And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you."Mark 10:49(NASB)
None of us can begin to understand the agony Christ faced as He made His way to Jerusalem, before being sacrificed for the sin of the world. He had just blessed the little children and was indignant when His short-sighted disciples tried to discourage them from coming to Jesus. He was further saddened to see the rich young ruler, whom He loved so deeply, abandon the eternal riches he could find in Christ, for love of his earthly wealth.
He continued to teach His slow-learning followers that only by God's grace is salvation received, and reminded them that entrance into His Kingdom is impossible by man's merit, man's strength, man's abilities, man's wisdom, man's righteousness - yet He taught them that with God all things are possible - with God salvation and entrance into the Kingdom IS possible.
As they accompanied Him to that pivotal point in history, where the price for sin would be paid once and for all, Jesus told them for the last time, that He was to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, who would condemn Him to death, deliver Him to the Gentiles, mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and finally kill Him - but He also reassured them that He would rise from the dead after three days.
Jesus warned them that persecution would stalk their earthly path as well, yet these short-sighted men preferred to squabble over their own position in Christ's coming Kingdom, rather than recognise the significance of this epic walk to Jerusalem, or that they were participants in the greatest event in the history of human-kind, as they accompanied the Lamb of God to Calvary - where He was to pay the price for the sin of the world.
It was in the midst of all this that Jesus and His disciples came to Jericho. We are not told when Jesus entered this city, who He saw, what He said or what He did there, but we are told that a blind beggar, called Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the side of the road.
By the time Jesus left the city, large crowds had gathered around Him, and there must have been some considerable commotion. No doubt this blind man was curious to find out what all the noise and excitement was about. As soon as he heard it was Jesus the Nazarene, he immediately began to cry out with a loud voice, "Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!" Many people roughly told him to keep quiet, but he cried out all the more, "Have mercy on me, Son of David!"
No doubt this Jewish man had heard tales of Christ's teaching and amazing miracles. No doubt he had heard how Jesus healed the lame, cured the deaf, cast out demons, and did many other signs and wonders, and Bartimaeus was not going to let this opportunity slip by, and so we read that ignoring the rebukes of the crowd, he kept shouting out for mercy. "And Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him here.' So they called the blind man, saying to him, 'Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.'"
Faith comes by hearing and the blind man's cry for mercy demonstrated an attitude of trust, humility, and dependence. He had heard about Jesus and cried out to Him, and Jesus responded to the call. It was not the loudness of his cry that caused Jesus to call for him, for He can hear the faintest sigh from any trusting heart that cries out to Him. There is not a single little child that Jesus will fail to bless and there is not a single, blind beggarman that fails to touch His heart of compassion.
The indifference and carelessness of the crowd stands in stark contrast to Christ's compassionate heart and willing ear. They quickly changed their tune from rebuking him to reassuring him, when Jesus said, "call him here." They were more excited at the anticipated healing miracle they were about to witness, than a sudden surge of brotherly love for this noisy beggarman, who was causing such a commotion at the roadside.
Why did Jesus find it necessary to go to Jericho on His way to Jerusalem? Maybe it was for a little refreshment or some other purpose. But when Jesus left that city, there was a beggarman whose life would never be the same again. For when Bartimaeus was asked by Jesus, "What do you want Me to do for you?" the blind man immediately responded, "Rabboni - Lord, that I may receive my sight."
"Go your way," Jesus told him, "Your faith has healed you." And from that point, Bartimaeus could see. He was made whole and began to follow the Lord along the road. We do not hear of Bartimaeus again. We do not have a record of what he did following his miraculous healing. But he was a changed man who had trusted in Jesus of Nazareth - the Son of David - the Son of God. And I have no doubt that for the rest of his life, Bartimaeus told others of the wonderful things that Jesus did for him.
We may not have been healed from physical blindness, but the miracle that Christ has done in our lives is no less astonishing, for the eyes of our hearts have been opened to the gospel of grace. We should take every opportunity in the brief time we have left on earth, to proclaim the glories of the Lord and tell others all the things that JESUS has done for US.
Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my spiritually blinded eyes to see the glory of Your wisdom and grace. Thank You for sending Jesus to earth as the sacrifice for my sin, and for seeking me out and calling me to be a child of God and joint-heir with Christ, through faith in His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection. May I be a worthy witness to others of all that You have done for me, as I look for the any-day return of Christ, to take us to be with Himself, forever. In His name I pray, AMEN.