The healing of blind Bartimaeus
Jesus is leaving the city of Jericho in the company of His close disciples and a large crowd is following them. His years of teaching, preaching and healing were drawing to a close. He was on His way to Jerusalem to lay down His life as a ransom for all (v 45).
Sitting off by the side of the road is the blind beggar Bartimaeus– an unimportant social outcast: in society’s eyes a nobody, driven by a combination of poverty and blindness into begging. But when he hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he cries out: “Have pity on me” (v47). The crowd reacts angrily: What arrogance! Who does this nobody think he is? How dare he cause a disturbance in the Master’s Presence! They scold him, demanding that he be quiet.
But Jesus would have none of it. Hearing his call for help, He stops and says, “Call him over” (v 49). Then He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replies”Master, let me see again”. Jesus says, “Go, your faith has saved you.” And immediately the man’s sight is restored and he began to follow Jesus along the road” (v 52).
Through this miraculous event, Jesus delivers a powerful message to the crowd of His would-be-followers. He’s saying in effect: “This beggar whom you have rejected, this social outcast you wanted to keep out of my hearing, is important to me. He is a somebody!
“Come to me, all who are weary and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you” (Mt 11:28). Our Lord’s gracious invitation extends to all.
The Lord Jesus was foremost a man for others, a man of compassion. No one was excluded!. Will we follow His example?