The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 10F

Chapter 10:46-52

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  • As we approach tonight's text, you will see this continued momentum towards Jesus' final ascent to Jerusalem, before He heads to die.

    • It has been, at this point, a continual redirection for the disciples in understanding Jesus' mission to the cross.

      • The disciples have been struggling with understanding Jesus' teaching about His coming death.

      • For this was the third mention of Jesus foretelling of His death, and in that, He provides more details regarding His sentence to the cross.

    • It was last week where we witnessed James and John, the sons of Zebedee, seeking to be elevated to higher positions of honor and authority.

      • They were seeking to be seated one to His left and one to His right.

    • This heart issue ultimately revealed that the disciples were more fixated on position in the Kingdom than service unto the king for His purposes.

      • So as Jesus is confronting these misplaced value-systems, He confronts His disciples in a loving way and shows them that honor is given by the Father based upon one's service to others.

      • Ultimately, Jesus points to Himself and mission as to the perfect example of greatness and that is through accomplishing the Father's will.

    • The Father's will for Jesus was to become a ransom, a substitute for the many.

      • This mission/purpose of Christ is what the disciples are failing to understand.

      • For the only way in which anyone can enter into the glorious Kingdom would be through the death of its Glorious King.

    • Therefore, this spiritual clarity (maturity) for the disciples would be something Jesus would have to move them towards, moment by moment.

      • This gradual clarity might ring a bell as we consider earlier in our Mark teaching (Mark 8:22-25) where Jesus had healed the blind man at Bethsaida.

      • It was in Jesus healing this man in 2 stages that revealed an interesting spiritual reality for the disciples.

      • The disciples began unaware of Jesus’ person, therefore the Father would open their eyes to that truth. (Peter’s Confession)

      • And from there, they would need to be aware of His mission, and that would need to be revealed to them in the Father's timing. (After Jesus’ resurrection)

    • So, where the disciples began in spiritual blindness to God's redemptive mission, it will be a continued effort to open their eyes to the full plan.

      • If I were to provide us with a flow of thought tonight, we are going to see the following things:

        • 1. A Desperate Cry (v. 46-48)

        • 2. An Immediate Response (v.49-50)

        • 3. A familiar question yet a different outcome (v.51-52)

    • I want to tag tonight's text: “Lord, open my eyes”

      • With that being said, I invite you to open a copy of the scriptures and meet me at Mark 10:46-52.

Mark 10:46 Then they *came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.
Mark 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
Mark 10:48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
Mark 10:49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they *called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 
Mark 10:50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 
Mark 10:51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 
Mark 10:52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
  • Let’s Pray.

Mark 10:46 Then they *came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 
Mark 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
Mark 10:48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
  • Mark continues in his account, the pilgrimage of Jesus, the twelve, and the crowd as they make their way to Jerusalem.

    • This journey to Jerusalem picks up from Perea, where we were in last week's teaching.

      • And now they are making their way west of the Jordan river to a familiar place called Jericho.

      • At first glance, verse 46 might read a bit strange as it pertains to the coming events.

      • I say that because Mark’s account mentions that “they came to Jericho, and as they were leaving Jericho, they came across a blind beggar.”

    • This detail may seem very vague; however, we must consider the author, the author’s intent, and history.

      • Mark is not trying to bog us down with the details but is trying to provide us with a big picture.

      • And with putting the synoptic gospels up to one another, we can grasp a full picture of this scene.

    • Within Matthew and Luke's gospel, both books provide this account of the blind beggar.

      • However, with the uniqueness of authorship, there are some detail differences within each account.

    • For example, in Luke's account, he mentions that they were approaching Jericho when the blind man inquired about Jesus passing by.

      • Whereas in Matthew's account, he mentions that as they were leaving Jericho, two blind men had inquired about Jesus' passing and cried out to Him.

    • So, the question becomes, if the bible does not contain errors, how does a bible student justify these textual differences within each account?

      • Well, the best way to handle these differences is to carefully observe the current text alongside the other similar accounts in light of Israel’s history.

    • And what we come to conclude is that in the first century, two Jerichos existed.

      • Here is what Dr. Charles Ryrie said about these two Jerichos:

“The other is that since there were two Jerichos (old Jericho and the new city), the healing could have taken place after the group left old Jericho and as they were nearing new Jericho. Thus Matthew’s “as they were going out” refers to old Jericho while Mark’s and Luke’s references to approaching Jericho refer to new Jericho.”
    • There was an Old Testament Jericho and a New Testament Jericho and the distance between these two Jerichos was approximately 1 mile.

    • The Old Testament Jericho is what we find in Joshua 6 where the Israelites walked around the city walls for 6 days and on the seventh day, after the trumpets were blown, the walls fell.

      • The New Testament Jericho is where Herod the Great built his palaces.

    • So when we see Mark's gospel say "as He was leaving Jericho. they came across the blind beggar," the timeline begins to come together.

