Lord, I Want to See (Mark 10:46-52)
When I was a sophomore in high school, I was invited to try out for the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. Mom and Dad began making arrangements to take me to St. Louis.
However, as they made preparations, they realized the trip was going to be too expensive. After all, raising three boys isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. Mom and Dad sat me down and told me we just couldn’t go to St. Louis. I was devastated. I went to my room and cried my eyes out; I wanted to be on Jeopardy! so badly. I begged and begged Mom and Dad to take me. They finally relented, and one Friday morning, Mom, Dad, and I went to St. Louis.
I didn’t make it on the show, of course. They asked 50 questions or so, and I might have answered two correctly.
Although I’m no Ken Jennings, I will never forget that trip as long as I live. I’ll always remember the sacrifice Mom and Dad made because I begged and begged to go to St. Louis.
I’m confident that you, too, have begged family, friends, and neighbors for help. Maybe you begged your children to behave because you had company coming over. Have you ever begged your husband to finish a list of chores? Did you ever beg your wife to fix your favorite meal? Perhaps you walked into your boss’s office and begged for a raise. It might be that you’ve begged your neighbors to keep their dogs quiet at night.
In today’s text, a man begged Jesus for sight. We don’t know when this man became blind, but he had been reduced to begging. When Jesus came to Jericho, Bartimaeus implored the Lord for healing, and Jesus healed him. Bartimaeus’ asking Jesus for healing should teach you: “Begging God gets results.”
Scripture (Mark 10:46-52)
“They came to Jericho.”
Jericho was a wealthy city. Many well-to-do priests lived in Jericho. Herod the Great also once had his winter palaces in Jericho. Jericho’s climate was ideal for people to sit outside and beg from passers-by.
“Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, . . . was sitting by the roadside.”
The blind, lame, and others who could not work were reduced to begging to survive. But Judaism considered it pious to help needy beggars. Beggars, therefore, who sat at a busy roadway could do rather well.
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, “he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”
The poor beggar called Jesus the “Son of David.” “Son of David” was a Messianic title because of God’s promise David would always have a descendant on the throne. This blind man believed Jesus was the promised Messiah.
The blind beggar began to cry out. He didn’t just yell once for Jesus, but he yelled over and over and over. The Greek term for “cry out” can be translated “scream”—Bartimaeus was shouting at the top of his lungs for Jesus.
The people were telling this man to shut up and be quiet. They probably didn’t think a blind beggar was worthy of Jesus’s attention. But Bartimaeus cried out all the more for Jesus to heal him; he wasn’t going to be deterred from getting help, but he was going to get Jesus’s attention.
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’”
Jesus’s stopping was itself an act of mercy. Because Jesus stood still, the man could follow Jesus’s voice and come to him.
“They called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”
Boy, did this crowd ever change its tune! One minute they were telling Bartimaeus to shut up, and the next they were telling him to have joy because Jesus wanted to see him. A word from Jesus changed everything.
“Throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.”
The cloak was a person’s outer garment. He used his cloak as a coat in the winter and as a blanket when he slept. If Bartimaeus didn’t have a pouch for donations, he would likely have had his cloak spread out in front of him to collect donations. His throwing aside his cloak might signify that he is leaving everything—his clothing, his blanket, and his donations (all he likely had in this world)—to follow Jesus.
Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted, and the beggar asked to receive his sight.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’’
You’ve already been introduced to this man’s faith when he called Jesus “Son of David.” That faith allowed Jesus to heal him.
“Immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
The man’s sight returned immediately—Jesus’s power was displayed in the immediacy of the healing.
Bartimaeus followed Jesus; in other words, he became a disciple.
“Begging God gets results.” This passage is really about the answer to prayer. Jesus was physically in front of Bartimaeus, sure. Yet, the man pleaded with the Lord, and he received an answer to his plea. Doesn’t prayer involve bringing your concerns and petitions before God and getting an answer? You are to cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7). Isn’t that precisely what Bartimaeus did in this passage? Bartimaeus provides an example for how we should pray.
Let me ask you this: Do you want results to your prayers like Bartimaeus got to his? It’s really simple to get those results:
In other words, you see what you need—you pine for something. Bartimaeus in the text had a need—sight—and he asked the Lord for it.
You need to see what you need in life. When the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to pray for what they needed: “Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation” (Lk 11:3-4). The people needed to eat, they needed forgiveness, and they needed a pathway out of temptation; Jesus taught the disciples to pray for those things.
Do you know why you need to pray for what you need? Because God doesn’t answer prayers for wants. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (Js 4:3).
You need to examine your heart and separate needs and wants before you pray. Take time to go through your heart and ask what you need. Are you concerned about making it financially? Are you needing the forgiveness of sins? Are you needing patience? Are you needing to control your tongue? Are you needing wisdom?
Determine what you truly need.
In other words, you need to believe. Bartimaeus accepted Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus said his faith had made him well.
When you pray, you need to believe. You must believe that God will answer your prayer:
- “I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk 11:24).
- James 1:6-8.
How can you profess? How can you pray in faith?
You need to believe God answers prayer.
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Js 5:16).
You need to see how God has answered prayer in the past.
Take a look at your life and see how God has answered your prayers. What prayers—big and small—has God answered for you?
Then take a look at how God has answered prayers for saints in the past. Elijah (Js 5:17-18) prayed it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t rain for three years and six months. He prayed again, and it rained on the earth. Elijah was no different than anyone else: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.”
Go through the Scriptures to see how God answered prayer in the past.
In other words, you expect God to hear and answer your prayer. Bartimaeus expected an answer; when Jesus called for him, he jumped up and ran to Jesus.
I don’t mean for you to be presumptuous and think God owes you an answer to your prayers. Instead, rest with full confidence that God will hear and answer your prayers.
- “I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Lk 11:9).
- “Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him” (1 Jn 3:22).
You know sometimes God will not answer your prayers as you want. You can never forget Jesus prayed three times for the cross to be taken away from him, but he still died a criminal’s death. God answers prayer according to his perfect will: Paul prayed three times that his thorn in the flesh would be removed from him, but the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).
In other words, you need to follow Jesus. Bartimaeus followed Jesus after he healed him.
You need to follow Jesus after he answers your prayers. Jesus calls for you to come to him: Matthew 11:28-30. Come to Jesus and serve him. Are you serving Jesus?