Sermon: The Son of Timaeus (Mark 10:46-52)

The Local Christendom Podcast with Aaron Ventura

22-11-2023 • 28分

The Son of Timaeus Sunday, November 19th, 2023 Christ Covenant Church – Centralia, WA

Mark 10:46-52

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Prayer

O Father open our eyes, that we might behold wondrous things from Your law. Give us the light of faith and the light of understanding, that we might rejoice in beholding the Lord Jesus, who is the fairest of the sons of men. We ask for your Holy Spirit in Jesus name, Amen.

Introduction

Before Jerusalem became the capital of Israel and the city of David, it was inhabited by the Jebusites. We read in 2 Samuel 5:6 that the Jebusites, and particularly the blind and the lame, taunted David saying, “Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither.”

  • In other words, the Jebusites felt so secure in Jerusalem that even the blind and lame among them could defend their stronghold against David. Or so they thought.
  • Well David as God’s anointed king is not going to be hindered, and in the next verse it says, “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”
  • So before David can enter Jerusalem, the blind and lame Jebusites must be destroyed. The blind and lame defenders of Jerusalem must be removed, and afterward, they are not permitted to enter his house.
  • Well in our sermon text this morning, we have the final episode before Jesus, the Son of David, invades Jerusalem. And what do we find? A blind beggar named Bartimaeus, who cries out for mercy.
  • Now this story of Jesus healing a blind man is on the surface, a fairly simple and straightforward story. However, there are certain peculiarities about this story that suggest there’s a lot more is going on here.
  • Already we have seen that everything that Jesus does is a living parable, and just as we must meditate upon seed or soil or light to understand Jesus’ parables, so also we must meditate and ponder all his actions. And because Jesus is God, everything that Jesus does is illustrative and instructive for revealing to us who God is. The actions and words of Christ are the actions and words of God.
  • So as with the parables, there are multiple layers to this healing narrative. And so as we consider first the historical/literal sense of the text, we want to also keep our eyes out for the deeper spiritual significance.

Context
  • Now, remember the context. Jesus has just completed the third of three cycles wherein he prophecies in plain words his coming death and resurrection. However, the disciples do not get it.This happens three times, and these three cycles are bookended, or enclosed on either side, by the healing a blind man.
    • So back in Mark 8, Jesus healed a blind man in two stages, and when we studied that passage we said that this healing is a parable for what the disciples are like, their vision is still blurry to who Christ is and what he has come to do.
    • And now here in Mark 10, after Jesus has told his disciples three times he is going to die and rise again, Jesus heals another blind man,and this is the final healing miracle that Mark records.
    • This is the setup for Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple. Everything else after this healing is centered in and around Jerusalem. So with all that in mind, let us walk through our text.

Verse 46

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

  • Notice first that this scene takes place on the way out of Jericho.
    • We remember that after Moses died, and Israel crossed the Jordan river, Joshua conquered Jericho. Mark has already portrayed Jesus as a new Joshua, who is regathering Israel in the wilderness, and leading them into the promised land. And here again we have that same theme.
    • Mark says Jesus came to Jericho, and he goes out of Jericho, and he is accompanied by a great crowd. This is Joshua conquering Canaan all over again.
    • Now Jericho was where the steep ascent to Jerusalem began. It was roughly 18 miles of very difficult and dangerous terrain to go from Jericho to Jerusalem. You recall that the famous story of The Good Samaritan takes place on this road between Jericho and Jerusalem. Jesus is retracing the very steps of Israel, and he is walking the same path that Joshua and David and many others walked before him.
  • Now as Jesus is beginning his ascent to Jerusalem, we are told that a blind man named “Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.”
  • This is what we a call a “lightning letter” in Holy Scripture. It is something that strikes us as odd, it stands out, and it invites us to contemplate its deeper meaning. Now maybe you are wondering, what is so significance about verse 46, this blind beggar?
  • What is significant is that the gospels almost never tell us the names of the people who are healed. There are some very rare exceptions, like Lazarus in John’s gospel, but if you think about it, the gospel writers almost always name the people Jesus heals by their affliction or their relation to someone else. So we have “the demoniac,” we have “the woman with the flow of the blood,” we have “Jairus’s daughter,”, “Peter’s mother-in-law,” “the leper,” etc. Hardly ever are we given their proper name.
  • In Mark’s gospel in particular there is only one person that Jesus heals, whose name we are told. And that is this man, “Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.”
    • What’s more, Bartimaeus is an odd name, it is a fusion of Aramaic and Greek. Bar is Aramaic for “son of,” while Timaeus is a very Greek name that means “honor,” or “highly prized.”
    • So Mark actually gives us his name twice, first in Greek and then in Aramaic, so he really wants us to know this man’s name. And the real question is why? Why is he drawing so much attention to this?
  • I believe there are at least two reasons for why Mark gives us this name.
    • First, remember what Jesus has been drilling into the disciples’ heads about wanting to be great and honorable in the eyes of the world. Jesus just rebuked them for worldly ambition, envy, and rivalry, and he was just turned down by the Rich Young Ruler, and so here in Bartimaeus we have the total opposite of everything the world aspires toward. Here is a blind man, who has nothing, who sits on the side of the road, and begs for alms. No one would want trade places with this guy. And what is his name? Bartimaeus, son of honor.
      • Jesus says in Luke 16:15 that, “what is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
      • Well here in blind Bartimaeus, what is abominable in the eyes of the world, becomes highly esteemed in the sight of God.
      • Jesus is going to restore to this man, the honor that is due to his name.He is going to make Bartimaeus into a true Bartimaeus, a true son of honor. And so what follows is a real life summary of everything Jesus has been teaching The Twelve: that honor is found not in what the world esteems, but in the eyes of God, and that is what we should care about.
    • As to the second reason for giving us this name? I will that save for later.

