The story of how Blind Bartimaeus is filled with practical lessons. It is found in Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43 and they highlight the power of having faith, knowledge, and persistence. In this article, I’ll share seven lessons to learn from him, but first, if you aren’t familiar with his story here is a quick summary.
Summary of The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus
Bartimaeus was a blind beggar that heard that Jesus was passing by. Recognizing the opportunity, he started shouting for Jesus’ attention in order to be healed.
The people surrounding him tried to keep him quiet, but eventually, he got Jesus’ attention. Jesus healed him and told him his faith made him well. He then followed Jesus and people praised God because of his healing.
So what are the seven lessons to learn from Blind Bartimaeus? They are:
- Asking Questions Can Lead To A Better Life
- Knowledge Makes You Aware of Opportunities
- Don’t Let People Keep You Back
- Know What You Want
- Faith Is Required To Achieve Your Goals
- Your Faith Can Lead Others To God
- Don’t Forget God After He Helps You
Let’s now look at each of these lessons in more detail!
Asking Questions Can Lead To A Better Life
The first lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is that asking questions can lead to a better life. In Luke’s account of the story, it states that when Bartimaeus “heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening” (Luke 18:36 NIV).
Now his question might not seem to be a big deal, but when you consider it was that question that made him realize that Jesus was passing by, which in turn led to him being healed, it can’t be overlooked.
If Bartimaeus wasn’t curious about what was taking place around him or made assumptions as to what was taking place, he may have missed out on receiving his sight!
Learning from him, we are blind to so many things and should be curious enough about our surroundings to ask questions about what’s happening. The answer to those questions can put us on a path to transforming our lives.
For example, when we see some people succeeding in life while others are not, we may blindly conclude that some people are simply luckier than others. Or like Bartimaeus, we may have a certain limitation and assume that that’s just the way it is and we can’t get any better.
But oftentimes, if we simply ask what’s happening when we have these experiences, the answer might lead to us improving our lives.
In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (NIV). So don’t wait for people to tell you what you need to know.
Be curious and start asking more questions. If Blind Bartimaeus didn’t ask what was happening, chances are no one would have told him that Jesus who could heal him was within reach.
Knowledge Makes You Aware of Opportunities
The second lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is that knowledge makes you aware of opportunities. Mark 10:47 states that “When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (NIV)! What Bartimaeus’ shouted reveals a few things.
- Bartimaeus Knew Who Jesus Was – If he didn’t know, he would have also asked who is Jesus of Nazareth.
- Bartimaeus Believed Jesus Was The Promised One – He acknowledged him as the Son of David in accordance with Bible prophecy (Isaiah 9:7).
- Bartimaeus Knew That Jesus Could Heal Him – He asked Jesus to have mercy on him.
Without this knowledge, Bartimaeus would have not recognized the opportunity he had to be healed! Learning from him, we should become as knowledgeable as we can in order to be aware of more opportunities that we can take advantage of.
This lesson goes hand in hand with the first lesson I shared; asking questions can lead to a better life. If we don’t recognize the opportunities in front of us, we can’t take advantage of them and if we aren’t curious enough to ask questions, we’d never know.
Knowledge Makes You Aware of Potential Trouble
In the case of Blind Bartimaeus, knowledge made him aware of the opportunity before him, and that allowed him to take advantage of it. But I’d like to add that knowledge also makes you aware of potential trouble.
If you are not aware that something is a trap, how can you avoid it? If we are not knowledgeable of God’s word, how can we avoid the consequences of disobeying it?
Proverbs 18:15 states “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Remember that the knowledge Blind Bartimaeus had made him aware of the opportunity to be healed by Jesus. Like him, with an intelligent heart, let’s acquire knowledge also!
Don’t Let People Keep You Back
The third lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is don’t let people keep you back. When Bartimaeus started shouting “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”, the book of Mark states that “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet”, but instead of letting the people keep him back, in response, The Bible says that “he shouted all the more” (Mark 10:48 NIV). What was the result of all his shouting? “Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him’” (Mark 10:49 NIV).
Aware of the opportunity that was in front of him, Bartimaeus didn’t let what people thought about what he was doing keep him back. He wasn’t embarrassed about what he had to do in order to get Jesus’ attention. Like him, you shouldn’t let people keep you back when you want to take advantage of an opportunity.
No matter what that opportunity might be, people who can’t see you succeeding, or like the crowd that surrounded Bartimaeus, who feel uncomfortable by your pursuit of it, may say things to keep you back.
