Mark 10:46-52

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

November 1, 2012


Someone once asked Helen Keller, "Isn't it terrible to be blind?"  Her response was, "Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing."  In our journey through Mark’s Gospel, we have come to the story of man who was blind physically but who was certainly not a person who saw nothing. 


His name was Bartimaeus.  He is mentioned by name in Mark and Luke, and his story is told in Matthew as well.  His name simply means “the son of Timaeus” which Mark explains in verse 46. Bartimaeus was obviously a person of great insight and there is much we can learn from him.  Look at his story in Mark 10:46-53.


I want to point out to you several things we all can learn from this blind beggar in Jericho.


I.  Can learn from Bartimaeus the importance of taking advantage of opportunity when it comes our way

1.  Earlier in our journey through Mark we saw in chapter 8 Jesus heal another blind man in the town of Bethsaida.  In that study I mentioned that blindness was rather common in ancient Palestine.  Several theories have been suggested to explain the proliferation of blindness in that part of the world. 

·        Some historians say the proliferation of blindness was caused by people failing to protect their eyes from the intense glare of the middle-eastern sun. 

·        Others say the many cases of blindness were caused by particular strand of fruit fly which carried a germ that caused severe eye infection and because of limited knowledge of personal hygiene the infection spread rapidly from one person to another.


2.  For whatever reason, Bartimaeus was one of the unfortunate ones who had one of most dreaded and common diseases of the ancient world.  Blindness was particular bad because:

·        Because absolutely no provision made for care and protection of the blind.  If a blind person had no family, he or she was left alone to care for himself or herself.

·        To make matters worse, people were often openly hostile toward blind people.  That’s because it was common to view blindness as a sign of God’s judgment on the blind person. 

    Few people would have given a wretched, blind, beggar such as Bartemaeus a second thought, and if they did it would likely have been a hostile thought.


3.  Bartemaeus sat there in that terrible state, hearing that Jesus coming his way.  And to his credit, Bartimaeus correctly recognized His coming as the opportunity of life‑time.  It is obvious that Bartimaeus had heard stories about Jesus.  Perhaps he had heard that Jesus had miraculously fed multitudes, made the lame walk, and more importantly to him, had given sight to blind.  Bartimaeus knew that more than likely Jesus would never pass his way again.  He correctly surmised this was his great opportunity and wasn't about to miss it.


1.  What a wonderful example for us.  I want make two points of applications from that to our lives.

·        First, just as Bartimaeus lived in the darkness of physical blindness, many people in our world live in the darkness of spiritual blindness.  And just as Jesus was cure for the physical blindness of Bartimaeus, so He is answer for our spiritual blindness.  Until a person turns to Jesus in repentance and faith, that person we will forever grope in spiritual darkness.  And, we cannot assume we will always have opportunity of turning to Him.  Just as Jesus passed Bartimaeus' way only once, no one can know for sure how long he/she will have opportunity of turning to Jesus.  We should give lives to Him while we have the opportunity. 

·        Second, each day we are confronted with opportunities which are once in a life-time opportunities...can't go back and re-live any day, moment, even second of our opportunity to minister to someone, encourage someone, build-up someone, express love and appreciation for someone, if missed, is missed forever...that exact opportunity and that precise moment will never return...

2.  Bartimaeus should remind us of importance of living life in the present...while we should learn from the past and plan for the future, life must be lived today!...whatever opportunities God sends our way today, we should take advantage of them...


II. Can learn from Bartimaeus the importance of being persistent

1.     Whatever may say of Bartimaeus, obvious not easily Jesus approached verse 47 tells us he began to cry out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"...when did that, verse 48 says people around him told him to be quiet...didn't just politely ask him...Mark says they "were sternly telling him to be quiet" I read this story again this week, I could not help but wonder what motivated the people to try to silence Bartimaeus.  I came with several possibilities:

·        Maybe they considered a blind beggar too unimportant bother Jesus…

·        Maybe his cries distracted them from what Jesus was teaching.  As we have seen, it was the custom of rabbis to teach as walked. 

·        Maybe they were afraidthat the title "Son of David" which was another way  saying Messiah would offend powerful Pharisees tagging who were tagging along with them.

2.     Whatever reason, their insistence be quiet had no impact on Bartimaeus...Mark tells us in verse 48 that he "kept crying out all the more..."...Bartemaeus wasn't a man who was easily  discouraged.


1.  I see several important things we can learn from his example...

·        We must be careful not to put self in role of being a discourager of others.  There are enough small thinking, short sighted, negative people in world.  It is easy to tell people what not to do or what cannot be done.  We must be careful not to join that crowd.  Instead, we should go out of your way to build others up, to encourage them rather than discourage them.  As I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “…encourage one another, and build up one another…” 

·        We must be careful not to allow selves become easily discouraged...sometimes it's easy look around us and just become overwhelmed by all the needs see in people's lives and feel discouraged by what seems be small impact our efforts are making...but we must keep at it....


1.  There's an old story about a miner who had a knack  for finding gold...discovered several large deposits and become very wealthy...was asked the secret to his ability to find gold...said it's simple, "I just kept  digging!"

2.  Example of Bartimaeus should remind us of importance of keeping on digging...should be persistent in what God has called us to do...


III.    Can learn from Bartimaeus the importance of moving forward in faith even when failure is a real possibility

1.  Some people never do anything because they can't see their way clear to do everything... what mean by that is that they allow fear that they are going to fail or that they are not going to be able complete what started or that the outcome is not going be what they want it be, to keep them from ever getting started...

2.  Bartimaeus could have failed in his quest...Jesus could have chosen to walk on by and ignore him...or the Lord could have stopped but not done what Bartimaeus wanted done...but he didn't allow the possibility of failure immobilize him...he took the risk and because he did, he received the reward...


1.  One of my favorite quotes comes from the writings of Theodore Roosevelt...think Bartimaeus would have understood what Roosevelt saying...listen..."It is not the critic who counts;  not the [person] who points out how the strong [person] stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the [person] who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

2.  Can learn from Bartimaeus that it's not failure we should fear, but failure to try!




1.  Like way this story ends...follows familiar New Testament pattern...a person with a tremendous need comes to Jesus...the Lord meets that need and transforms the person's life...that person, out of sense of gratitude and love, follows the Lord...that's what happened here...when all was said and done, the last we see of Bartimaeus, he is following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem

2.  May we learn from the example of Bartimaeus the importance of:

·        Taking advantage of opportunities that come our way...

·        Being persistent in doing the right thing...

·        Having the courage to attempt the difficult...