A Godly and commendable defiance!

Blind Bartimaeous kneeling before Christ

“‭And‭ they came‭‭ to‭ Jericho‭: and‭ as he‭ went‭‭ out of‭ Jericho‭ with‭ his‭ disciples‭ and‭ a great‭ number of people‭, blind‭ Bartimaeus‭, the son‭ of Timaeus‭, sat‭‭ by‭ the highway side‭ begging‭‭.‭ ‭And‭ when he heard‭‭ that‭ it was‭‭ Jesus‭ of Nazareth‭, he began‭‭ to cry out‭‭, and‭ say‭‭, Jesus‭, ‭thou‭ Son‭ of David‭, have mercy‭‭ on me‭.‭ ‭And‭ many‭ charged‭‭ him‭ that‭ he should hold his peace‭‭: but‭ he cried‭‭ the more‭ a great deal‭, ‭Thou‭ Son‭ of David‭, have mercy‭‭ on me‭.‭ ‭And‭ Jesus‭ stood still‭‭, and commanded‭‭ him‭ to be called‭‭. And‭ they call‭‭ the blind man‭, saying‭‭ unto him‭, Be of good comfort‭‭, rise‭‭; he calleth‭‭ thee‭.‭ ‭And‭ he, casting away‭‭ his‭ garment‭, rose‭‭, and came‭‭ to‭ Jesus‭.‭ ‭And‭ Jesus‭ answered‭‭ and said‭‭ unto him‭, What‭ wilt‭‭ thou that I should do‭‭ unto thee‭?‭ The blind man‭ said‭‭ unto him‭, Lord‭, that‭ I might receive my sight‭‭.‭ ‭And‭ Jesus‭ said‭‭ unto him‭, Go thy way‭‭; thy‭ faith‭ hath made‭‭ thee‭ whole‭‭. And‭ immediately‭ he received his sight‭‭, and‭ followed‭‭ Jesus‭ in‭ the way‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Mark 10:46-52.

This morning, (Wednesday) I read the above chapter with its story of the healing of a man whose spirit I so admire and rejoice over. I look forward to meeting ‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭Bartimaeus‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ in glory and talking over with him his wonderful healing.

As I read Mark’s account of this wonderful event, I jotted down in the margins of my Bible some headings, springing from my observation of the record of the incident as given by Mark.

I would like to share them with you.


“Blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.”

Little can we imagine just what depths of impoverishment someone who was blind was required to endure back in those days! Perhaps if we did we would appreciate to a great degree the support that is enjoyed by someone with a like affliction today!

There was very little a blind man back then could do to earn a ‘crust’! Virtually all useful employment was beyond such.

Begging was the only door open to poor Bartimaeus. The word Greek word translated ‘begging’ (prosaiteo) appears only in the three gospel accounts of the healing of Bartimaeus and the blind man of John 9:1, another man whose spirit and demeanour I so much admire.

I think is something very moving and heartbreaking about a blind man begging. Because of his affliction he could never see the face of any who kindly responded, he could not himself gauge just what it was they gave him and he certainly would not see the many expressions of disgust on the faces of those who despised him in his wretchedness!

Bartimaeus lived in a world of pitiful darkness and exceeding limited awareness of the world around. If he was ‘blind from birth’, as was the man in John chapter 9, then please consider all the things he could not envisage around.

I was born and bred in a very rural setting. I can recall my walks over field and down lanes on my way from a school ‘up in the mountain’, Mulnaburtlin school’. I recall seeing so many songbirds of which there seems to be no sign today. Of the sight and wonderful ‘vanilla’ scent of the whins or gorse as many know the spikey shrub. Back then rabbits abounded in the fields and attempting to ‘stalk’ them was a favourite pastime of boys.

These things I saw and recall with sweet wistfulness. But of these things Bartimaeus would have no memories or knowledge. Yes, he could have smelled the whins, if there were any in his land and he could have put forth his hand and felt their jagged spines but what is that in comparison to gazing upon the yellow beauty of their blossoms, common shrub and all as it might be!

Doubtless the roadsides of Israel were dotted with the likes of blind Bartimaeus. Their very familiarity would have tended to lessen any sympathy for them amongst the passersby. The old saying amongst us that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ may not have been true of those who looked upon the blind on the roadsides back then but I am sure the attitude of many would have bordered on that.


