The Book of Mark
Text: MARK 10:46-52
1. This was the last time Jesus passed through the city of Jericho. Jericho was about 20 miles east of Jerusalem.
2. The city of Jericho in our Lord’s day was south of the Old Testament city of Jericho. It was built by Herod the Great, and was a stopover for travelers.
3. Our Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan was set on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves…” (Luke 10:30).
4. This is the last miracle of healing recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
5. All three of the synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – record this story, and they are all a bit different.
6. For example, Mark 10:46 and Matthew 20:29 say, our Lord went out of Jericho with his disciples, while Luke 18:35 says, “And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho…”
7. Blind beggars were common in our Lord’s day, and still are today. AT Robertson wrote, “It was a common sight. Bartimaeus had his regular place. Vincent quotes Thomson concerning Ramleh: ‘I once walked the streets counting all that were either blind or had defective eyes, and it amounted to about one-half the male population. The women I could not count, for they are rigidly veiled’ (The Land and the Book). The dust, the glare of the sun, the unsanitary habits of the people spread contagious eye-diseases” (Word Pictures in the New Testament).
8. Matthew mentions two blind men (Matthew 20:30). Mark and Luke mention only one, and only Mark tells us that his name was Bartimaeus.
9. The Scofield Study Bible says, “A discrepancy has been imagined between this account (Matthew) and those in Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35. Matthew and Mark obviously refer to a work of healing as Jesus departed from Jericho. Bartimaeus, the active one of the two, the one who cried, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David,’ is specifically mentioned by Mark. Of the other one of the ‘two,’ we know nothing. The healing described by Luke 18:35 occurred before Jesus entered Jericho…The narratives therefore supplement, but in no way contradict each other.”
10. All three accounts emphasize the blind man’s cry for help, and our Lord’s immediate response to his cry (Mark 10:51, 52).
I. BARTIMAEUS HEARD ABOUT JESUS (10:46, 47a).
1. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was going to pass by, he cried out for help.
2. There were “a great number of people” (Mark 10:46) in the crowd that day. Undoubtedly many were talking about Jesus.
3. Luke 18:36 says, “And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.” He could not see the large crowd, but he could hear them talking.
4. “And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by” (Luke 18:37).
5. The fact that Bartimaeus addressed Jesus as the “Son of David” (a Messianic title) shows that he recognized Him as the Messiah.
6. This indicates that Bartimaeus must have heard other reports about Jesus, and He must have believed those reports – i.e., that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Mark 12:35-37).
7. There are multitudes of people today like blind Bartimaeus.
8. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
9. It has been pointed out that as a Jew, Bartimaeus had the right to appeal to Jesus by the title “Son of David.”
10. The Syrophenician woman cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil” (Matt. 15:22).
11. But she was not Jewish. She was a Gentile, and our Lord answered her by saying, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24).
12. But after her persistent, importunate praying, our Lord commended her and said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28). “And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matt. 15:28b).
13. Our Lord also commended the faith of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:52).
II. BARTIMAEUS CALLED OUT TO JESUS (10:47, 48).
1. Joel 2:32 says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD (Jehovah) shall be delivered.”
2. On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
3. The apostle Paul also quotes this Scripture in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9, 13).
4. Blind Bartimaeus called on the Lord and he was saved.
5. Psalm 146:8 says, “The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind.”
6. Blind Bartimaeus cried out, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me” (10:47, 48), and the Lord opened his blinded eyes.
7. There are several Old Testament prophecies that promise the Messiah giving eyesight to the blind.
8. Isaiah 29:18 says, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.”
9. Isaiah 35:5 says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”
10. Isaiah 42:7 says, “To open the blind eyes.”
11. Isaiah 42:18 says, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.”
12. Cf. Luke 4:18; 7:22.
13. Many people “charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me” (10:48).
14. Their rebukes only intensified his cries – “he cried the more a great deal” (10:48).
15. Like the Syrophenician woman, his was a persistent faith. He would not give up. Jesus said, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Luke 11:9, 10).
III. HIS FAITH MADE HIM WHOLE (10:49-52).
1. Bartimaeus’ cries caught the attention of our Lord (10:49).
2. How wonderful those words must have sounded to blind Bartimaeus – “Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee” (10:49).
3. Only Mark records these encouraging words.
4. Bartimaeus immediately responded to our Lord’s call (10:50). He cast off his outer garment, probably because he did not want to trip over it in his haste.
5. Our Lord said, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (10:51).
6. Our Lord knew what Bartimaeus wanted. He wanted Bartimaeus to make a public confession of his need and his faith.
7. Bartimaeus replied, “Lord, that I might receive my sight” (10:51).
8. Bartimaeus believed our Lord could heal him, and so our Lord did heal him. Bartimaeus had unwavering faith. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:6).
9. “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (10:52) – whole both physically and spiritually.
10. In Luke’s account, Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee” (Luke 18:42).
11. Bartimaeus was not only healed from physical darkness, he was rescued from eternal darkness.
12. “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (10:52). Immediately Bartimaeus joined our Lord and the group of travelers heading toward Jerusalem.
One sat alone beside the highway begging
His eyes were blind the light he could not see.
He clutched his rags, and shivered in the shadows.
Then Jesus came and bade His darkness flee.
When Jesus comes, the tempter’s power is broken;