Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (NIV)
On occasion I can feel like I am just another follower of Jesus. Who really knows me? Who cares about me, apart from those that depend on me and those who love me? The Gospel of Mark tells of many other healings by Jesus without ever giving them a name. They were just a man in a crowd or just a woman with an illness for years.
In our text today Mark takes the time to name this blind man, Bartimaeus. We are told his name and we are told that Bartimaeus followed Jesus after being healed, and this event happens only a short time before Jesus goes to Jerusalem to die on the cross.
Jesus told Bartimaeus that his faith had healed him. Bartimaeus believed not in himself but in Jesus’ power to heal. When he heard that Jesus was near, he called out “Jesus, Son of David,” a royal title. And when Bartimaeus went to Jesus, we read that he threw his cloak aside. Bartimaeus was willing to toss aside perhaps the only thing he owned in order to seek Jesus. And when Jesus asked what he wanted, he simply said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
No matter who we are, we can approach Jesus with the same kind of simple faith. We can trust that Jesus will heal us and save us by his power alone, and we can follow him. We can know beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus knows us and knows us by name (John 10:3). Like Bartimaeus we are important to Jesus, regardless of our position in life.
Jesus, help us trust in your power to heal. Give us faith like Bartimaeus. Help us to know and understand that Jesus knows us intimately and loves us. Amen.