a) “Your Faith Has Healed You”
“Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10:46-52)
The Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke also record this miracle. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, probably sat begging on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem as pilgrims journeyed along this road.
When Bartimaeus heard the noise of a crowd and learned that Jesus was passing by, he shouted: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” When he was told to keep quiet, he shouted all the louder and more persistently: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Why “Jesus, Son of David”? Significantly the prophets constantly spoke of the Messiah as “the Son of David”, a descendant of David (Dawud). Somehow Bartimaeus had heard this and understood its meaning. Did he also recognise that the blind receiving their sight marked the Messiah’s presence among His people, as the great prophet Isaiah had noted hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus the Messiah? “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy.” (Isaiah 35:5,6)
When Jesus summoned Bartimaeus, He asked him directly what he wanted. Bartimaeus replied that he simply wanted his sight. “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
But did Bartimaeus receive only his physical sight? At Jesus’ command that he go, where was Bartimaeus to go? Was it new insight of heart along with sight for his eyes that directed him to follow Jesus? And after their journey along that road ended, did he continue to follow Jesus, to be His disciple?
And you and I? After we have received the gift for which we so zealously prayed and pleaded, do we go on our own way, rejoicing in the gift but forgetting the Giver? Should we not remember Him, follow Him? Should not our faith in Him recognise His claim upon us to follow Him?