The Real Bartimaeus

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“And they came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging” (Mark 10:46 KJV).

Who is “Bartimaeus” really?

We continue reading after today’s Scripture: “[47] And when he [Bartimaeus] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. [48] And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. [49] And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. [50] And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. [52] And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

The etymologies of the Bible’s proper nouns (people, places, et cetera) are great teaching tools. For example, in today’s Scripture, “Bartimaeus” means “son of the unclean/defiled.” He is a son of Adam, the first sinner, and he illustrates Israel’s defiled nature as descendants of Adam.

Bartimaeus recognizes his physical blindness, symbolic of his (and his nation Israel’s) spiritual blindness. He cries out to the Saviour for help, but people want him to be quiet. The Lord Jesus has compassion, and asks Bartimaeus what he desires of Him. Representative of believing Israel, Bartimaeus shouts, “Lord, that I might receive my sight!” Jesus Christ acquiesces. He wants Israel to give Israel spiritual sight, that she see His truth. To demonstrate it, He grants physical sight to Bartimaeus! Bartimaeus depicts Israel’s believing remnant. They come to Jesus Christ to be healed of their sin problem, and through the endless ages to come, they follow Him in their identity as His people. Israel has a grand hope in store for her! 🙂