This is how I
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
The restoration of Bartimae’us sight appears to be a rather ordinary. Yet understood within the context of the Gospel of Mark, it serves as a profound revelation about seeing rightly and living in discipleship.
Mark 8:22 tells of the healing of another blind man. In this case, Jesus has to try twice to bring clear sight to the man at Bethsaida. At face value it seems odd that Jesus cannot restore the man’s sight the first time around, but when seen as a parallel to how Jesus deals with His disciples and us it becomes clearer.
Jesus doesn’t give up on making things clear to us. He tries over and over to help us see clearly by the light of faith. Later in Mark 8:29 Jesus asks His disciples their opinion – “Who do you say that I am?” The disciples finally see Jesus for who He is as Peter declares, “You are the Messiah.” As soon as Peter has said that, Jesus begins to teach them about the suffering He must endure. Peter rebukes Jesus and tells Him how he thinks things should go. Jesus plainly tells Peter to get behind Him because Peter doesn’t see clearly. Jesus teaches His disciples over and over that as Messiah he must suffer and die, yet the disciples repeatedly fail to see clearly. Like James and John they think that following Jesus will bring them glory and power.
Jesus repeatedly tries to help His disciples see. Thanks be that He does that for us too since we too can miss the fact that discipleship requires a radical change in our vision, in our way of seeing and understanding.
Now in Mark 10:46 we come across blind Bartimae’us. The blind man lights the way to discipleship and response as it should be. We see Bartimae’us doing all that is required of Jesus’ disciples – a way of living and acting that is hope-filled and authentic.
Bartimae’us, the son of Timae’us, which means ‘the honorable one and son of honor,’ shows how we are to respond to Jesus’ call. Bartimae’us hears that Jesus is near and calls out to Him. As Jesus’ disciples we need to recognize when Jesus is near – indeed how near He is – and we must call out to Him in prayer and petition. The crowd attempts to shout Bartimae’us down yet he cries all the louder. As Jesus disciples we need to speak the truth regardless of the voice of the world. Bartimae’us responds to Jesus’ healing not by going his own way, but by leaving behind his cloak, his all, to follow Jesus. This is the essence of discipleship: to see Jesus clearly and follow along His way.