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7.BARTIMAEUS: THE BLIND MAN WHO WOULDN'T SHUT UP!
Mark 10:46-52


I never think about Blind Bartimaeus without thinking of the young preacher in a seminary preaching class. The professor would choose someone at random to preach and then give him the topic to preach on and after a certain time period the young man would preach the message. This young man who was chosen to preach was told that he was to preach on Blind Bartimaeus. The young man started to preach and he said, “I have three points regarding Blind Bartimaeus: (1) He was blind; (2) He was blind as a bat; (3) He couldn't see a wink.”

Jesus healed many different diseases and sicknesses, but the New Testament records that He healed more men from blindness than any other disease.

In Jesus' day, Eastern countries had a high incidence of blindness. The condition was aggravated by sand and sun glare. It was not unusual to see the blind in their pitiful condition with flies covering their matter-encrusted eyes.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us of Bartimaeus, but only Mark gives us his name.

• Really, even Mark didn't give us his name; he only gave us his father's name. “Bar” means “son of” – he was the son of Timaeus.

• It's like when Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you.” Simon Peter was the son of Jonas.

• So, what his own name was, if he had one, no one knew or cared.

I want us to read about this blind man here in Mark 10.

I. The Condition of the Man 10:46

Blindness has always evoked a degree of pity, and so it was for Bartimaeus.

• In Jesus' day there were no schools for the blind to teach them how to get along in society; no seeing-eye dogs to lead them. Braille had not yet been invented; no disability or welfare was available. To make matters worse, many believed that blindness was punishment from God for some secret sin.

• Folks in that day considered the blind to be a parasite – since they couldn't work, they had to live off the work of others. They were considered used up, throw-away people – just a bit of human wreckage – among the discards of life.

• Beggars turn folks off. We try to avoid them. We tend to look down on them.

• They were compelled to live on charity. Morale had been destroyed.

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• Blindness and poverty went together. The blind were often hungry. They were lonely. They longed for someone to speak a kind word to them, to reach out and touch them, to engage in conversation with them.

• Bartimaeus was never privileged to witness the miracle of a sunrise or a sunset. He never saw the blue of the sky or looked into the face of a child.

• I wonder how many times he asked folks to describe something for him...to explain what the color blue or green looked like.

Every day he sat in his same spot, wondering if there would be good or bad luck that day. Every footstep he heard made him ask himself one question, “What can I get from this one?”

Imagine loosing your sight; living in total darkness. Those of us who have sight are too busy or lazy to see a sunrise or examine a flower.

Let me remind you that there is more than one kind of blindness. There is physical blindness but there is also intellectual blindness. And then there is spiritual blindness.

• 2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan blinds the mind and heart to the horror of sin. The lost man who is spiritually blind cannot see where sin is leading him or what sin will do to him. He is unable to see the wrath of God to come. Nor is he able to see the beauty and loveliness of Jesus.

• Someone once bluntly asked blind and deaf Helen Keller, “Isn't it terrible to be blind?” To which she responded, “Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”

Satan will blind your eyes by keeping you in the dark about your need for forgiveness and salvation. He will blind you to God's power that is available to every sinner and blind to the fact that Jesus has made provision to meet our needs.

• Satan will make the sinner believe his lies that the Christian life is the most miserable thing anyone can experience.

• I remember hearing a story not long ago about two boys from the country who were riding on a train for the very first time. As they sat in their seats, and looked out of the windows, they were filled with amazement. The train was zooming and the scenery was flashing past their eye as they gazed in wonder.

Eventually a porter came through the car selling bananas. Each boy bought one and about the time the first boy took a bite of his banana, the train went into a deep, dark, long tunnel. As the two boys sat in stunned silence, one said to the other, “John have you eaten your banana yet?”

“No, why?” his friend responded. “Well, don't do it, cause if you do, it'll make you blind as a bat!” We can laugh at this ridiculous story, but the lies of the devil make just as little sense. He wants to blind us to peace, joy and forgiveness that gives us abundant, everlasting life.

There is only one thing worse than being blind spiritually and that's being spiritually blind and not knowing it. Many are blind to their sin, their destiny, their hopelessness. They are spiritually out of touch. Titus 1:15

All of a sudden Bartimaeus heard a crowd stirring. He couldn't see but he had trained his ears to hear what others didn't take time to hear. He heard the shrill voices of children. People were in a hurry to see someone. Excitement was in the air. He reached out and grabbed the skirt of a passerby and asked,

“What's going on? What's all the excitement? Where are all the people going?”

