Summary: The Greek word for “roadside, road and ‘way’” are the same word. Bartimaeus ask for and received his sight. Upon seeing clearly, he got up and followed [Jesus] along the road… along the “way.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” If Jesus were to come through the doors of this sanctuary this morning, walk up the center isle then suddenly pause, then turn to you and ask that question….how would you respond?
Think about that question for just a moment. “What do you want me to do for you?”
As you ponder the question, you need to also ask yourself, “Is what I want Jesus to do something that will please Him? Is what I ask for a legitimate request, a true need or is it all about my selfish wants?” Finally, you should also consider… “Do I believe Jesus can do what I ask?”
Bartimaeus had no hesitation. For Bartimaeus, the answer was obvious. The scriptures tell us Bartimaeus had been blind from birth.
As Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus called out for mercy. The crowd rebuked him — tried to put him back in his place on the socioeconomic sidelines (v. 48). Why did they do that? Perhaps they assumed this sorry specimen of a man would bother the busy Jesus, or perhaps they felt their own needs were far more important than those of a useless beggar. It could even be that they were embarrassed by the unwanted, uninvited interruption.
But Bartimaeus’ faith told him that this was his only chance at sight, so he yelled out even louder.
Let’s take a moment here to set the scene as Mark tells us this story. Jesus is at the height of His popularity with His disciples… which probably number more at this point than the original twelve… We read there is a large crowd or great throng following Him. He has been teaching His disciples all along the journey and now we should begin to realize a sense of urgency in all that Jesus does. We have seen throughout the previous passages however, that even Jesus closest followers still have not fully comprehended who He is and what it means to answer His call to discipleship.
In fact, just a few verses earlier in this chapter we discover James and John approaching Jesus and asking Him to do whatever they ask of Him. Jesus’ response … “What do you want me to do for you?” James and John request is to sit to the right and left of Jesus in His glory… they are still concerned about themselves. Yet, they all accompany Jesus who is headed for Jerusalem, though He is the only one who sees His true destiny.
Leaving Jericho on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus passes a man reduced by disability to begging. His name is Bartimaeus, which means “son of Timaeus,” and for some reason, Mark takes the time and effort to inform us that Bartimaeus was the son of Timaeus. Why Mark underscores this name? Most persons healed in Gospel miracle accounts are never named. No one knows for sure. Perhaps the name and reference to Bartimaeus parentage are meant to contrast with his shout ”Son of David,” which was a title for the Messiah widely known with national and political tones…
As so often happens with scripture, it is important too for us to understand another very important, often overlooked point here. Mark tells us Bartimaeus “was sitting by the roadside…” At the end of today’s passage, we read Bartimaeus followed Jesus along the “road.” The Greek word for “roadside, road and ‘way’” are the same word…