Summary: Jesus made blind eyes see
Timaeus; we know almost nothing about him. His name means honorable. He grew up like most men of the first century. Trained in the occupation of his father, his big dream was to get married, raise a family, and live an honorable life, live up to his name.
As his journey unfolds; he and his wife set up housekeeping, and it wasn’t long before she was carrying a child. Remember what that was like, expecting your first child. She could feel the joy of a new life inside - Timaeus, perhaps he hoped for a son, a son to carry on the work of his father. But this is not the case with Timaeus. Soon after birth, this baby was noticeably different. He did not follow the faces of his parents. He didn’t respond to their smiles. The baby was blind. Something else we know about this child. Or should I say, something we don’t know. We don’t know his name. We only know him as Bartimaeus – that 3 letter addition to the beginning of his name “Bar” means “the son of.”
Bar-mitzvah – son of the law
Simon BarJonah – Simon the son of Jonah
Barnabus – son of Nabus
Barabbas – son of fathers
Son of Man – the name Jesus chose for Himself had the Hebrew Bar in it
Bartimaeus – the son of Timaeus
He is simply known as BarTimaeus, - the son of Timaeus, after all, why bother giving a name to a child who will never see, who will never be able to earn a living, or raise a family. This was the curse of blindness carried in the first century.
Timaeus and his wife had to wonder, “Was this blindness our fault? Was God punishing us for some sin?” In those days, people believed that a blind son must certainly a punishment from God. Not only would he never be able to learn the trade of his father, but he would never be able to provide for himself. He was doomed to the barest of existence from humbly begging. And when Timaeus grew old, there would be no son to look after him in his old age. No son to be by his bedside as his own eyes grew dim and his final breaths faded away. No son to close his eyes as Isaac did for Abraham and Jacob did for Isaac. “Timaeus the honorable” would become known as “Timaeus - the man with the blind son.”
When we meet Bartimaeus, he is on the side of the road waiting. Ever feel that way? Like life has you on the back burner, or at best on the sidelines – waiting. Waiting for the next step, next job, next relationship, next chance. Waiting to get into the game.
John Ortberg – “I put all my hope in a third day God, but I live in a second-day world.”
I am waiting, I live in the second day – the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter morning, a day of which nothing is written in scripture. That is my day. What will I do?
No doubt Bartimaeus is waiting for some generous soul to drop a coin in his cup so that he can eat that night. But down the road he hears a commotion. A commotion that will change his waiting – transform it because as John Ortberg says, “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.”
This grown up son of Timaeus is about to discover what God wants him to be.
Some have tried to suggest that his name comes from bar-tim’-ai – son of the unclean. Gentiles were generally considered unclean, blind, if only spiritually. I’m not sold on that, but I do believe that Bartimaeus matters to God, and his whole world is about to be turned upside-down as the commotion and the procession with Jesus comes closer.
Healing Blind Bartimaeus
Mark 10:46-52 They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many scolded him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up! He is calling you.” 50 He threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied, “Rabbi, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has healed you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the road.