He was a blind beggar. At some point during his life he lost his sight, and, unable to fish, farm, do carpentry or pottery, he sat begging for alms.
In a culture that frowned on those who were less than perfect - any defect was thought to be the result of sin - being blind must have been a terrible thing indeed.
I wonder what "sin" Bartimaeus was thought to be guilty of? Did he tell lies? Was he an adulterer? Did he cheat people when he collected their taxes?
Or was it an inherited punishment? Was it the "sins" committed by his parents that he was now paying the penalty for?
Whatever the case, we know Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus. Maybe as he sat begging, persons had passed excitedly talking about a new Elijah. The Man who had been given power from the Most High to heal all kinds of sicknesses and diseases.
Maybe he had heard stories about the blind men that Jesus had healed previously. He probably wondered if this Great Healer would ever pass through his part of town.
Imagine the day when he felt the excitement in the air, "Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!" the people exclaimed. There was a rush of skirts (and robe hems) as people rushed by Bartimaeus on their way to meet the Master.
I imagine a hush as the people waited eagerly for Jesus to come closer. And then, a shout. "There he is! There's Jesus."
This was his chance. There was no guarantee that Jesus would ever pass his way again. Bartimaeus cleared his throat and shouted: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! (Mark 10:47)"
"Oh be quiet!" People muttered. "You're a beggar - you should be seen and not heard." "Maybe he should not be heard or seen." Another replied.
But this was not the time for shame. "Son of David, have mercy on me! (Mark 10:48)" Bartimaeus shouted.
Jesus smiled within Himself. He had known that there was one who needed healing. He had wondered if the broken man had recognized his need for a Savior.
Jesus stopped. Even before He called Bartimaeus these two words are of great importance. Jesus saw him in his brokenness and took the time to acknowledge him - God saw Bartimaeus. He didn't see a beggar or a blind man. He saw a man in need of a Savior. "Call him here." said the Redeemer (Mark 10:48).
“Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you. (Mark 10:48), said the people. How ... odd. The same persons who were trying to silence him a few minutes ago are now telling him to be brave.
Bartimaeus' response showed that he didn't need anyone to be his cheerleader. He was desperate enough for redemption that he would do anything to receive it. He threw off his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus (Mark 10:49).
"What do you want from Me?" asked the Great Physician. "I want to regain my sight (Mark 10:51)." replied Bartimaeus. In other words, "I'm broken and I need you to fix me."
And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God (Luke 18:42-43).
What could easily have been an exercise in futility became a praise and worship session. Bartimaeus had been broken. But he hadn't allowed his state of brokenness to stifle his voice.
Sometimes we allow our circumstances to rob us of our identity.
We give in to pressures that seek to silence us and keep us from giving praise to the Almighty God.
We start believing the lie that we're not good enough and that we should remain within certain boundaries.
Not true. God knows that we're all sinners but if we cry out to Him, He hears us. He stops. He listens. He restores. Awesome God that we serve.
Personal Bible Study
Read the account of Blind Bartemaeus in Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-42.
What lessons are there for us in this story?