“‭And‭ when he heard‭‭ that‭ it was‭‭ Jesus‭ of Nazareth‭, he began‭‭ to cry out‭‭, and‭ say‭‭, Jesus‭, ‭thou‭ Son‭ of David‭, have mercy‭‭ on me‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ verse 47.

In Luke’s account of this miracle we have the additional information: “And‭ hearing‭‭ the multitude‭ pass by‭‭, he asked‭‭ what‭ it‭ meant‭‭,” 18:36. How important to a blind man are his ears and hearing. Crowds travelling the road would have been common at times of ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Israel’s feast days and pilgrims journeying to and from the gatherings in Jerusalem. But this was not a time for such. He therefore asked ‘what it meant’!

There are many things about which we depend for information upon the answers of others. Asking directions is a very common feature, identifying the questioner as a stranger. There are matters about which each one of us is a stranger and we depend upon help from others for information. I can recall the information I received some 60 years ago on the 27th March, 1964, from some girls on a train to Portrush. It was unsought information for they witnessed to me and a friend of the gospel message and how we needed to be saved if we were to ever get to heaven. I did not receive the information gladly, rather the opposite was the case and yet it led to my conversion just over a week later on April 4th.

The news that greeted the query of Bartimaeus was not greeted as was my information. Rather it spurred him instantly to urgent action. What he heard meant a lot to him! Unlike me, he was most excited to be told that “Jesus‭ of Nazareth‭ passeth by‬‬”!

Whenever I have read this story I have considered how it was that Bartimaeus came by the information regarding Jesus‭ of Nazareth‭, that ‬‬aroused him to such animated action.

Doubtless, he sought for news from any willing to stop and inform him of what was happening in the country. Surely the widespread reports of the Lord Jesus and His wonderful activities and miracles, would have been told to him. Does it not say in Matthew 9:26: “‭And‭ the fame‭ hereof‭ went abroad‭‭ into‭ all‭ that‭ land‭”! ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Bartimaeus would have heard something of that fame and what it was that made the Saviour ‘famous’. The word ‘fame’ simply means ‘report’. Therefore would not Bartimaeus have been given details of the words, the miracles of the Lord Jesus?

Surely he would have heard that there “‭‭was brought‭‭ unto him‭ one possessed with a devil‭‭, blind‭, and‭ dumb‭: and‭ he healed‭‭ him‭, insomuch that‭ the blind‭ and‭ dumb‭ both‭ spake‭‭ and‭ saw‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 12:22. He would have heard also that it was not a matter of just one blind man being delivered from his affliction. He likely would have heard that the Saviour had quoted from Isaiah 61:1, “‭The Spirit‭ of the Lord‭ ‭is‭ upon‭ me‭, because‭ he hath anointed‭‭ me‭ to preach the gospel‭‭ to the poor‭; he hath sent‭‭ me‭ to heal‭‭ the brokenhearted‭‭‭, to preach‭‭ deliverance‭ to the captives‭, and‭ recovering of sight‭ to the blind‭, to set‭‭ at‭ liberty‭ them that are bruised‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Luke 4:18.

In the darkness of his roadside beggings, Bartimaeus had contemplated what he had heard and had come to a decision regarding “Jesus of Nazareth”. He decided that he was ‘Jesus, the Son of David’. Speaking of the Saviour thus, he was acknowledging the Lord Jesus as the Messiah! He came reverently and truly to the conclusion suggested by others when they saw the miracles of Christ. “‭Then‭ was brought‭‭ unto him‭ one possessed with a devil‭‭, blind‭, and‭ dumb‭: and‭ he healed‭‭ him‭, insomuch that‭ the blind‭ and‭ dumb‭ both‭ spake‭‭ and‭ saw‭‭.‭ ‭And‭ all‭ the people‭ were amazed‭‭, and‭ said‭‭, Is‭‭ not‭ this‭ the son‭ of David‭?‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 12:22-23.

