The story of Bartimaeus (see Luke 18:35-43) is a simple story of one man’s faith and how God, through the Person of His Son Jesus, acknowledged that faith. Bartimaeus was a blind man who cried out to the Lord to restore his sight.
Bartimaeus is notable because he saw Jesus as more than just a man or a healer or a miracle worker; by calling him, “Jesus, Son of David,” he was acknowledging Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, whereas the sighted people following Jesus merely called Him “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus Can Work Miracles
SOMETIMES, I FEEL LIKE I just need a miracle. Someone Big, Strong, Powerful, and Important to show up, snap his fingers, and make all of my problems go away.
- Luke 18:38 (NKJV): And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
- Luke 18:43 (ESV): “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him [Jesus], glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”
Sometimes, I just want a super-hero to swoop in, whether he flies like Superman or Mighty Mouse, or clings to the web like Spider Man, or drives a supercharged sports car like Batman and Robin, to “save the day” for the good guys.
Ever feel like that? I’m sure you do. We all do. It’s normal. It’s part of life here on planet Earth. Despite all of our joys and happy moments, we all feel there is something desperately wrong with our lives and our condition.
We feel alienated, as if we don’t belong here.
In reality, we don’t.
Philippians 3:20 (NIV) tells us “our citizenship is in heaven.” In Hebrews 11, we learn that the Old Testament saints were “looking forward to a city with eternal foundations” (Hebrews 11:10 NLT), while Solomon reminds us that God “set eternity in the hearts of men.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 BSB)
LEARNING FROM A BLIND MAN
We may blame Adam and Eve for their disobedience, because our separation from God results from the curse from their disobedience, but truth be told, we have enough disobedience of our own. So, we can blame ourselves.
As we know, God in His mercy stepped in and reclaimed us through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, so believing in Him puts us back together again (unlike Humpty Dumpty, who remains a hopeless creature of brokenness).
However, in our brokenness, we need to continue to seek God, to repent of our sins, and to knock on the door of fellowship.
Bartimaeus, the blind man in Luke’s story, shows us how simple faith is all that it takes to restore that broken relationship that our sin, and only our sin, caused.
EXAMINING THE LESSON
I’M INDEBTED TO Pastor Gary Hamrick, Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg, Va., for his insight and exegesis of this Scriptural passage.
We see five lessons or “take-aways” from Bartimaeus:
- He believed that Jesus is a miracle-working God
- He appealed to the mercy of God
- He dismissed the voices of doubt
- He exercised faith in God
- He gave all the glory to God.
In Luke’s account, Bartimaeus is a blind man who lost his sight, probably from an infection, which was common in that day. Once a hearty man, he was reduced to begging by a busy commercial route.
One day, he heard a loud commotion as a small army of excited passers-by kicked up dust in his face. He called out, asking who was there. Several in the crowd, proudly following Jesus on His way to Jerusalem and the Cross, replied that it was “Jesus of Nazareth.”
A dismissive appellation, really, as He was more than just a regular bloke. He also was Almighty God.
But Bartimaeus, the man who couldn’t see because of his physical blindness, could see “spiritually” more than what Jesus’ followers — we might call them the “church” — saw.
Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was, and is, the Lord.
ARE WE SEEKING MIRACLES
DO WE LOOK FOR MIRACLES? How many of us truly believe the Creator of the universe would bother Himself with showing us a miracle when (1) He has so much other work to do, and (2) Other people either are more worthy than we are or are in more desperate need?
Yet, our Lord assured us in His earthly ministry that not even a sparrow falls without the Father’s notice (Matthew 10:29-31) and that we, His image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-27), are infinitely more important to Him than sparrows.
Certainly, this view is the deception the Liar, the Great Deceiver, whispers in our ears that, yes, God can, will, and does perform miracles today … just not for you (John 8:44; 10:10a).
Yet, look again at the plight of Bartimaeus and his faith in Jesus as Lord. A blind beggar sitting along a dusty road, totally dependent on the generosity of stingy, self-centered heathens for is survival, was important enough to Jesus that on His way to the Cross, Jesus stopped the procession, called him over, inquired of his wishes, and granted it immediately.
Why would anyone not believe that same Lord would look upon us with the same measure of compassion, love, forgiveness, and healing.
He Still Can.
He Still Will.
He Still Does.
Dear Father God, we need a miracle. We need You to swoop down and heal our souls, heal our hearts, heal our world.
We need humility in our lives to bend our wills to Yours, to repent of our sins, and to turn in a new direction, one that imitates the life of our Lord Jesus.
Forgive us, Lord, for our disobedience, and set a new heart within us, one of flesh and not of stone, one of humility and not of pride. In the name of Jesus we raise this prayer. AMEN