This Week’s Focus Passage: Mark 10:46ff. ‘And when he heard that it was Jesus, the Nazarene, he bega
This Week’s Focus Passage: Mark 10:46ff.
‘And when he heard that it was Jesus, the Nazarene, he began to cry out.’
We may read the account of a blind beggar in our focus passage this week:
And they come to Jericho: and as he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the way side. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and said, Call ye him. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good cheer: rise, he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, sprang up, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered him, and said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? And the blind man said unto him, Rabboni, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. And straightway he received his sight, and followed him in the way.—Mark 10:46-52.
Now, while there are, in point of fact, accounts in each of the other Synoptic gospels,
Matthew and Luke, which, to all appearances, are parallel passages with this account in Mark’s gospel. Indeed, some of the sentences are almost exactly the same as that found in Mark. Strangely enough, however, are the distinctions. Matthew’s account informs us that as Jesus ‘went out from Jericho,’ that, ‘behold, two blind men’ were sitting by the way side, and that ‘they’ cried out,’ and that ‘they’ cried out ‘Lord, have mercy upon us.’ And following that, the use of ‘they’ continued even unto ‘their’ both responding to Jesus’ question ‘what would ye that I do,’ with ‘Lord, that “our” eyes may be opened, upon which ‘Jesus touched “their” eyes, and “they” received “their” sight.’ So, were these reports of the same event? And then, in Luke’s account, we may read what very much sounds like a parallel with Mark, yet Luke refers to the individual as, ‘a certain blind man.’ Matthew neglects (?) to relate that his subjects were beggars, while Luke has forgotten (?) that there were two men. Do these distinctions definitely rule out that these are, all three, referencing the one and same account. It seems that this cannot be ruled out, and they are likely parallel views, though Mark is the only one who has named the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. In fact, this is the only place in our bibles where that name may be found at all.
The truly important thing to see and maintain, is that this is a beautiful illustration, given by our Savior, of the manner of salvation. These particulars do not vary whatever between Matthew, Mark, or Luke. They have, each one of them, by way of illustration, taught, or reminded, the reader that blindness is the common lot of all men. All mankind is born blind. Remember one of the dialogues between Jesus and the Pharisees. After Jesus had healed the blind man in the ninth chapter of John, He was saying to His hearers, For judgement came I into this world, that they that see not may see, and that they that see may become blind. Some of the Pharisees, among His audience responded, Are we also blind? The answer they received from Jesus was clear and unmistakable. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would have no sin: but now ye say, We see: your sin remaineth.
We are, each and every one of us, born blind and born beggars. The beggary is related to our depravity. In Adam, and in ourselves, we are totally depraved. Now that is not intended to mean that we are as wicked as possible. If we were, indeed, as wicked as possible; if all mankind were as wicked as possible, we would have a very Hell on Earth. What is intended by the term, total depravity, is that we are depraved in our entire being; we are absolutely helpless. We are therefore beggars, requiring help outside of ourselves. The sin of Adam was imputed to us. We came forth from our mother’s womb speaking lies. We were, as David wrote (Psalm 51) ‘born in sin, and conceived in iniquity.’ Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We all, each one of us, come into this world as blind beggars, just like depicted by blind Bartimaeus.
We must, therefore, take the place, as it were, of such blind beggars, and cry unto Jesus, ‘Lord, that I may receive my sight.’
This is why this account of Bartimaeus is such a lovely picture of salvation. We see, in this picture, our helpless condition. But we also see, in Bartimaeus, what must be done. We must cry unto Jesus, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus, of course, is the only Light, the Light of the World. Is this not precisely what is found in the beginning of John’s account of the Gospel? Has John not beautifully told us: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He goes on, saying, In him was life, and the life was the light of men. This blind man, Bartimaeus, by reason of that blindness, could not see. but he could hear. And Jesus was passing by, and Bartimaeus heard of it; and responded to it because, it follows, that God had done a work upon his heart. Yea, that promised work, declared through Ezekiel (36:26) A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
It is reasonable to presume that Bartimaeus had heard the promises that spoke of a righteous King that would come to save. He had likely heard the words out of Isaiah and the other prophets. They promised this King; this Son of David. He had heard of the promises of the coming Messiah; promises such as Isaiah 9:6-7:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness henceforth even for ever.
Why must we not imagine that Bartimaeus was familiar with Isaiah? Does this not explain his cry to Jesus, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me? Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was the Son given; the Prince, to sit upon the throne of David.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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April 30, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: Mark 10:46ff. ‘And when he heard that it was Jesus, the Nazarene, he bega