One of the prophecies of the Messiah had led the Jews to call the promised Messiah, ‘the Son of David’. Thus Matthew begins his gospel with the words: “‭The book‭ of the generation‭ of Jesus‭ Christ‭, the son‭ of David‭.” Blind ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Bartimaeus embraced the reports of the Lord Jesus and His miracles and words and by faith received Him, Whom he had not yet seen or heard as the Saviour of sinners.

This incident is often spoken of as the record of the conversion of Bartimaeus. I believe that he was already converted but rather we have here a believer claiming healing from blindness.

It was his faith and knowledge which moved him to so much excitement and urgent action upon hearing the news that it was Jesus of Nazareth that was passing by. Here was an opportunity to be delivered from his blindness and he was not going to miss it.


“And many charged him that he should hold his peace.” The response of these opponents, doubtlessly thinking that such a poor ragged being was being very forward calling upon the Lord Jesus as he did, was to try to silence him. However, I believe that behind the opposition was the evil scheming of the ‘great opponent’ of sinners and saints seeking the Lord! I speak of the devil. He who strove to push Adam and Eve out of fellowship with the Lord, is here striving to hinder Bartimaeus closing with Christ and obtaining a deliverance from his affliction.

It is to be noted that ‘many charged him that he should hold his peace’. That means that a large number in unison strictly demanded that he be quiet!

What hindrances we meet when seeking the Lord for His blessing!

Hymn writer Will­iam Cow­per puts it well:

What va­ri­ous hin­dranc­es we meet
In coming to the mer­cy seat?
Yet who that knows the worth of pray­er,
But wish­es to be oft­en there.

Prayer makes the dark­ened cloud with­draw,
Prayer climbs the lad­der Ja­cob saw;
Gives ex­er­cise to faith and love,
Brings ev­ery bless­ing from above.

Restraining pray­er, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Chris­tian’s ar­mour bright;
And Sa­tan trem­bles, when he sees
The weak­est saint upo­n his knees.

While Mo­ses stood with arms spread wide,
Success was found on Is­ra­el’s side;
But when thro’ wea­ri­ness they failed,
That mo­ment Am­a­lek pre­vailed.

Have you no words? Ah, think again,
Words flow apace when you com­plain;
And fill your fel­low crea­ture’s ear
With the sad tale of all your care.

Were half the breath thus vain­ly spent,
To Heav’n in sup­pli­ca­tion sent;
Your cheer­ful song would oft­en­er be,
“Hear what the Lord has done for me!”

The experience of Bartimaeus was not unique. It is the experience of all believers. Hindrances of every form are encountered when we desire to seek the Lord. From within our own sinful nature, from circumstances that surround us – our busy activities etc, the call of the world with its allurements and pleasures — all combine to distract and hamper our seeking of the face of Christ.

Had those opposing Bartimaeus been successful what a loss he would have suffered. Likewise, many a believer is robbed of much of that which they have a right to claim from the Lord. Malachi wrote: “‭Bring‭‭ ye all the tithes‭ into the storehouse‭‭, that there may be meat‭ in mine house‭, and prove‭‭ me now herewith‭, saith‭‭ the LORD‭ of hosts‭, if I will not open‭‭ you the windows‭ of heaven‭, and pour you out‭‭ a blessing‭, that ‭there shall‭ not ‭be room‭ enough‭ ‭to receive it‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 3:10. We can be robbed of such an abundance as here set forth by our own follies.

Christian, seek the spirit of determination of Bartimaeus and don’t be robbed!


“But he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. . . . . And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

The Saviour was of a very different mind from those seeking to silence Bartimaeus. He ‘commanded’ him to be brought before Him. Has not the Saviour told us that: “‭Ask‭‭, and‭ it shall be given‭‭ you‭; seek‭‭, and‭ ye shall find‭‭; knock‭‭, and‭ it shall be opened‭‭ unto you‭:‭ ‭for‭ every one‭ that asketh‭‭ receiveth‭‭; and‭ he that seeketh‭‭ findeth‭‭; and‭ to him that knocketh‭‭ it shall be opened‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 7:7-8? Certainly the blind man proved this to be so.

