2017 09 10 Gordon Green Bartimaeus

2017 09 10 Gordon Green Bartimaeus
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Create DateSeptember 15, 2017
Last UpdatedSeptember 15, 2017


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Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52

Redhill. 10 September 2017. Presented by Gordon Green

In this short paragraph and just six verses there are many lessons!

Just before the Passover season the road to Jerusalem was crowded with  disciples and pilgrims. Jesus was there too. As they are leaving Jericho they meet a blind man begging - Bartimaeus. He can’t see what’s happening but he can hear. He discerns the energy and excitement in the crowd. He must have heard that it was Jesus Christ - the miracle worker, prophet and healer. .

Here was his opportunity. He began to cry out; “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He knew who Jesus was. Son of David was a messianic title.Many rebuked him, telling him to be quiet. But he didn’t give up. He persisted. He was desperate and refused to be discouraged. It seems that those who told him to be quiet thought Jesus was too busy and too important to take time for a blind man.

Earlier the disciples had reprimanded the people who brought little children to Jesus. There again they had assumed that they knew what was best for Jesus. But Jesus rebuked them. They were misrepresenting him. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” This even happens today. People who are supposed to be Christians misinterpret Christ. They act totally opposite to the way that Jesus would. Here we have the very people who were the closest to Jesus turning away a blind man. They actually thought they were helping and serving Jesus. How much more unlike Jesus could his followers have been? That is so ironic – and tragic! Healing the blind, spiritually and physically was central to the mission and purpose of  Jesus’ ministry!

Jesus stops and says “Call him.” They called the blind man, saying to him, “Get up; he is calling you.” He came like a shot when Jesus called. Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him. .

Bartimaeus believed. He was convicted that ultimate help and healing can only be found in Jesus. It was all about Jesus and not on anything he could do. He focused on Jesus and trusted him. Bartimaeus was a blind beggar - he knew what it meant to have nothing. Beggars learn they are dependent. He was very aware of his need and that he had nothing physical or spiritual to offer Jesus in return for his healing. We must never forget that we are totally dependent on Jesus. Bartimaeus was aware of his own limitations. He believed that Jesus was the only one who could help him. That was the nature of his faith. Faith alone, grace alone and Christ alone.

Bartimaeus recognized who Jesus was. Mark is a book of action.  It focuses on what Jesus did. Mark shows Jesus at work. It is as if Mark is saying “Look! What Jesus did proves who he was. Watch him at work and marvel.”


  1. Lord have mercy on me. Just before this story James and John said to Jesus that they wanted him to do whatever they asked. “When you become king we want sit at your right and left.” In other words “We want to be next in charge.” They wanted to be great. They had come to Jesus in prayer (as it were) with their own agenda –selfish ambition, prestige, vanity. Their focus was on themselves. Bartimaeus’ prayer (as it were) was totally different. His was a prayer of mercy – not for greatness, power, prestige or position. He had no agenda and his prayer was much more humble. Jesus responds by asking them to bring Bartimaues to him. He didn’t heal him immediately. Bartimaeus waited for Jesus to ask “What do you want me to do for you ?” James and John knew what they wanted – they just wanted to use Jesus to get what they wanted. Bartimaeus waited for Jesus to take the initiative and ask what he wanted him to do for him.

Prayer is not about trying to attempt to control God. James and John were attempting to do that. The primary purpose of prayer is not to get what we think God must do. If we are always asserting our will in prayer not much good will come of it. We simply reinforce our self centredness. The primary purpose of prayer is not to get what we think God must do but to be properly formed. Proper prayer will transform us. We can go through life with James and John prayers – this is what I want. And I want it now. But we can learn from the Bartimaeus prayer - abandon our own agenda and will, in prayer. We cannot be in control.

Bartimaus’ prayer was not “Jesus do this for me”. It was much more open ended. We think we know what the answers to our prayers are. We know our own needs. But all we need is his mercy. Do we believe that? Jesus responded to his prayer. Bartimaeus began by not being specific. Then Jesus invited Bartimaeus to be more specific. He left it to Jesus’ initiative.

Don’t be afraid to keep your prayers open ended – the mercy of Jesus is enough. We have wants and needs. You don’t always have to be specific or else it will lead to your own agenda.

Jesus might ask you “What do you want?” Let Jesus take the initiative. Ask for mercy – he will not say no. He won’t deny you mercy. Ask in humility. We don’t know what form of mercy it will take. We don’t know what it will actually look like in our lives but we can be sure it will be answered. You are saying “I trust you, I trust your mercy even if I don’t know what it is”. Often  we are  so discouraged, depressed and exhausted from certain pressures that we don’t feel like praying. Pray “Lord have mercy on me.” He won’t turn you away. Perhaps Jesus will ask you “What do you want?”

  1. Lord let me recover. “What do you want?” “I want to recover.” Although the healing of Bartimaeus was physical, this story is not mainly about physical healing. We can keep it more generalised. We aren’t blind but we all have suffered hurt, failure, disappointments, brokenness – that which we need to recover from. We are all broken people - “Let me recover.” Believing in the mercy of God is enough and Jesus alone is the solution to our “illnesses”. Imagine if Jesus sat with you and asked you “What do you want me to do?” What about: “I want to be a part of what you are doing.”
  2. Lord let me follow you. Bartimaeus followed Jesus. Pray to Jesus; “Lord let me follow you. I don’t want to use you, manipulate you. I don’t want to make you do what I want you to do. I just want to follow you.”

3 prayers inspired by a blind beggar on the road: “Lord have mercy”. “Lord let me recover”. “Lord let me follow you” You can pray that.

Prayer: Lord, I am not going to pray for a specific thing today. You are not a genie granting me three wishes. I don’t want to give you instructions on how to answer my prayer. I pray for your mercy. I trust your mercy. I ask that I recover from my pain, my hurts my….  Enable me to follow you. Amen.






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