Bartimæus and His Companion Healed.

6-38. BARTIMÆUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED.
(At Jericho.)
a MATT. 20:29-34; b MARK 10:46-52; c LUKE 18:35-43.

      c 35 And it came to pass, as he drew nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

  36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant.

  37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. [Jesus came from the Jordan, and was entering Jericho by its eastern gate. As the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimæus asked its meaning and learned of the presence of Jesus. Jesus on this last journey went in advance of the crowd, and hence he had already entered the beggar to question its meaning. Knowing that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, he resolved to avail himself of the opportunity to be healed by him before he left the neighborhood. Not knowing how long Jesus would remain in Jericho, and not being sure of his ability to find him if he entered the city, he appears to have passed around the wall till he came to the southern gate, by which Jesus would depart on his way to Jerusalem. Here he stationed himself and waited patiently for the coming of Jesus. The persistency with which he cried when Jesus again appeared goes far to corroborate this determined preparation and fixed expectation of the beggar. While he waited at the southern gate the events narrated in Sec. CIII. occurred. But to avoid confusion we omit them for the present, that we may finish the story of Bartimæus.]

  b 46 And they come to Jericho: and as he {a they} b went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, a a great multitude followed him. [Being so near the Passover season, great crowds would be on their way to Jerusalem, and all the multitudes coming from Galilee and from Peræa would pass through Jericho on their way thither. Jesus, as we have just seen, had entered the city with a multitude, and as he spent some little time there, he would leave with even a larger crowd, for it would be augmented by those who had arrived at Jericho during his stay there and citizens of Jericho itself. Few would leave Jericho alone while they might have the pleasure and excitement of going with the crowd.] b The son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus [Bar is the Aramaic form for son. It is likely that both Timæus and Bartimæus were well known in apostolic days, but all memory of them is now lost save that contained in this passage], a blind beggar [blindness and beggary form an awful combination, and when coupled with the general poverty then prevailing in Palestine, they suggest a fullness of suffering], was sitting by the way side.

  a 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side [Here Matthew tells of two, while Mark and Luke tell only of one--the principal one. They vary here as in the account of the two demoniacs, and for similar reasons. See Section 56], they {b he} a heard b that it was Jesus the Nazarene, a that Jesus was passing by {b he} began to cry {a cried} out, b and say, {a saying,} Lord, b Jesus, thou son of David, a have mercy on us, {c me.} [The title "son of David" was the popular Jewish designation for the Messiah, and Bartimæus thus confessed his faith in the Messiahship of Jesus. Blind as he was, he saw more than those who spoke of the Lord as Jesus of Nazareth, thus making Jesus differ from other men merely in the matter of his residence.]

  39 And they that went before [they that came out of the city just ahead of Jesus]

{b many a the multitude} rebuked them, {c him} a that they {b he} a should hold their {b his} peace: a but they {c he} cried out the more a great deal, a saying, Lord, have mercy on us, {b me.} a thou son of David. [Various motives influenced the multitude to silence the beggar's cries. Some regarded his clamor as indecorous, distracting the thoughts and interrupting conversation. Others did not like to hear Jesus thus confessed as Messiah. Others still, believing that Jesus was about to be crowned king, thought that it was high time that he should cease paying so much attention to beggars and begin to assume the dignities of royalty. But Bartimæus was filled with the spirit of Jacob. The more resistance he met, the more strenuously he wrestled to obtain the blessing.]

  32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, c and commanded him to be brought unto him: b and said, Call ye him. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good cheer: rise, he calleth thee. [The multitude had rebuked the cry, but Jesus stood still to hear and answer it. He is no respecter of persons. Rich rulers and blind beggars received his attention and care without respect of station. He died for every man.]

  50 And he, casting away his garment, sprang up, and came to Jesus. [He cast off his outer garment or pallium, which was like a large shawl thrown over the shoulders, and is elsewhere called a cloaktfg.cgi?section=T#">Section It probably represented more than half the beggar's wealth, but he valued his eyesight more than through the crowd. Many to-day would come to Jesus, but their steps are impeded by some trifling obstacle ( Isaiah 64:6 ). In the race to win the presence of Christ on high, Christians are advised to lay aside every weight-- Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:2 .]

c and when he was come near, b Jesus answered him, c asked him, b and said,

a What will ye {c wilt thou} a that I should do unto you? {b thee?}

  a 33 They say {b And the blind man said} a unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. c Lord, b Rabboni, that I may receive my sight. [Bartimæus had cried for mercy without specifying what mercy, and he had asked this mercy of Christ as the Messiah. The Lord therefore in his royal majesty asked Bartimæus to name the mercy, thus suggesting to him the fullness of the treasury of power and grace, to which he came. He was not to blame for this.]

  a 34 And Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes;

  b 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; c Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. [We can see in this instance what faith really is. It caused Bartimæus to cry out, to come to Jesus and to ask for sight. Thus we see that faith saves by leading to proper actions.]

  43 And immediately a straightway they {c he} a received their {b his} sight, a and followed him. b in the way. c glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. [Being a beggar, it would have been natural for him to hunt first for means of livelihood, but faith and gratitude prompted him to follow Jesus.]