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• He is told that it is Jesus! He has heard much about Jesus – His teaching, His miracles, His testimony – “I am the way, the truth, the life...I have come down from heaven to do my Father's will.”

• Bartimaeus doesn't have sight, but he has insight. He believes Jesus is the Messiah...and the Messiah can open blinded eyes according to the prophet Isaiah.

Don't forget that person who told Bartimaeus that it was Jesus who was coming. If he had not told him, he might never had known that Jesus was passing by.

Notice this: Bartimaeus couldn't go to Jesus, so Jesus came to him.

II. The Cry For Mercy 10:47-48

He had been crying out for money; now he cries out for mercy...and our Lord is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4)...He has plenty of mercy to give.

It's humbling to beg for money, but Bartimaeus had given up his dignity a long time ago. He spent years pleading for money, so he can easily plead for mercy.

As Bartimaeus cried out for mercy, the crowd tried to shut him up – but he cried out the more, “Have mercy on me!”

• The onlookers could afford to be quiet, but for Bartimaeus, his sight was at stake. This was the last time Jesus would pass through Jericho.

• Did you notice who was trying to quite Bartimaeus down? It was those who were following Jesus to Jerusalem!

• I think when they were trying to hush Bartimaeus, they thought they were being kind to Jesus. After all, He had cares and concerns of His own. But they were cruel to Bartimaeus in their effort to be kind to Jesus. We are never kind to Jesus if we are harsh and stern to those who are lost.

Have you ever helped someone to Christ? Have you ever hindered anyone from coming to Christ?

III. The Cure From the Master 10:49-52

A. Jesus Called the Man 10:49-50

• “Jesus stood still.” He was on His way to the cross, but Jesus stopped His mission for this man who asked for mercy.

• On the one hand, nothing could stop Him from His mission of going to the cross – no opposition, no pleading from loving but ignorant friends, no protest of Peter. But the humble cry for mercy from a blind man stopped Him.

• Jesus gave the command to bring the man to Him.

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As soon as Jesus called for the man, the very people who moments before were telling him to shut up, go out of their way to show him attention.

- “Arise, He's calling for you.” He didn't need a second invitation! Can you imagine the thrill

of Bartimaeus? This is the first time anyone ever called for him. All he ever heard was, “Get

out of my way...” “Get away from me.”

- Throwing off his garment speaks of throwing off anything that would hinder him from getting

to Jesus, throwing everything of the old life away!

B. Jesus Confronted the Man 19:51

“What do you want Me to do for you?” That sounds like a dumb question, but Jesus never asks dumb questions.

Many don't receive the help they need because they lack the courage and humility to admit their need.

Why did Jesus ask him that question?

1. Many are content and comfortable with their problems and sins. They don't really want

Jesus to disturb them.

If Jesus gives him his sight, things will be different in his life. He will have to work for a

living; no more handouts. He will have to take responsibility for his life.

2. I think Jesus asked him that question to strengthen his faith. Did this man really believe that

Jesus had the power to give him his sight?

3. Jesus wanted this man to confess his need.

4. Jesus wanted him to make a public profession of his faith.

Bartimaeus said, “Lord, I want to receive my sight” – to see, to get off the roadside, to walk the streets without running into walls, to find my way to the synagogue, to use my hands for some-

thing beside feeling my way in the dark, to fix my own meals, to read, to look into the eyes of a friend, to see the face of a child.

C. Jesus Cured the Man 10:52

• Here is a blind man standing before the King of Heaven; the one who gave light to the sun, moon and stars. But His response is not one of a King, but a lowly servant asking, “What do you want me to do for you – What is your bidding?”

• “And immediately he received his sight.” No surgery; no bandages; no glasses. Boom! Sight!

• And the first thing he sees is the face of Jesus with His eyes of tenderness and love.

10:52 says, He “followed Him on the road” to Jerusalem? I wonder if he followed Jesus all the way to Jerusalem. Did he see Jesus crucified? If he did, I wonder if he wished he were blind again so he wouldn't have to witness his Savior's death.

Are you blind, spiritually?

Some may need to have their spiritually lost eyes open.

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But how many of us have spiritually dim eyes. Jesus asks us, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

• “Lord, that I might have a kind and Christian tongue.”

• “Lord, that I might be able to hold my temper.”

• “Lord, that I might be cleansed from impure thoughts and imaginations.”

• “Lord, that I might have victory over a besetting sin.”

• “Lord, that I might have a heart for those on the roadside of life; those who lie crumpled and

cast aside; those forgotten and ignored.”

• “Lord, that I might be able to comfort someone, to listen and encourage and meet the needs of

others.”