Bartimaeus had an insurmountable problem. In fact, he was known by it: Blind Bartimaeus. Scripture does not say if he was born blind, or if he became blind. It just says that he was blind.
In those days being handicapped like that had some very serious consequences. First, it meant you probably could not work, given the kind of work that might have been available Bible times. Second, it meant that there would be many who would have considered you cursed of God (See John 9: “Who did sin? This man or his parents that he was born blind?” – It was a question asked by the Lord’s disciples about another blind person.)
The only employment opportunity available for a man like Bartimaeus was to beg, a profession which had its own set of social stigmas attached to it.
Long story short, Bartimaeus had a miserable existence with no hope of any real change. In that sense, he was like anyone without Christ.
But he was a wise man, or at least very skilled in his trade. He knew where to set up shop. We know from the passage he was located at the edge of the city of Jericho: a prime spot for a beggar because you were right where everyone was coming and going. And as a blind beggar at the gate of the city, Bartimaeus heard things. Among the things he heard of was Jesus of Nazareth. We know this based on his response to when he heard that Jesus was in town and coming by his very location:
“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” Mark 10:47.
Bartimaeus saw Jesus for Who He was.
It was more than could be said for a lot of sighted people in his day, like the Pharisees. They only saw a lowly carpenter’s son. Bartimaeus saw the rightful heir to the throne of David. He didn’t have the full picture of Who Jesus was, but he responded to what he did know and the Lord honored that.
Bartimaeus saw an opportunity.
He had an insurmountable problem, but he saw that he was about to meet the Insurmountable Problem Solver: Jesus Christ. The blind beggar understood that Jesus was known for problem solving. He’ heard the stories and now he was going to see for himself!
Bartimaeus saw past the naysayers to the solution.
The crowd tried to shut him up!
“And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” Mark 10:48.
“Bart, cut it out! You’re making a scene. You can’t take your faith so seriously!”
Bartimaeus wasn’t having any of that! Jesus was his salvation and no one was going to keep him from it. He just shouted even more and it paid off!
Bartimaeus got Jesus to look at him.
“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee” Mark 10:49.
“…But to this man will I look,” the Lord has said. “Even to him that is of a contrite heart and trembleth at my word” (See Isaiah 66:2).
Bartimaeus forgot all pride and propriety and laid everything on the line for a chance to get to Jesus. His “gamble” could have failed. He could have been wrong about Jesus. Maybe He wasn’t the healer He said He was. Or Maybe Jesus wouldn’t hear him. Bartimaeus could have been deeply disappointed, but thankfully the Bible says, “whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11). Praise God! Bartimaeus “bet it all” on Jesus Christ and won!
The next words are some of the most beautiful in Scripture and it came from the same crowd that tried to silence him: “Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.”
Bartimaeus heeded the call and found the solution to his insurmountable problem.
“And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus” Mark 10:50.
Now it’s unlikely that in the moment Bartimaeus saw his actions the way we do now – that’s genuineness of true faith; it’s not focused on itself, or the moment, it’s just focused on the Lord – but his actions are a beautiful picture of what repentance and salvation should be.
He cast away his old garments, getting rid of anything that might have hindered his access to Christ and went straight to the Savior! I don’t know if he just followed the Lord’s voice, or if the crowd helped him find his way, Bartimaeus just got there – and he got more than he asked for!
Jesus asked him: “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (10:51). It wasn’t that the Lord didn’t know what needed to be done. It wasn’t for His own sake that the Lord asked that question. It was a test of Bartimaeus’ faith, another way of asking, “Do you believe I can do this thing for you?” Because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Blind Bartimaeus was diligently seeking the Lord and by clearly articulating his desire, he was clearly acknowledging his confidence in the Savior to heal him.
Which is why Jesus said to him: “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole” (v. 52). And sure enough, Bartimaeus “immediately received his sight” just like he asked! But what he found was more than a healing, he found a Savior, which is why the passage ends saying that he “followed Jesus in the way” (v. 52).
When you fully entrust your problems to Jesus He does more than deal with the issue at hand; He deals with your soul!
Question: What’s your insurmountable “Bartimaeus” problem and are you looking to Jesus to solve it?