”46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.” —Mark 10:46-52 (ESV)
At Jesus command, in v.49, the disciples call Bartimaeus from the side of the road “Take heart” they told him “Get up; he is calling you.” This is the general call that every hamn hears. In theological terms it’s called ‘general revelation’ –the fact that God and his existence is readily visible in all of creation. (Romans 1:18-24). So much so that if it were not for Sin and mans own depraved nature, we would as humans be able on our own to reach the conclusion that God exists and seek out a relationship with Him. “…so they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
It’s at this point in Mark 10:48 that we all find ourselves. Blind, naked, beggars outside the city: only in the depths of our despair do we cry out for mercy. And even then only when we hear that Jesus might be near. The crux of salvation, the crossroads of repentance is right here at the end of v.48…
And then Jesus stops and calls us.
Stop and ask yourself, what would have happened without that stop? You and me, the blind beggars—what would we have done? We would probably still be content to wallow in our sin, accepting whatever the world is happy to throw our way. But Jesus doesn’t allow that to happen. He sends his disciples with the call… “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” And yet so many refuse to get up. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but the became futile in their thinking. And their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21) They are content to sit in that darkness and worse, according to the rest of Romans 1, rather than get up and regain their sight.
But Bartimaeus didn’t do that. V.50 tells us he ‘sprang up’ and came to Jesus and for the second time, Christ asks the question: “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you ask the King of Kings to do for you if you had a chance? It was well known that the Messiah would be a restorer of sight to the blind. All the Jews in Jerusalem and everywhere else knew this—they were much better at teaching their children than we are—and I’ve got a hunch that this fellow had it pounded into his head too. “You’re worthless without your sight, unless the messiah comes…” said, no doubt, with the same doubt exhibited in the phrase used so often to describe an unknown but very long period of time “Till Jesus comes back…”
‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight’ and in v.52 we see that he does ‘immediately.’
Listen, I think the ‘word of faith’ folks have bludgeoned this passage enough but I will say this much: the point of ‘faith’ for this fellow wasn’t right here when his eyes started working again. It was way back there somewhere when he first heard that maybe Jesus was the Messiah and then finally maybe he’ll be coming through Jericho and then again when someone came by saying “He’ll be here any minute…” and finally in v.47 when he starts crying out for mercy. It wasn’t a moment of belief where his own faith shined bright enough to burn the scales off of his eyes, it was a conscious process where step by step he showed the faith he had been given, the faith to believe that this Jesus of Nazareth was in fact, the ‘Son of David’. And finally in v.50, when given the chance, he throws off his cloak and abandons everything he has for Christ. That’s faith, that’s being made whole and well—the fact that his eyes worked afterward was not the main event.