Every time I read the story of blind Bartimaeus, I think to myself, Now there’s a man of exorbitant faith. I don’t know if I’ve ever known somebody who has such a reckless faith in Jesus.
Read Mark 10:46-52 if you want to meet this unusual man. I promise you – it’ll be worth the time it takes you to read those seven verses.
Let me set the scene. It was common in those days for the disabled and the beggars to sit or lay along the roads in and out of the cities, right outside the city gates. That way, the poor could panhandle all the travelers and merchants as they passed by on the only routes to and from the towns.
Many of the poor and destitute literally survived by permanently camping out right along these paths, relying on the handouts of the few generous people who passed by them.
Bartimaeus was one of these unfortunate people along the roadside.
And so, it came about that the blind Bartimaeus heard and sensed that Jesus and his men were coming past him as they left Jericho. He knew what he should do.
Although I’ve read this passage many times, each time I see something new in the story, and this reading was no exception.
I couldn’t stop thinking about these four words in verse 50: “Throwing his cloak aside …” The ramifications of those four words astounded me, for they indicate so much more about the faith of Bartimaeus when I really think about them.
As a destitute blind beggar, the clothing on his body and the cloak on his back were probably his only possessions.
His cloak was his “seat” during the morning and evening.
He relied on it as protection from the sun during the heat of the day.
At night, his cloak kept him warm. It was a barrier from insects and small predators.
Wrapped around him, his cloak was his shelter, his bed. It was his only security.
Rolling up snuggly within it, he might experience his only source of comfort.
It was always with him. He knew its feel, its smell, and its great value to him in his station in life.
It was likely everything he owned.
So, when he “[threw] his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus,” he risked the loss of literally everything he owned. He stepped toward Jesus in faith, leaving everything behind. Everything he had.
If Jesus didn’t heal him, there was no guarantee his cloak (his “wealth,” his “home,” and his “security”) would be there when he returned to search for it. The blind man may never be able to find it again.
In faith, he blindly stepped toward the voice of Jesus.
Then, in faith, he told Jesus the desires of his heart, and Jesus healed him.
No matter how “blind” we are, Jesus loves when we