Sermon at the Open Door on Blind Bartimaeus, April 2018

By Gavin Davies on 6 April 2018

Here are my sermon notes on Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). I’m not a trained preacher but did my best to speak the truth as I understand it.

Hello, my name is Gavin. All I want to be today is a great big spotlight focused on Jesus, not on myself. I’ve been praying about what to speak about and I felt drawn to Mark’s Gospel, chapter 10, verses 46 to 52.

Gospel means “good news”, so I’m very excited to share this news with you all!

46 Then 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “call him” So they called to the blind man, “cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. 51 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.

That’s a great story, I love that! I could talk about that story for hours on end but I just want to draw out a few things.

46 Then 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

To set the scene, we’re coming to the end of the years of Jesus’ ministry on earth, and quite a few people are following Him.

This poor blind man Bartimaeus was sitting on the side of the road begging. A lot of people in this time period thought that if people were in bad situations, it was always their fault. John 9:2 records another blind man, and the disciples ask Jesus “who sinned, this man or his parents?” - they were assuming it was someone’s fault. Jesus radically responded “neither this man not his parents sinned”, which is very different to a culture of blame. We have something of that culture of blame today, don’t we? Some people assume that if someone’s in trouble, “they’ve brought it on themselves” but Jesus showed us that’s not always the case.

47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus! Son of David, have mercy on me!”

He must have heard something about Jesus beforehand. He must have known that there was something special about Jesus, he must have been aware of the buzz that surrounded this man, that there was something different about him. 1st Century Middle East was full of religious leaders, but this man was something different and Bartimaeus knew it. Where other people said “Jesus of Nazareth”, Bartimaeus used a different title for him. He called Him “Son of David”.

“Son of David” is a special title to Jewish people. It means the Messiah, the chosen one, the rescuer. The Hebrew Bible is our Old Testament, and it hints at this rescuer all the way back in Genesis and reveals more and more about Him as the Old Testament goes on.

Imagine it - shut your eyes with me if you feel able to - imagine you’re blind, broke, begging for money by the roadside and you hear that Jesus is walking past. JESUS is walking past! You can’t get to Him, you can’t see! So, what do you do? Do you just let Him walk past?

Or, do you believe like Bartimaeus did, that He is who the Hebrew scriptures says He is, full of compassion? You see, in Psalm 34 verses and 18, we hear about the promised Son of David: This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit

That’s who Bartimaeus realised Jesus was! And if you believe that Jesus Christ is who He says He is, that changes EVERYTHING!

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Again, put yourself in Bartimaeus’ shoes. Do you keep crying out to Him, even when everyone is telling you to shut up, that you have no right, just leave him alone, he’s not for the likes of you? Leave this nice religious man alone, don’t trouble him, just shut up.

But Bartimaeus keeps crying out. He knows from the scriptures that God is for the downcast, God is for the downtrodden, that God can turn their lives around. In his pain and humiliation, he cries out with a passion and faith that puts me to shame. “JESUS! SON OF DAVID! HAVE MERCY ON ME!” He can’t see Jesus, he has nothing but a desperate cry from his heart! All the mocking of the world, even Jesus own disciples, won’t stop this man from crying out to the Saviour for help!

49 Jesus stopped and said, “call him” So they called to the blind man, “cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”

How gracious of Jesus, not only did He call Bart over, but He actually stopped! It wasn’t like Jesus had nothing to do - He had people swarming all over Him, it seems like everyone either wanted something from Him or wanted to kill Him! Yet, over the din, over the clamour, He stopped and called over this poor blind man.

50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

Bart threw off his cloak - that may have been his most precious possession. Your cloak was your sleeping bag back in that day. Imagine this blind man, he’s left what little he has and he is staggering over to Jesus, fumbling and stumbling, over he comes.

50b “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

Great question. Let’s just pause here and just think; what would you ask Jesus for? Who is He to you?

51 The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see”

“Rabbi” means “Teacher”. Actually, a better translation of Rabbi here is “Rabboni”, which means “master”. Bart came with such respect. First, he called Jesus Son of David - that is, Messiah, or God’s Rescuer. Now, Bart calls him “master”

Bart asks for his sight. What happens next is mind blowing.

52 ”Go” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

So Jesus heals Bart. This happens at least 6 times in the Gospels, but this time, the person healed followed Jesus down the road. IMMEDIATELY. Didn’t even go back for his cloak!

All of us want something from Jesus, that’s true. Now, what did Bart really receive? Well, his spiritual eyes were opened before the physical ones were. He knew something of who Jesus was. And that is the most important question of all - who is Jesus to you? There’s a lot of talk about healing and that’s great, we love to hear about healings, but more than that, we love to hear about people’s spiritual eyes being opened, people coming to that point where they say “I need Jesus! I’ve just GOT to follow Him! He’s everything to me! I’ll leave my cloak behind if I have to, I’m following my Master!”

Look, the world might be screaming at you. The world might condemn you, mock you, overlook you, or ignore you. Maybe the disciples - the Church - have put you down, or told you to shut up or go away. Jesus doesn’t. If you will cry out to Him, if you will be willing to sometimes look a bit foolish, if you will follow Him, I guarantee you, it will be WORTH IT!

If there’s anything in you stirring, if this moves you in any way, cry out to Him, because He won’t cast you out if you come to Him, He won’t! He promises in John chapter 6 to receive ALL who come to Him. He will give you spiritual eyesight, you will be able to see things for what they really are, and over time He will totally change you. Then when you die, you will be with Him FOREVER, at perfect peace, totally complete, lacking NOTHING, part of the Royal Family of Heaven! Last/First kingdom

No matter what people have said to you, no matter what you have done, no matter how hard it’s been or how many times you’ve fallen flat on your face, the Bible says, anyone who is thirsty, come and drink! Anyone who is tired, come to Jesus, and He WILL give you rest! God says it’s more likely that a mother will forget the baby at her breast than it is that He will forget His people. He sees you. That’s the kind of God that He is. That’s the kind of Saviour the Son of David is. That’s what Bartimaeus realised. This is a love that’s better than anything this world has to offer. Run to Him!

Go to Him! Please, go to Him! Whatever that looks like for you, reach out for Him with your heart. If we can help in any way, grab one of us. We love you as best we are able and we pray everyday to love you better! He is the source of all our love. Go to Him!