Verse 47

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

  • So blind Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is approaching and cries out to him.
  • And this is the first time that anyone calls Jesus the “son of David” in Mark’s gospel. After the healing of the first blind man in Mark 8, Peter confessed “thou art the Christ,” but here it is the blind man himself who sees even more clearly than the disciples who Jesus actually is. Jesus is David’s Son, a king of mercy, who is going to reconquer Jerusalem.
  • How do the people respond?

Verse 48

48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

  • Here the crowd is doing what the disciples were doing earlier, keeping the children and needy away from Jesus. It says, “many charged him to hold his peace,” to stop crying out for Jesus to have mercy upon him. Clearly, the crowds do not know why Jesus came to earth or why he is going to Jerusalem in the first place.
  • Despite the crowd trying to silence him, Bartimaeus perseveres, and he cries out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy upon me.”
  • Here is a man who has no illusions about his wretched and pitiable state. Bartimaeus knows there is nothing honorable or great about him. Unlike the Rich Young Ruler, Bartimaeus has nothing to lose. And because he has nothing to lose, he is not ashamed to keep crying out for mercy.
  • This is the poor in spirit, of whom Jesus says, “belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And so what does Jesus the son of David do?

Verse 49

49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

  • So Jesus, hearing this cry amid the crowd, stops and stands still. God hears the cry of the afflicted, and when He does, He commands us to come to Him.
  • By standing still, Jesus signifies the immoveable and unchanging character of God, which is that His goodness inclines Him to remove our defects and dispel our misery. As it says in Psalm 24:10, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.” Wherever Jesus walks, whether in Galilee, or Jericho, or Jerusalem, all his paths are mercy and truth.
  • This means that if you are in pain and you persevere in crying out to God, you can be assured that what Psalm 34 says is true, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. 34:18-19).
  • “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion” (Ps. 111:4), and if hears the cries of hungry lions and feeds them, then of course he will hear the cry of his people.
  • So God stops when he hears our cries for mercy, but notice that He does not immediately come down and remove our misery. What does He do?
  • He tests our faith. He tests our resolve. He calls us to Him so that we are forced to abandon those earthly comforts we cling to. As it says in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
    • Some people cry for mercy but only half-heartedly. When the crowds tell them to be quiet, they stop calling out. When a little relief comes, they stop praying.
    • And what is worse is that many people are part of the crowd. They go to church, they’re in proximity to Jesus and his disciples, but they themselves have never cried for mercy. It has never dawned on them that they are the ones who are spiritually blind and spiritual beggars, and are in desperate need of God to have mercy upon them. And because they never cry out, they never receive mercy, and therefore they remain at distance, only knowing about Jesus, but never knowing him as their true and close companion.
    • This is why Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.”
  • If you want mercy, if you want relief from your misery, then cry out and don’t stop crying out until you are searching for Him with all your heart. And then when He calls you to Himself do what Bartimaeus does…

Verse 50

50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

  • Remember that Bartimaeus is still blind. He has heard that Jesus is calling him, but in order to get to him, he must literally walk by faith in what he hears, and not by sight. Not only this, he throws off his garment, he forsakes what is probably the only possession he still has, and he arises and goes to Jesus.
  • By these actions, Mark shows us that mercy is found when we put off the old man and forsake everything. Mercy is had when we cast away our old garments, our sins and evil works, and arise and come to Jesus. And when we are standing there, naked and exposed in the light of God’s presence, what does He do?
  • What does Jesus do?

