The Faith of Blind Bartimaeus
Consider with me the story of blind Bartimaeus. He stands out because of Jesus’ statement to him, “Your faith has made you well.”
The story is found in Mark 10:46-52.
My thinking is, if this man’s faith was responsible for a very dramatic and miraculous healing, I better find out the ingredients of that faith.
What are those ingredients?
First of all, he’d heard the word of God. He couldn’t see Jesus or what He’d been doing and teaching, he could only hear about these things—from others, obviously. For Bartimaeus, his faith came as Paul would write later to the Romans: “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Secondly, he drew conclusions about Jesus from what he’d heard. I perceive two conclusions from the story; he believed that Jesus was the Son of David (i.e., the Messiah; and he knew that He could and would have mercy upon him. Therefore he acted on those conclusions, and went to Jesus just as we go to God’s throne of grace to obtain mercy for ourselves:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
That’s what Bartimaeus did. Knowing Jesus to be the Messiah, he cried out to Him for mercy, realizing that His throne is one of grace, not judgment.
Thirdly, Bartimaeus’ faith was persistent and individual. He was the only one who thought he should be crying out to Jesus as he did. Others wanted him to hush up, but he was not willing to listen to them. He was focused on seeking the Lord. He would not be deterred in his pursuit.
The Lord does that with each of us, too. He creates situations for us that require us to call upon Him alone. It’s just between Jesus and me. No one else can interrupt that communion, and perhaps no one else will even understand it. But when the desire comes as a result of persistent prayer, it is so, so sweet. Jesus did it for me!
We go to the throne of grace, and we come away having received God’s mercy. Wonderful.
Fourth, his faith was specific. When Jesus asked him what he wanted Him to do for him, he asked boldly and in a straightforward manner: “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” He wanted to see again, plain and simple. And because it was within Jesus’ will for his life, his request was granted.
I want to see, too. I once was blind. But Jesus spoke to me as He did to Bartimaeus that day. Therefore, now I see. I never want to lose the amazing gift of spiritual sight. (“Lord, keep me pure and in Your Word.”)
“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see!”
Bartimaeus’ faith did not end when he received his sight, though… by faith, he continued to follow Jesus on the road.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).
Bartimaeus speaks to me today… his faith is awesome, squarely founded upon the Person of Jesus Christ Himself.