Image by Richard Gunther (www.lambsongs.co.nz)
Bartimaeus (bar-tim-ay-us) was a blind man, sitting by the roadside near Jericho. Begging. Some kindhearted people likely gave him a small coin or piece of food as they passed by. Bartimaeus could not work because he could not see. He could only beg.
One day, the highway was busy. Bartimaeus heard the tramp of many feet. Something unusual was happening. Soon the blind man learned what it was.
Jesus of Nazareth was in town. Crowds gathered to see Jesus, to hear Him.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Why did Bartimaeus cry out? Why did he think Jesus could help him? Perhaps he had heard about others Jesus had healed. Some were deaf, some dumb, some crippled – and some blind, as he was. “Son of David, have mercy on me,” Bartimaeus shouted again and again. His voice rang with hope.
Bartimaeus was sure of one thing. If he didn’t get help now, he might never get another chance. Jesus might never pass his way again.
Bartimaeus had to reach Jesus. But the people didn’t move. “Ssssshhh!” they said. They warned him to be quiet.
But Bartimaeus didn’t shush up. He kept on yelling. Suddenly Jesus stopped! Listened! Commanded the blind man to be brought to Him! “Be of good cheer,” the people told Bartimaeus. “Rise. He is calling you.”
Throwing aside his garment, Bartimaeus rose and came to Jesus.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked. How would you have answered? Would you have asked for lots of money or nice new clothes? Is that what Bartimaeus wanted?
No, blind Bartimaeus didn’t ask Jesus for gold or nice clothes. You know what he wanted.
“Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Bartimaeus wanted to see! To see the trees and the birds and all the beauty of God’s creation. He wanted to see so he could care for himself and not be a beggar.
Then Jesus said to Bartimaeus: “Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.”
At once he received his sight, and followed Jesus. All he could say was “God is wonderful! He healed me!” It was a wonderful moment for Bartimaeus.
All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. Once again, they had seen the wonderful power of God’s Son, Jesus, bringing sight to a poor blind beggar.