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Persistent Prayer and the Healing Power of God (2)

This week we are looking at several scenarios in the life of Jesus that involve physical healing. In the previous article we looked at Mark 7:31-37. Today we look at the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus. Continue reading . . .

This week we are looking at several scenarios in the life of Jesus that involve physical healing. In the previous article we looked at Mark 7:31-37. Today we look at the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus.

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way (Mark 10:46-52).

Several things should also be said about the healing of Bartimaeus.

(1) As with the deaf-mute in Mark 7, so also here with Bartimaeus, he is marginalized from the world around him. He sits on the “sidelines,” as it were: “by” or “beside” the roadside. No one paid him any attention. He didn’t matter to anyone, except to Jesus.

(2) But note also that when the story ends he is no longer “beside” the road, sitting alone, but is “on the road/way” following Jesus as his disciple.

(3) As James Edwards has said, “What Bartimaeus lacks in eyesight he makes up for in insight.” There is an attitude of expectancy on his part as Jesus the Nazarene passes his way. He cries out to Jesus for mercy and everyone tells him to shut up. “Be quiet! You’re embarrassing us. You’re making us feel uncomfortable!”

But Bartimaeus refused to shut up. Nothing can silence him, least of all the offended feelings of people who before now never paid him any attention at all.

(4) The text literally says, “And Jesus stood (still).” What stopped Jesus in his tracks wasn’t a powerful or influential religious leader or a military commander of Rome. What stopped him was a poor and pitiful blind man crying for mercy. That’s Jesus for you!

(5) Why does Jesus ask him, “What do you want me to do for you?” My goodness, isn’t it obvious? I suspect that there’s something important here: it makes a difference when we articulate our need to Jesus; when he hears us speak forth our desperation for his touch and power.

(6) The word translated “made you well” is sozo and means “to be saved.” It refers to both physical and spiritual restoration. The fact that Bartimaeus immediately follows Jesus as a disciple indicates that what occurred was more than physical, it was also spiritual.

(7) Finally, Jesus explicitly attributes his healing to his “faith” (v. 52). What was the nature of his faith? Several things: He knew Jesus was the Messiah (“Son of David”); he knew that he was deserving of nothing, not even healing, but only of judgment (“have mercy on me”); and he was confident that Jesus wouldn’t leave him in his condition as seen by the persistence and disregard for public opinion.

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