      • Jesus, the disciples, and this large crowd behind them, were traveling between the two Jerichos upon encountering the beggars.

    • Another question comes to mind, two to be exact: The first question is, why the variation of beggars, and secondly, why so many people?

      • Again, here is where having the Synoptics together is important.

      • Where Mark and Luke's gospels document only one beggar, Matthew's gospel documents two beggars.

    • Context and authorship is key, therefore the way to resolve these differences is by harmonizing the Gospel accounts.

      • Therefore, we can surmise that if Matthew's gospel only mentions two beggars, then the one in whom Mark’s account mentioned by name and Luke speaks to one in general, then the one mentioned by name must be the person of focus within this story.

    • But before we get to the man's name, we must address the second question: "Why is there such a large crowd in the mix on the journey to Jerusalem?"

      • It was this time in which the Jewish people would commute to Jerusalem for Passover.

      • Therefore, the amount of people traveling through Jericho to Jerusalem would have been large in number.

    • According to one scholar, Jerusalem during the 1st Century had a population of about 20,000-30,000 people, however at Passover the Holy city would swell to an additional 150,000 people.

      • Messianic Jewish Scholar, Alfred Edersheim confirms this mountainous amount of people in his book, the Temple.

    • So, with this enormous amount of people traveling to Jerusalem for Passover, it wouldn't be uncommon to find beggars seeking aid from those in passing.

      • And among the multitudes, the text mentions that there on the side of the road was a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

      • Bartimaeus is Aramaic for “Son (Bar) of Timaeus”. And Timaeus means “highly prized” or “honored”.

    • Mark mentions that while Bartimaeus is sitting off on the side of the road between the two Jerichos, that he overhears that Jesus was passing through.

      • Imagine for a moment, thousands are passing along these narrow but newly paved roads headed for the Passover.

      • And discussions and whispers have been made known that among the crowds is Jesus of Nazareth.

      • As word is being passed along, Bartimaeus overhears and is moved to cry out with a loud voice: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!!”

      • You can almost hear the desperation and desire he had for Jesus to respond to his need.

    • Notice, the title that he calls out to Jesus, he says “Son of David".

      • This title is a messianic title speaking to the Messiahship of Jesus being the righteous King (Romans 1:3, Jeremiah 23:5) .

      • It would seem that from the title Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus, that he has not only heard of the many things Jesus has done before, but believes He is who He says He is.

      • And this assurance is without the visual accommodation of sight!

      • Friends, this sounds like faith is evident, even without physical sight!

    • As Bartimaeus is desperately crying out for Jesus to have mercy upon him, the text mentions that "many" were "sternly" telling him to be quiet.

      • The word for "sternly" in Greek is epitimao which means to reprove.

      • It’s the sense of showing great disapproval in a forceful way.

    • And to add fuel to the fire, this word is in the imperfect, active, indicative, meaning that they were repeatedly trying to shut him up – but Bartimaeus would not stay silent.

      • You can sense the desperation, because verse 48b says, “but he kept crying out all the more."

      • Nothing was going to get in the way of Him getting to Jesus.

      • That even in his state of lowliness, his high regard and need for Jesus would not keep him there.

    • One question that may be raised in your minds is: "Why were the people trying to silence Bartimaeus from calling out to Jesus?"

      • Well, during heightened times such as the Passover in the Holy City, both the Jewish and Roman authorities were on high alert.

      • It’s like many public events over a certain capacity require security patrol for safety and oversight.

    • So, imagine hearing someone shouting Jesus, “Son of David” – this would have been a huge political threat and would have caused much trouble.

      • This could very well have been the cause of such a stern rebuke from the crowd.

    • Well, it becomes apparent in verse 49 that Bartimaeus' desperation not only caught Jesus' attention, but it caused Him to stop amid these great crowds.

      • Check out verses 49-50.

Mark 10:49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they *called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 
Mark 10:50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 
  • Upon Jesus hearing Bartimaeus in desperation, the text tells us that Jesus stopped what He was doing to hear his request.

    • What becomes a beautiful sight to see is that Jesus, who is moving toward a major point of His mission, takes the time to stop His movement to meet the personal needs of this man.

      • This shows us God's sovereignty at work in that He is actively aware and knew Bartimaeus’ needs at that very moment and responded.

      • There’s a saying I heard growing up in church that said: "God may not come when you want Him to, but He's always right on time."

    • So, what may have seemed like a huge inconvenience to others in Jesus stopping mid-stride became Jesus’ priority!

      • And this pause in Jesus' plans potentially served as a teaching moment to the disciples.

      • It would reinforce what Jesus had been teaching prior and that was to not hinder those in need of ministry – for that is why Christ came.

    • So, it is upon Jesus telling the people to summon the blind men to Himself that the people called forth Bartimaeus.

