Glorifying God Mark 10:46-52
“Bartimaeus” — “Bar” (as here in Bartimaeus) is Aramaic for “son of.” (NIV Cultural Background Study Bible)
Three characteristics of Bartimaeus in this story make him an example of discipleship.
(1) The blind beggar had faith.
Twice he cried out, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
The request expressed the belief that, through Jesus, God shows His covenant love to His people. Bartimaeus was convinced that Jesus could save Him, and the beggar persisted in his urgent cries despite the opposition of the bystanders.
“Many charged him that he should hold his peace” or “‘Be quiet!’ some of the people yelled at him,” (New Living Translation) “but he cried the more a great deal” (verse 48).
Friend, to get God’s attention and prayerful results, when was the last time you called (cried out) to God, “a great deal more?”
(2) Bartimaeus also had insight that other disciples have not displayed in this chapter. He confessed Jesus to be “the Son of David.” By using this address, the beggar confessed Jesus as Messiah, He who fulfills God’s ancient promises to David of the coming One who would sit on David’s throne forever (note 2 Samuel 7:11-16; Isaiah 11:1-3; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Ezekiel 34:23-24).
Jesus affirmed to the beggar that “thy faith hath made thee whole” (literally, “has saved you”; Greek, sozo).
“And immediately he received his sight” (verse 52).
(3) Once he was “saved” from his blindness, Bartimaeus “followed Jesus in the way” (verse 52). In Mark, the verb “follow” characterizes true discipleship, and so the formerly blind man demonstrated that being a disciple of Jesus means to associate with Jesus continually (translated, “and was following”) and publicly, even on a path that leads to suffering and death. The decision was intentional and final for Bartimaeus. (Zondervan KJV Commentary)
Note how the Bartimaeus story (10:46–52) serves as the bridge to this section — a blind man, who “sees” Jesus as “the Son of David,” is given sight, while the seeing, who don’t recognize David’s son (Mark 12:35–40), remain blind. You might want to check out how this narrative and the next two (triumphal entry and cleansing/judgment of the temple) echo God’s coming to Israel in Isaiah 35.
Thus, with three prophetic symbolic actions — the triumphal entry, the cursing of the fig tree, and the cleansing of the temple — Jesus presents himself to Israel as their long-awaited King. The Lord whom they seek comes suddenly to his temple — but in judgment (see Malachi 3:1). This is followed by a series of six conflict stories between Jesus and the religious authorities (Mark 11:27–12:40), to which the widow with her two small coins stands in bold relief (12:41–44). (The Bible Book by Book)
“Your faith,” (verse 52) — Bartimaeus’s insight into who Jesus is: The merciful Messiah who welcomes the least. “Healed” or “saved,” it reflects the Jewish understanding of the tight link between salvation and physical wholeness (observe Mark 2:1–12). In healing the blind man who joyfully follows him on the road into Jerusalem, Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s promise that in the new exodus God would come to save his people, prepare a holy way upon which the impure would not walk, and open the eyes of the blind so they could joyfully enter that way into Zion (Isaiah 35:4–10). Blind Bartimaeus’ insistent cry for mercy (verse 47; 26–27) and request for sight (verse 51) express the only bases on which one can enter new exodus salvation. (NIV Study Bible)
Dr. Wayne M. Williams and his wife of 40 years, Lita, reside in Athens.