Jesus was going to Jerusalem via Jericho and huge crowds had gathered all around Him wanting to hear what He had to say. As they entered Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. On hearing the commotion, he asked the people around him as to what was going on, to which he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. We do not know to what extent he knew Jesus but he knew that Jesus was a descendant of King David. He might have believed that Jesus was a prophet or he is the Messiah but surely, he knew that Jesus could bring healing. He would have heard about the blind man who was healed at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22- 25), and probably hoped that Jesus would do the same for him.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. – Luke 18:35-43
Bartimaeus recognized who Jesus was and knew what He could do for him. He cried at the top of his voice for Jesus to have mercy on him and heal him. Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet. I have always wondered about these people who traveled ahead of Jesus. They would have been the disciples of Jesus leading the way. Why were they performing the task of crowd control and not bringing the lame and the sick to Jesus? Why did they rebuke Bartimaeus when he cried out for his healing? Many times we are hushed by the people we think are closer to Jesus. But Jesus wants each one of us to have a direct connection with him.
Bartimaeus did not bother about them and continued in his quest. Jesus had pity on him and gave him vision. He immediately followed Jesus on the same road to Jerusalem. No goodbyes to his loved ones (We know that he was the son of Timaeus – (Mark 10:46)). He would have had his family members living in the area, albeit he would not be providing for them financially but he definitely would have been emotionally attached to them. He leaves everything and follows Jesus unlike others who received the miraculous healing and went to show it to their neighbours and relatives.
Giving sight to Bartimaeus was the last healing Miracle that Christ performed before His crucifixion. If Bartimaeus had not cried out for Jesus he would have missed his opportunity and might have been blind for life. Jesus gives us ample opportunities to come to Him. We have no surety that when will be the next time Jesus is passing by us. We need to take every opportunity he gives us to come closer to Him.
In Matthew’s narration we find that there were actually two blind men who received sight that day and came to Jesus. But Luke and Mark only mention one. Matthew’s is an eye witness account of events, so we know for sure that there were two blind men who received sight that day. There can be many reasons why Mark and Luke did not hear about the other Blind man. After joining Jesus’ ministry Bartimaeus would have been more proactively involved and the other disciples would have gotten to know him personally, or maybe the eye witness only remembered the more vocal of the two blind men. There is a human tendency to remember the outspoken personalities. I have asked this question many times, if only one was vocal with his request why did Jesus heal both? But we also know that Jesus healed the cripple at the pool of Bethsaida who had more faith in the pool than in Jesus (John 5:5-7). Some people say the outspokenness of Bartimaeus was the reason he was remembered and his name is mentioned by Mark. We need not bother if our name is remembered by our peers but remember that both the blind men received sight because they asked Jesus (one with outspoken words and the other in his mind) and both followed Jesus.
Hezekiah became the 12th king of Judah at the age of 25. Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him (2nd Kings 18:5). He destroyed all the Idols that Ahaz had placed, reinstated the Passover inviting all scattered tribes of Israel and destroyed Moses’ bronze serpent which the people started revering. He tried his best to bring Judah back in the path of God. And when Prophet Isaiah had come to Hezekiah and told him that he was about to die, he wept bitterly and prayed directly to God (Isaiah 38:2). Before Isaiah could leave the middle court, he was directed to tell the king that his prayers have been answered. This incident clearly shows that king Hezekiah established a direct contact with God and asked directly what he wanted.
Let us learn from Hezekiah and Bartimaeus and bring our prayers directly to God and not worry about the onlookers or the people we think are closer to God and surely He will answer prayers. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “Matthew 7:7-8