      • Can you imagine, right after having scolded the man verbally for his vocal outburst they now give him warm welcomes of, “Take courage, Jesus is calling for you."

      • However, their change in behavior was of no concern to Bartimaeus.

    • For it's at Jesus' call for the blind men that Mark's account mentions Bartimaeus “threw his cloak” aside, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

      • One question that begs to be asked is: “Why does Mark’s account speak to the man "tossing" his cloak aside, but not the others?” (Matthew and Luke)

    • Well remember, Mark's gospel is a gospel of action meaning that he is pointing us to significant moments of Jesus' ministry through means of movement.

      • Therefore, we can see that there is some sort of significance to be found in this action from the blind beggar – and it’s found in the significance of his cloak.

    • The cloak was an outer garment which aided in protecting one from the elements.

      • In the ancient world, clothes were a costly investment and often traded as valuable property or confiscated from conquest.

    • So, for those who were left as beggars in that day, their cloak was their prized possession and valuable.

      • And here it is that Bartimaeus tosses aside his only cloak as if it was no longer of importance or value.

      • And in fact, it wasn't now, because Messiah was all he needed, for his Messiah was his "high prize” and his provisions would be met.

    • It's upon the man, potentially being assisted towards Jesus' vicinity, that he arrives before Jesus.

      • And Bartimaeus is met with a “familiar question (to us), yet a completely different response is given to him.”

      • Check out our last 2 verses for tonight, verses 51-52.

Mark 10:51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 
Mark 10:52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
  • We see that Jesus responds to Bartimaeus' desperate plea with a familiar question from before.

    • It’s in verse 51 that Jesus asks Bartimaeus the same question He did to James and John, His own disciples.

      • The difference in the question being asked now is the contrasting responses from the two groups of men (Apostles/Blind Men)

      • The question again was, “What do you want Me to do for You?"

    • This question being asked regarding a need (miracle) in front of a public crowd becomes a bit perplexing.

      • I say that because it was in Mark 3 where because of Israel's rejection of Messiah, that the Kingdom would be postponed for a time.

      • And with that, Jesus' ministry methods changed as well.

      • Meaning He no longer performed miracles where there was no faith and would only do these works in private settings.

    • However, when Jesus calls the blind men to Himself, this would be private matters addressing two individuals who had publicly expressed faith.

      • And in confidence, the man responds by first calling Jesus, Rabboni.

      • Rabboni is the emphatic form of the word Rabbi, so where Rabbi is common for teacher, Rabboni means "My Master, My Lord”.

    • It is as if these blind men need not even to see Jesus perform a thing because their faith provided all the insight they needed.

      • The request that is made is in regards to their sight. They say that they want to "regain" their sight.

      • This could suggest that there was a point prior that these men could see.

      • The cause of blindness could have been because of disease.

    • Whatever the cause of blindness was, his sight (physical condition) was not a barrier to his faith (spiritual position) or trust in God.

      • It is from this great demonstration of faith that Jesus responds to their request, much differently than He did James and John's request.

    • Verse 52, Jesus tells these 2 blind men “Go, your faith has made you well!”

      • Remember, Faith has an object, and that object is a Person, and that Person is Christ Jesus, alone.

      • The blind men were able to gain sight because their faith was in the One who could do all things.

    • They had probably heard how Jesus was healing others before, especially the blind man of Bethsaida.

      • They didn't need constant proof or visuals, they simply believed that Christ could because of who He was and He would because He did it before for those in need.

    • As we end tonight's teaching, I want to address the means of faith and healing within tonight’s text.

      • We need not create blanket statements that "anytime" someone seeks to be healed that all they have to do is have "enough faith''.

    • The reality is, there could very well be instances where you pray and are believing for God to heal yet He does not respond to that request.

      • It doesn't mean you lack faith; it simply means that it was not in God's plan at that time or at all – God works in His time and on His timetable.

      • This simply reinforces God's sovereignty over all things and gives us confidence to trust Him in all things.

      • Well, let’s keep moving.

    • You must love how Mark wraps up Chapter 10. Check out verse 52, again.

      • After Jesus immediately provides sight to the blind men, the text says Bartimaeus began following Jesus.

      • What a staunch difference from the rich young ruler. He had everything but gave up nothing, to simply lose everything.

      • Yet here are these blind men who had nothing, yet gave up the little they possessed, not just to gain physical sight, (everything they longed for) but to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom.

    • The blind man's needs would now be fully met in Christ.

      • I leave us with the words of Paul in Philippians 3:7-9.

Philippians 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 
Philippians 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 
Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
  • Friends, the greatest loss you experience in this life does not compare to the glorious gain found in Christ.

    • May we strive to have eyes for eternity.

    • Let’s Pray.



  • Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 114.

  • Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), p. 84.

  • Chad Brand et al., eds., “Timaeus,” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1595.

  • John D. Grassmick, “Mark,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 155

  • W. Andrew Smith, “Clothing,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014)