Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of blind Bartimaeus who was healed at Jericho. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem where He would accomplish His eternal mission. In a few days, in Jerusalem, up the hill from Jericho, Jesus would willingly give Himself as a sinless sacrifice, He would be buried in a borrowed tomb where He would remain for three days, and then He would emerge victoriously from the grave, alive!
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus encountered Zacchaeus at Jericho. He had a divine appointment with the corrupt “chief tax collector” who was gloriously converted! Jesus declared, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:1-10).
In the tenth miracle recorded by all three of the Synoptic Gospels but not recorded by John, Jesus encountered a blind man. Mark records his name, “Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar” (Mark 10:46). Luke doesn’t use his name but says “a blind man was sitting by the road begging” (Luke 18:35). Matthew reports that “there were two blind men sitting by the road” (Matthew 20:30).
This doesn’t mean that Matthew’s report of two blind men is inaccurate, only that Mark and Luke focused on the one. Here’s my guess. Bartimaeus may have become an active participant in the early church. If so, then folks in the early church knew him. When we get to heaven, we can ask...
Sitting outside of Jericho, Bartimaeus couldn’t see the beautiful landscape that others could. The Dead Sea spread out to fill the southern view. To the north, one could see the Jordan River winding its way through the canyon. Across the Jordan to the east, was the wilderness where John the Baptist once lived. Up the steep grade to the west was the road to Jerusalem rising 3,200 feet along its seventeen or eighteen miles. Just outside of Jericho, was the dazzling and ornamented palace built by Herod the Great.
Bartimaeus couldn’t see any of that, but he had heard the rumors of Jesus’ visit to Jericho. He’d been hearing stories about Jesus for three years and continually hoped for a face-to-face meeting. As Jesus approached, He was accompanied by “a large crowd” (Matthew 20:29). “When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ ” (Matthew 20:30). “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47, Luke 18:38).
“Those in front told him to keep quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to him. When he came closer, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I want to see.’ ‘Receive your sight.’ Jesus told him. ‘Your faith has saved you.’ Instantly he could see” (Luke 18:39-42). By faith, Bartimaeus knew that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament description of the Messiah. He believed that Jesus was the One who came to rule and reign on David’s throne. He trusted that Jesus could transform his life... and He did!
The first thing Bartimaeus saw wasn’t the king’s palace or the Palestinian landscape, but as his faith became sight, he recognized the face of his compassionate Healer and Savior, “Jesus, the Son of David!”
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.