Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on me!

Harold_Copping_The_Healing_of_the_Blind_Bartimaeus_7001eef83446Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road (Luke 18:46-52).

As Jesus approaches the city of Jericho, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting beside the road in a place that was strategic for begging. With the popularity of Jesus being what it was, a great crowd of people were traveling with Him. It is possible that because of the crowd Jesus did not even see the blind beggar; His focus may have been on His teaching while walking. It is also possible that Christ did see the blind beggar but chose to wait until there was an expression of His faith. I wonder how many times it is that Jesus has passed us by because we have not cried out to Him in our need.

When Bartimaeus heard the commotion of a large band of people passing by, he inquired who it was. He must have heard testimony about Jesus at some time because when he was told it was Jesus of Nazareth, his response was to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Notice that he did not call him Jesus of Nazareth. Son of David was a title for the Messiah (Messiah is the Hebrew word for Christ; it means God’s Anointed One). Mark in his narrative tells us that all he had in his possession was a cloak. He also adds that when Jesus called him, he threw his cloak aside, jumped to his feet and came to Jesus:

49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus (Mark 10:50).

He may have been homeless and it is possible that his cloak was his evening blanket. Faith and desperation rose up within him as he shouted out to Jesus. Some on the outskirts of the crowd could not hear the master teach over the beggar’s shouting. They rebuked him and told him to be quiet, possibly because they thought he was begging money from Jesus.

Those around Christ could not keep Bartimaeus quiet. A different Greek word is used the second time, in verse 39 it is translated: “he shouted all the more,” the Greek word used is krazō, which means to scream or shriek.[1] The tense of the original Greek language brings out the fact that he kept on shouting and screaming. He would not shut up! The picture we get is of a man going crazy with emotion. There is desperation behind Bartimaeus’ voice. If ever there was a picture of one who sought for Christ with all his heart this was it. Bartimaeus had this one opportunity and he was not going to let Jesus go by without doing all in his power to get his need met.

Leonard Ravenhill, the Bible teacher, once said: “God doesn’t answer prayer, He answers desperate prayer!” I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement, but there is a truth that is worth extracting from the quote. Desperate prayer touches the compassionate heart of God. We see example after example in the Gospels of desperate people getting their need met by Jesus.

Mark, in his Gospel, indicates that this happened as Jesus and the crowd was leaving the city (Mark 10:46). Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, it is a beautiful thought that even though Christ was on His way up to Jerusalem to be crucified, He had time to stop and call Bartimaeus, asking him what he wanted from Him. Whatever He was teaching while walking, it was forgotten due to a persons need. Don’t ever think that Jesus does not have time for you in your need. He cares and will hear your cry if you will seek Him with all your heart. The cloak was thrown aside. He did not have another concern about that cloak. Perhaps it represented to him his old tattered life; Christ was now his only concern.

Because he was blind, people led him to Jesus. It was pretty obvious what his need was, so why did Jesus ask him what he wanted? Often Christ waits for us to put into words exactly what we want. He is looking to see how much of our heart is in what we desire Him to do for us. Our heart must be in what we pray for. How much of yourself goes into your prayer life? Fervency of heart is something that Bartimaeus had. The Greek word translated fervent is energeō. We get the English word energy from this Greek word. Bartimaeus’ heart was in his approach and plea to Christ. It was filled with energy or fervency. The ability to call and not be put off by distractions, people, and things is most important in a prayer life that is effective. Jesus found a man in great need and He would not pass by. When the man voiced his need to the Lord, the immediate words were: “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (Verse 42).

What did Christ see Bartimaeus doing that was an expression of his faith? Bartimaeus had never seen Christ; all that he learned about Christ was due to the testimony of others. When people told him: “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you” (Mark 10:49), he believed their testimony, abandoned his cloak, and men led him to Christ. His faith was expressed not only through his actions by coming to Christ, but also by his ability to not be put off without getting his need met. There was a mixture of faith in his words, his acts, and his passion or fervency. No wonder he followed Jesus, praising God. Who wouldn’t?

Can you see Him with the eyes of faith today? He is very much alive and close to all who are hurting and in need a Savior. All He waits for is your heart felt call, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Would you tell Him your need today? He hasn’t changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What He did for Bartimaeus, He can do for you. When Jesus had finished saying the words “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” the blind man’s eyes were opened to see…The Savior of the World, Jesus, God in the flesh! Wouldn’t that be awesome! One day, these eyes of flesh will close for the last time, and spiritual eyes will open to the same sight, Jesus the Christ. I hope you know Him! We will gaze on His loveliness and majesty, and all the pain of this life will be gone. What an awesome day that will be!

Keith Thomas


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