Blind Bart or Is it Me?
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Luke 18:35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
Perhaps when you read this passage you are like me. You are blind like Bartimaeus. At first you may not see the significance. But look deeper. What role do you play? Are you Bartimaeus? Or would you put yourself in the role of the people?
So often to the people in the world we are like the multitude passing by with Jesus in our midst. Jesus is not there because we brought him. He is there because He wants to be found. Bartimaeus heard the multitude pass by because they were loud and noisy. Being blind he wondered what it meant, so he asks. This is the first step in the act of faith. To every man is given a measure of faith. Every human soul has a longing for Jesus. We want to understand what it all means. Bartimaeus, being blind, must’ve wondered why he existed in his helpless and hopeless condition.
Perhaps as you read the story you are putting yourself in the role of the people. You want to tell others about Jesus. How He heals and forgives all who come to Him. And so you tell them. But in telling do you really expect them to reach out to Jesus? Do you really believe that they too can be in the company of Jesus? Or do you look down on them. As soon as they ask for Jesus, you begin to rebuke them for their helpless condition implying that they do not deserve the same mercy that you, being in His company, have.
Or if you find yourself in the place of blind Bartimaeus, You could feel sorry for yourself. You could decide that because they have rebuked you that you do not want to be a part of their crowd. You don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus. But blind Bartimaeus did not decide this. His helpless condition and desire for healing, his hope to know Jesus overcame his fears. He cried the more, Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!
Jesus who has placed Himself in the path of blind Bartimaeus hears the heart cry of Bartimaeus. He takes control of the situation. Jesus stands and commands him to be brought unto Himself. I can imagine being right beside Jesus in that crowd. I don’t want to lose my place next to Him. I am hoping someone else will go and bring blind Bartimaeus to Jesus. But someone does obey Jesus and goes to bring the blind to Him. In this act of obedience, they take my place beside the Savior.
Blind Bartimaeus finds himself in the very presence of the One Who can give him his greatest desire. I can imagine Bartimaeus might be full of fear. Does he truly want to have his sight? He has been living as a blind person all his life. He is used to depending on the world for his survival. Sight would mean he might have a responsibility to use his eyes, to work, rather than beg. Jesus does not immediately give him his sight. He asks Bartimaeus his will? Bartimaeus, recognizing his true helplessness, transfers his dependence from the world and he calls Jesus his Lord. He humbly asks for his sight.
Jesus, Who placed Himself in the path of Bartimaeus, Who commanded Bartimaeus to be brought to Himself, Who does not force the will but takes joy in volunteer loyalty, commands that Bartimaeus receive his sight. Once His Word is spoken, immediate sight is received by Bartimaeus. The first thing he sees is His Lord and Healer. Bartimaeus will never take His eyes off His Saviour. He follows Him for the rest of His life here on earth, obeying His command to bring others to Jesus, always giving the glory of His vision to God.
And the real miracle is that through his miracle, I also, one of the crowd in the company of Jesus, had my eyes opened.
“the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”