Jesus is leaving Jericho with His disciples. There is a great crowd following him. Out of this crowd comes a piercing shout. Have mercy on me oh son of David!
What ensues is a fascinating interaction.
The people know this man. His name is Bartimaeus. He is a blind man. They severely rebuke him, forcing him to be silent. He would not relent. Not this time. His whole life he lived amoung these people. Unable to see or help himself, he was an outcast from society. Always he begged for assistance from the travellers passing in and out of Jericho since his fellow inhabitants would not care for him.
Constantly he was subjected to their rebuke, their disdain. They despised him. Not for his character, but for his inability to see what they saw. Mark 10:46-52
On this day, the opposite happens and it changes his life.
Who is he?
Bartimaeus = Bar- Timaeus, meaning Son of Timaeus. Timaeus means honour or honourable.
Bartimaeus means son of honour.
Yet, his whole life he has been taught differently. He was taught how he was of no value. He was worthless and unfit to fulfil a role in society. All because he could not see.
The was “the blind beggar”.
Who he sees?
Today, Jesus is in town, Jesus of Nazareth. When he hears this, he shouts, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy and pity on me.
The blind man sees something no-one else does. He sees Jesus as the Christ. He identifies him as his Messiah, Saviour. This is critical for two reasons:
- It confirms his faith.
- It refers us to another piece of text. Isaiah 42: 6-7, 16
Isaiah tells us that the Messiah Bartimaeus is proclaiming Jesus is, is the same Messiah that promised to heal the blind and set the captives free.
What this means to me.
Many of us have been ridiculed by the world. The world determines our value and based on this value they deem us blind, unworthy or unfit. For too long many of us believe it. We accept the world’s opinion of our value. We become blind to God’s opinion. We become slaves and captives to our own trust in the world’s opinion.
Jesus steps into the midst of this same situation and changes things.
Psalm 33:6,18. David, the man who understood the heart of God and the son of whom Bartimaeus is associating Jesus, writes:
“The poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of his troubles.” “The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.”
Jesus stopped and said, Call him. Jesus asked what he wanted. He said, Master, let me receive my sight.
Jesus answers, go on your way. Your faith has healed you. At once he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Who I am.
Jesus came to heal the blind and set the captives free.
He came to give vision to those who lost it. He came to give us His insight and understanding. His perspective. His view of the world. His view of us.
He came to set us free. Free from slavery, free from addiction, free from other peoples’ negative opinions, free from my own limiting beliefs.
He came to show me that I am not the blind beggar but that I am Bar-Timaeus.
I am the son of honour.