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.
(ALSO FOUND IN MATTHEW 20 AND LUKE 18)
The significance of Jericho:
In The Other Accounts: There were two cities named Jericho: the ruined old city and the new city about a mile away, built by Herod. This helps to explain how He could depart from Jericho (Matt. 20:29), draw near to Jericho (Luke 18:35), and come and go out of Jericho all at the same time and still meet the two blind beggars (Matt. 20:30).
In Symbolism: Jericho symbolizes the human capacity to think, speak and act devoid of emotions and feelings for others.
This will tie in later:
There was a crowd of people with Jesus and the disciples as he made his way to His Last Passover
BLINDNESS DURING THIS TIME :
Diseases of the eye are very common in the East. Thomson says of Ramleh, “The ash-heaps are extremely mischievous; on the occurrence of the slightest wind the air is filled with a fine, pungent dust, which is very injurious to the eyes. I once walked the streets counting all that were either blind or had defective eyes, and it amounted to about one-half the male population. The women I could not count, for they are rigidly veiled” (“Land and Book”). Palgrave says that ophthalmia is fearfully prevalent, especially among children. “It would be no exaggeration to say that one adult out of every five has his eyes more or less damaged by the consequences of this disease” (“Central and Eastern Arabia”).
Bartimaeus literally mean, in Aramaic “son/person of defilement (tame’).” This could, therefore, be a nickname given to him because he was a blind beggar. Popular theology among the Hebrews held blindness to be a punishment from God for sin or defilement (John 9:34). But the Greek version of the name could also be understood as “son/person of honor” (timÉ). This would indicate the man’s inner nature and destiny. By giving us the name Bartimaeus with its double meaning, Mark could be telling us that here is a man who is supposed to be a man of honor and dignity (timÉ) but living in a state of dishonor and shame (tame’). –Reflections by George Vagas
He is called by name by Mark. He is said to be a part of the early church. He was someone that could readily be pointed to as proof of Jesus’ Miracle-working Power.
SAT BY THE HIGHWAY BEGGING
This was a prominent place for begging. They would sit outside of wealthy cities to catch the passersby as they either entered or exited. He had his regular place.
HEARD IT WAS JESUS PASSING BY:
Someone told him it was JESUS.
HE BEGAN TO CRY OUT:
Bartimaeus clamored for His attention and relentlessly shouted for Jesus to have mercy on him.
“JESUS, THOU SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!”
Reminder: Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to be crucified. They had already put people out of the Temple for saying He was Messiah. Son of David is a Messianic Title: Isa. 11:1-5 Rod out of the Stem of Jesse; Jer. 23:5-6 David’s Righteous Branch; Ezek. 34:23-24 A Shepherd like David
“HOLD YOUR PEACE”
Exactly who was in the crowd?
Those that hated Jesus: Man shut up we don’t like your reference.
Those that didn’t believe: Hey man shut up we got places to go. Stop being a nuisance.
Those so-called believers: Be quiet you are not important.
The word tense in the original shows that they kept on rebuking him repeatedly.
What did he do?
BUT HE CRIED THE MORE:
But – In counter distinction
The more they told him to be quiet the louder he got
“THOU SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!”
Some look at this narrative in Mark and see how the blind man could see and the sighted where, but Mark may be pointing to a distinction between the reaction of the crowd and of Jesus to the blind man. Again back to what I told you about the symbolic meaning of Jericho: Jericho symbolizes the human capacity to think, speak and act devoid of emotions and feelings for others.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.”
His mission was up ahead. The draw of the cross was strong. Jesus stood still. He did not go back. He told them to call him up.
Now the comment changed:
And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee
CASTING AWAY HIS GARMENT:
He cast off his outward covering, a blanket, or loose piece of cloth, the usual upper garment. This is a good place to tell you that often not only did they beg by the side of the road, they often lived by the side of the road. That garment acted as shade on the hot days, cover for the cold days, a blanket to sleep under. It is often all that they have. But he cast it off. He didn’t want anything to keep him from getting to Jesus as quick as possible;
SOMETIMES WE NEED TO CAST OFF SOME STUFF TO GET TO JESUS
(Self-sufficiency, reliance, will, certain thing, the weight and the sin)
WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?
Wait isn’t it obvious? No, remember he was begging. Not for sight but for his daily bread. He might want a little money to tide him over.
THAT I MIGHT RECEIVE MY SIGHT:
(hina anablepso). To recover sight (ana), see again. Apparently he had once been able to see. Here hina is used though thelo is not (cf. 10:35). The Messiah was expected to give sight to the blind (Isaiah 61:1)
The Scripture says the Messiah would be and I BELIEVE!
The Scripture says the Messiah would cure diseases with no known cure and I BELIEVE
The Scripture says the Messiah would raise the dead and I BELIEVE
The Scripture says the Messiah would make the lame walk and I BELIEVE
The Scripture says the Messiah would heal the blind and I BELIEVE
GO THY WAY THY FAITH HAS MADE THEE WHOLE
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
He went forward. There is no sign that he went back for the garment.