The city of Jericho is significant is Scripture. This city was initially destroyed by God when the Israelites first came into the Promised Land in Joshua 6. Later, the people rebuilt a city by that name at a nearby location. In Jesus’ time, he visited the city and performed the miracle of healing a blind man. Jericho is symbolic of the place of destruction and judgment. This miracle, and the circumstances surrounding it, have application for us today.

And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. (Mark 10:46 ESV)

Bartimaeus was a blind man who was very familiar to the residents of Jericho. Some have even suggested that his father had also been blind, since the word for blind in the local Aramaic was similar to Timaeus. In all likelihood, Bartimaeus sat by this road every day of his life, just like his father had. He was used to the smell and taste of the dust, and to hearing what people were saying as they passed by.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)

No doubt, Bartimaeus had heard people talking about this man from Nazareth who was healing all who came to him. Word of these miracles was a topic of conversation of many in Jericho who would stop and give money to him. Evidently, Bartimaeus believes their stories, and realizes that walking past him is the only glimmer of hope he has ever had of escaping the life of darkness and destitution. So he cries out, not saying “son of man” or “son of Mary”, but “son of David”, which was a term used to describe the promised Messiah. Just like Bartimaeus, the only hope for a lost sinner, sitting in the place of judgment, spiritually blind and destitute, is to call upon the name of The Lord (Romans 10:13).

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48)

And just like today when someone decides to cry out to Jesus, there were those who rebuked him. Today, there are those who warn you not to get too radical about Jesus, or not to openly talk to people about Him. But my question is, if you are blind and destitute, what have you got to lose? Do whatever it takes to get to Jesus!

And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” (Mark 10:49)

Yet there is a message of hope for all who are lost. Jesus is calling you! He is not walking by and waiting for you to fix yourself up, or to somehow regain your spiritual sight and put on fresh clothes before you come to him. Come to him now, just they way you are. He wants to give you sight, cleanse you, and clothe you with robes of righteousness.

And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. (Mark 10:50)

In ancient times, in order for people to know who was a legitimate beggar, they were given a special outer garment. In this way, they could be identified as someone who was genuinely lame or blind and not a scam artist trying to make easy money. When Jesus calls to Bartimaeus, he threw off his outer cloak. He tossed away that which had always identified him as blind, and ran to Jesus. In the same way, we are to cast off those things which label us as beyond hope, even if we inherited them from our family. What the world has labelled you as will no longer apply to you once you come to Jesus. He took this blind man and changed him from “Bar-Timaeus” (son of the blind) to being a child of the Living God. And when you come to Jesus, He will do the same for you!

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:51, 52)

When Bartimaeus was healed of his blindness, he did not leave, thinking he had gotten what he came for. No, he really did believe Jesus was the Son of David, the promised Messiah. Those were not words of flattery used to get Jesus’ attention. He really meant them. Bartimaeus leaves the place of judgment, poverty and blindness, and follows Jesus in the way. And that is what He calls everyone to do. This is not about a one time event of receiving salvation and deliverance, but about casting off the old, receiving a new identity in Christ, and beginning a new journey with Him. But keep in mind, that if Bartimaeus had not called out to Jesus, none of this would have happened and we would never have known his name. Cry out to Jesus today. Now is the day of salvation. If you have the faith to come to Him, He will give you a new life, and you can begin to follow after Him and leave your old life behind.