Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Boldness, Further Refined
This passage on Bartimaeus fits so well alongside of the previous passage because they are so similar, and yet, so different from one another. Again, we encounter the idea of boldness – this time, Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus again and again, despite the flak and rebukes that he gets from others. From this, we see that an important element of boldness is standing up in the midst of criticism or ridicule, something that is difficult for all of us.
And we find Jesus playing that same role again, trying to draw more faith and boldness out of Bartimaeus by asking him the most obvious question of all time: “What do you want me to do for you?” Of COURSE Jesus knows what Bartimaeus wants, because people were probably guiding him by the hands to Jesus – he was blind, duh! But Jesus asks this painfully obvious question to force Bartimaeus to speak, to say exactly what he wants to happen, because that act of verbally asking for something requires faith, boldness, and humility!
In our context, this should reinforce our need to pray: of course God knows our need and our thoughts and could just pull them out of our head and answer (or not answer) them – why do we have to pray? Because prayer plays the same role that Jesus plays in these accounts: it draws us out. When we pray, we then humble ourselves, summon up all the faith we have, and specifically ask for things that seem impossible. And that is the attitude that Christ waits for.
Lastly, from our last devotional we see how James and John asked for something for themselves, and were turned down. But here, Bartimaeus also asks for something for himself, and Jesus answers him – what is the difference? The difference is in WHAT they ask for. James and John ask for glory for themselves, and are rejected. But Bartimaeus asks for healing, something that is always the heart of God – God’s heart is to heal us, spiritually, emotionally, even physically! That is the common thread in all of the passages we read that involve a sense of boldness: the Syro-Phonecian woman, and the father of the demon-possessed boy. So no, we shouldn’t boldly ask God to make us famous people or better than others, but we can always boldly ask for healing, because that has always been, and will always be, God’s desire for us!
(For a brief discussion on when God does not heal, read the comments to this post)
1. When was the last time you really wanted to be bold in your faith, but weren’t because fear of other people’s perception of you?
2. Is there something in your life that you think God wants you to pray for specifically, but up to this point, you have only prayed for very vaguely, or not at all?
3. Is there an area of your life that requires healing?
4. What does boldy praying for healing look like, opposed to just praying for it ordinarily?