Verse 51

51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

  • When we have nothing in our hands but a humble plea for mercy, God says to us, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
  • Now remember the context. Where did we just hear this same question? This is what James and John asked of Jesus, “we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire” (Mark 10:35). And Jesus said, what do you want? And they wanted worldly glory and honor.
  • Well, here is a son of honor. Here is blind Bartimaeus. And because he cried for mercy from the son of David, Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Verses 51b-52

The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.  52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

  • Here now is the final test. Jesus gives him what he asks for, his physical sight, and then says to him, “Go thy way.” But what does Bartimaeus do? Well, we see that Bartimaeus has also received spiritual sight, and therefore Mark says he, “followed Jesus in the way.”
  • This is the choice you have when you receive God’s mercy. Where do you go when the pain is gone? Where do you go when your body is healthy, when there’s money in savings, when your relationships are thriving, and life is good? Do you go your own way, or do you keep following Jesus in His way?
  • Many people settle for temporal blessings from God. God is abundant and overflowing in mercy, He gives to all far beyond what we deserve, and yet many people are content to have only their temporal afflictions removed. People forget that this life is very brief, and mercy must be had here if we would avoid eternal misery.
  • So behold in this healing of Bartimaeus God’s delight and joy to give you salvation, and the only thing keeping you from heaven and eternal bliss is you. Jesus was just as willing to give the Rich Young Ruler mercy, but he never asked, he didn’t want it, he didn’t think he needed it. He counted the cost of losing his stuff, and of becoming like the blind beggar to be too great a sacrifice. He had too much to lose.
  • And so you can see why it is hard for those who are not afflicted in this world to enter heaven, because they are comfortable here.
  • This is also why we can learn to be content and joyful in our afflictions, because by them we are made to yearn for God. When we forsake ourselves, and cast away the earthly things we hold dear, even the good things, we are able to then receive the best thing, namely God. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the Lord (who is merciful) delivereth him out of them all.”
  • Eternal mercy is what God wants us to yearn for, and so temporal suffering can be received as His loving and wise hand to bring us to Him.

Conclusion

You remember I said there was a second reason for Mark giving us this name Bartimaeus. Well I believe that second reason is because in Bartimaeus, is signified the salvation of the Gentiles (our salvation). Let me explain.

  • Have you ever seen that famous painting by Raphael called The School of Athens (1509-1511 AD). It’s in the Vatican. It’s the one the onewhere Plato is pointing up, and Aristotle is gesturing down, and there are all these other famous philosophers around them.
    • Well in that picture, Plato and Aristotle are each holding a book. Aristotle is holding his Nichomachean Ethics, and do you know what Plato is holding? It’s not The Republic (as much as we might expect), it’s his book Timaeus.
    • And Timaeus is Plato’s origin story for how the world came to be. In it, a man named Timaeus describes the creation of the universe, and he is the only ancient author to posit a Creator who predates matter. Every other ancient creation myth has the world being eternal or the gods being a part of creation. And so Timaeus is the closest the pagans ever got to the truth of Genesis 1.
    • Well in Timaeus, Timaeus himself says the following: “According to my account, sight is responsible for the greatest benefit to us because not one of the accounts we are relating about the universe would ever have been spoken without seeing the stars or Sun or the heaven…From this (sight) we have acquired philosophy in general, and no greater good has ever or will ever come to mortal creatures as a gift from the gods than this. So I declare this to be the greatest benefit of eyes.”
    • For Plato, for Timaeus, the highest good was philosophy, and it was sight that allowed man to achieve that highest good. And so it is a remarkable coincidence, that the only person Mark ever names, who is healed by Jesus, is a blind man, named “son of Timaeus.”
    • And when Jesus heals this son of Timaeus, he gives him more than sight. He gives him a far greater good than philosophy. He gives him the saving knowledge of God. He gives him theology. He gives him the supernatural light of faith. He gives him everlasting mercy.
    • Bartimaeus represents the blindness of the gentiles, who grope in the dark, with their half-truths many falsehoods. But as Matthew 4:16 says, in Jesus, “The people which sat in darkness have seen a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.”
    • Jesus is the son of David, who brings the blind and the lame into His house. Jesus removes the blind and the lame from the land, not by violence, but by healing them and making them whole. This is the mercy of the Lord, that endures forever, and by Christ’s death and resurrection, that mercy is offered to all who call out to him.
    • In the name of Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen

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