"Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. So they called the blind man, saying, "Be of good comfort. Rise, He is calling you."" – Mark 10:49 (MEV)
Mark's account of the healing of the blind man named Bartimaeus always stuns me. It's a short but powerful account that tells us just how Christ wants us to reach out to Him. Bartimaeus should inspire us to have faith, and Christ's response to him should teach us to exercise that faith.
Why is that? Let's talk about what we can learn from Jesus' response to a blind man with faith.
Taking the opportunity to cry for help
Bartimaeus was a blind beggar sitting beside a road in Jericho. Like the blind beggars we see, he probably relied on what he heard to make it through the day: he would hear footsteps of people passing by, and then he would ask them for help. Perhaps some would give to him generously, perhaps not. What we do know was that he sat there begging.
One fateful day, however, Bartimaeus heard that the Miracle Man named Jesus of Nazareth would be passing by with His disciples. What I find astonishing here is how he responded to the news of Christ's coming: he grabbed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask for Jesus' help.
"When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"" (Mark 10:47)
Bartimaeus' cry wasn't met with an instant response - nor a positive one at that. Mark 10:48 tells us that "many ordered him to keep silent."
How many times in our lives have we been attacked or harassed into silence by our enemy, the devil? How many times have we prayed to the Lord for help, provision, grace, or whatever need, and received no response? How many times have we tried to read our Bibles but found ourselves distracted by many unimportant things?
How many times has our faith been stifled or challenged?
Bartimaeus knew what it was like to be forced to shut up. But he didn't shut up: "he cried out even more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"" (see Mark 10:48)
Wonder of wonders, the God of all creation – walking among men – heard Bartimaeus' cry and responded:
"Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. So they called the blind man, saying, "Be of good comfort. Rise, He is calling you."" (Mark 10:49)
We read in the following verses how Bartimaeus humbly asked Jesus to give him sight, and how the Lord lovingly opened the eyes of this man who had been suffering from a lifetime of darkness. We also read how he decided to respond to the gift of sight given to him: by fixing his eyes on Jesus and following Him (see Mark 10:52).
What it means for us
Friends, there's so much wealth to mine from that short encounter, but for now I want us to focus on just one thing – what made Christ respond to Bartimaeus? Simple: his faith.
"Go your way. Your faith has made you well." (see Mark 10:52)
You see, friends, Bartimaeus exercised so much faith in that short encounter. First he cried out to the One he believed could heal him; second, he kept calling out even after everyone tried to shut him up; and third, he made his request believing that it would be given to him by the Lord.
Do we have that kind of faith? Do we really believe that God can and wants to respond to our cries? Do we really believe that He can meet our needs and even our wildest dreams? Do we have faith that allows us to keep praying and praying until God responds?
Bartimaeus' faith caused Christ to stop and respond. Let's have the kind of faith that would make Him respond as well.