Summary: Importunity in the face of adversity.
THE BLIND MAN BY THE ROADSIDE
Jesus came to Jericho, with His disciples and a great multitude (Mark 10:46). Some of the multitude may have come with the apostolic party from Galilee, but probably the majority had come out of Jericho to meet Him and continued with Him on His journey through to the house of Zacchaeus (cf. Luke 19:1). That there was a blind man by the roadside begging is no strange thing.
You can imagine the conversation. ‘Can anyone tell me what’s going on?’ asked the blind man. ‘Oh, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,’ they replied (cf. Luke 18:36-37).
Hearing that it was “Jesus of Nazareth”, the blind man began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). He may not again be passing this way!
Mark names this blind man, Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus (Mark 10:46). This name can be translated ‘son of filth’ - and certainly the way the crowd sought to further marginalise the poor man indicates that they viewed him that way. In effect, what they said was, ‘Shut your mouth!’ (Mark 10:48).
Yet the more they tried to silence him, the more urgently he cried, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48). Not only did this man, blind though he was, recognise who Jesus is, but he was going to seek, ask, knock until he got his desired result (cf. Matthew 7:7-8). Importunity in the face of adversity!
Having stopped in His tracks, Jesus commanded that the blind man be called. Jesus shamed the fickle crowd into changing their attitude and playing the part of evangelists bearing the good news. They now called the blind man: “Be of good courage; rise up, He is calling you” (Mark 10:49).
Do you hear the call of Jesus? Do you hear others calling you in His name? Do you hear Him calling you to call others in His name?
The beggar cast away his garment: probably the cloak he used to lay out on the ground for others to cast their coins into. It was not money that he sought from Jesus! The man obediently arose and came to Jesus (Mark 10:50).
“What do you want Me to do for you?” asked Jesus (Mark 10:51). It may seem a strange question: but are we ready to receive the responsibility for all that Jesus has to give us? Without hesitation came the reply: “My teacher, that I might receive my sight” (Mark 10:51).
“Go,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved you” (Mark 10:52).
What faith did this man have? First, he had the faith to believe that Jesus is the “Son of David”, i.e. the Messiah. Second, he had the faith to believe that Jesus has the power of God to restore his sight.
What salvation did this man receive? What this man received was a holistic healing, inclusive of the restoration of his sight and the saving of his soul. The man “immediately received his sight and followed Jesus in the way” (Mark 10:52).
Lord, give us sight, that we may see You, and follow You in the way!