It is interesting that we read that upon hearing the call of Christ into His presence, “‭‭he, casting away‭‭ his‭ garment‭, rose‭‭, and came‭‭ to‭ Jesus‭.‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ verse 50. This reason for this is, I believe, plain. The blind man may not have been able to see that garment he cast away but he would have been aware that it was stained and filthy because of his inability to keep from staining it, nor to see any stains that had formed. He was conscious of his unworthiness of being in the presence of Christ but he sought to make what changes he could. As the prophet urges us as we seek the Lord, so did the blind man. “‭Wash‭‭ you, make you clean‭‭; put away‭‭ the evil‭ of your doings‭ from before‭ mine eyes‭; cease‭‭ to do evil‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Isaiah 1:16. The blind man is to be copied in this matter.

Again, we should note how he most assuredly answered the Saviour’s question. “‭And‭ Jesus‭ answered‭‭ and said‭‭ unto him‭, What‭ wilt‭‭ thou that I should do‭‭ unto thee‭?‭ The blind man‭ said‭‭ unto him‭, Lord‭, that‭ I might receive my sight‭‭,‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ verses 51. Oh how conscious he was of his need; how clearly he recognised the glorious opportunity granted to him. Consequently, he asks immediately, “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭Lord‭, that‭ I might receive my sight‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.”

Such eager and believing prayers will be answered most readily! “‭And‭ Jesus‭ said‭‭ unto him‭, Go thy way‭‭; thy‭ faith‭ hath made‭‭ thee‭ whole‭‭,”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ verse 52. It was as if the Saviour opened a door out of the blindness in which this man had long been confined. What a door Christ does indeed open! We may step out into abundant life. Jesus has told us: “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭I‭ am come‭‭ that‭ they might have‭‭ life‭, and‭ that they might have‭‭ ‭it‭ more abundantly‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ John 10:10.

What abundance Bartimaeus stepped out into!

We must note the immediate action of the blind man. “And‭ immediately‭ he received his sight‭‭, and‭ followed‭‭ Jesus‭ in‭ the way‭,” verse 52.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ I have often thought of all the places that Bartimaeus had heard of and would naturally have desired longingly to see. Jerusalem, the temple, the river Jordan, the Sea of Galilee and many other places. But what of the faces of his loved ones, the beauty of the flowers, the perfume which he would have often enjoyed, the birds whose singing must have blessed him and then the bright sun that warmed him as he sat by the roadside. In truth, not knowing what it is to be blinded, I am only guessing at what the man would have longed to look upon. But, whatever longings he had, please note what he did: “followed Jesus in the way.” The first thing he had seen with his wonderfully opened eyes was the loving and lovely face of the Lord Jesus. Whatever he had may have dreamed of possibly seeing one day, left his mind and he desired ONLY to see and hear more of the Saviour.

Again, let us learn from the blind man. “‭But‭ seek ye‭‭ first‭ the kingdom‭ of God‭, and‭ his‭ righteousness‭; and‭ all‭ these things‭ shall be added‭‭ unto you‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Matthew 6:33.

Something of that which the hymn writer penned was the thinking of the blind man. It is many years ago now since I first heard these words but they embodied the emotions of my heart as well.

Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know;
Spirit, breathing from above,
Thou hast taught me it is so.
Oh, this full and perfect peace!
Oh, this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease,
I am His, and He is mine.

Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
Flow’rs with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms
Cannot now disturb my rest;
Closed in everlasting arms,
Pillowed on the loving breast.
Oh, to lie forever here,
Doubt and care and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear,
I am His, and He is mine.

His forever, only His:
Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss
Christ can fill the loving heart.
Heaven and earth may fade and flee,
Firstborn light in gloom decline;
But, while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.

Bartimaeus “f‭‭‭‭‭ollowed‭‭ Jesus‭ in‭ the way‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬”. “The Way” is the path we should be on as we seek to follow the Lord Jesus. The early days of the apostles saw the Christian faith spoken of as ‘that way’ (Acts 19:9). The Lord Jesus said He was “the way” (John 14:6). In this day in which deceivers claim that there are ‘many ways’ to God and to heaven, follow the example of Bartimaeus and the exhortation of the apostle Paul — “‭Brethren‭, be‭‭ followers together‭ of me‭, and‭ mark‭‭ them which walk‭‭ so‭ as‭ ye have‭‭ us‭ for an ensample‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ (Philippians 3:17), dear Christian.

By doing so we will never go astray!

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
8th February 2024