we can learn about ourselves from Bartimaeus. How persistent are we in calling on the Lord, even when others try to discourage us? How quickly do we give up in our asking?
How readily do we confess our needs to the Lord — our own blindness, our own poverty, our own desperation?
What are we willing to cast aside to respond to Him? What do we cling to, unwilling to release even as we long for the healing that comes from Him?
When Jesus calls you to Himself, you need to be ready to leave behind the familiar cloaks of your old way of life without Him. He will receive you and forgive you, heal the wounds sin has inflicted and give you a brand-new life as you closely follow Him along the road. All you really need to do is ask. In this glorious case, beggars really can be choosers!
Blessings to you,