Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him over!”

They called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you.” The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus.

Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!”

Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”

Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus. (Mark 10:46-52)

It’s easier to heal a blind man than to transform a heart. But Jesus did both. Jericho served as a gateway to Jerusalem. On its outskirts, was a blind man known as Bartimaeus. When he learned that Jesus was coming by, he started doing what he always did with everyone who came by: he lifted his voice and begged, mouthing the words that such a beggar would always mouth: “have pity on me.”

By addressing Jesus as “son of David,” the blind man was acknowledging that Jesus was the Messiah and the rightful king of Israel. When Jesus asked the beggar what he wanted, Jesus already knew what it was. But he wanted him to say out loud what was hidden in his heart.

Bartimeaus knew that Jesus could give him something more than mere coins. So he asked Jesus for what he knew he could spare. What was Bartimeaus’ reaction to gaining his sight? He “went down the road” with Jesus. The Greek word implies more than simply walking a ways with Jesus. The word is used of those who become disciples. It meant that from that moment on, Bartimaeus became one of Jesus’ followers. Bartimaeus was with Jesus for the rest of his life. So today, we who claim Jesus as our Savior go “down the road” with him. We are rightfully amazed when a blind man can see. But we should be even more amazed when a man decides to become a follower of Jesus.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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