People With Good Intentions Can Keep You Back
Even with good intentions, people can say things that can keep you back. Take Peter for instance. He was one of Jesus’ top disciples. The one that correctly answered that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” (Matthew 16:16 NIV) when Jesus asked his disciples who do people say I am.
Yet, later in that same chapter, when Jesus told them that he must die, Jesus had to rebuke Peter for saying “This shall never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22 NIV).
Like Peter told Jesus, the crowd that told Blind Bartimaeus to keep quiet may have had good intentions for telling him to, but just because a person’s intentions are good, it doesn’t mean what they say is right!
Keep this in mind when people tell you things to discourage you from pursuing goals. If they aren’t smarter than you in the area you’re trying to achieve your goals in, hear them, but don’t simply accept what they say. Now to the next lesson!
Know What You Want
The fourth lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is to know what you want. An interesting thing to note about the story of Bartimaeus’ healing is that when he stumbled his way to Jesus, Jesus asked him “What do you want me to do for you” (Mark 10:51 NIV)? It was obvious that he was blind, yet Jesus didn’t make the assumption that he wanted to see.
You see, Bartimaeus was a beggar and he likely had to resort to begging because he was blind. But as you might know, some people with disabilities that depend on the charity of others may not want to get better even if they could have. Getting better would mean they no longer have an excuse. They would have to earn a living for themselves like most people.
But immediately after Jesus asked him, in the same verse, Bartimaeus made his desire known. “Rabbi, I want to see,” he said. Bartimaeus knew what he wanted, and that knowledge made him ready when the opportunity came up to get it.
If someone asked you on some random occasion, what you wanted in life, would you know? Not only that, what if they were capable of giving it to you? Would you be able to tell them right there and then?
Just like Bartimaeus was ready, we should be ready by knowing what we want. While it’s extremely rare that someone would ask and give us everything we wanted on some random occasion, knowing what we want causes us to make decisions in alignment with our desires, leading us in time to obtain it.
Faith Is Required To Achieve Your Goals
The fifth lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is that faith is required to achieve your goals. After Jesus healed Bartimaeus, he said “Go, for your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52 NIV).
Although it was the power of God that made it possible for Bartimaeus to see again, Jesus said it was his faith that did it. Now I’m not sure how healing works, but from Jesus’ response, it appears that our faith plays a role in the things that happen for us in life.
Faith According To The Bible
But when we consider how the Bible describes faith and connect it to how Bartimaeus displayed it, we can learn how to apply it to our lives in order to achieve our goals. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).
Explaining it further, James 2:14-26 indicates that faith without works is dead and that the two go hand in hand for it to make sense.
So when we connect that brief summary of how The Bible defines faith to Bartimaeus’ healing, we see that he exhibited faith by not only accepting the fact that Jesus could heal him but also putting it into action by shouting for Jesus to have mercy on him.
Learning from Bartimaeus, we shouldn’t just say in our hearts we believe God can do a certain thing for us, we should instead act as though God can do it for us. For Bartimaeus, this meant shouting for Jesus’s attention, jumping up, throwing his coat aside, and going to him.
If you are believing God for a job it may mean applying for all the jobs you can find. If it’s to start a business, it may mean writing your plans down even though you have no idea where the money will come from. For me, it means consistently writing articles not knowing if or how many people it will reach!
Your Faith Can Lead Others To God
The sixth lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is that your faith can lead others to God. This flows from the last lesson we looked at.
The book of Luke states that when the people saw that Bartimaeus was healed, they praised God (Luke 18:42). And if we go back to the fact that Jesus told him that his faith had made him well, it shows that our faith can lead others to God.
As we saw, this isn’t the type of faith that simply says I believe something could happen. It’s the type of faith that shows I believe it will happen. This true faith causes us to do things that may seem ridiculous to people, but in the end, when we accomplish it, it causes others to acknowledge the power of God.
Let Your Light Shine
It’s similar to how Jesus said we should let our lights shine before others “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). Your faith can stand out in the world and although people may not always tell you the impact it had on them, in their hearts they may praise God for what he did through you.
The story of another blind man’s healing in John 9 also points to this lesson. The disciples thought that the man or the man’s parents sinned causing him to be blind from birth. But Jesus said neither sinned, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3 NIV).
Like Bartimaeus, this other blind man was in a position that was unfortunate, but that unfortunate position made it possible for God to display his power!
So consider your life and what struggle you might be facing. How can you start acting in faith in order that God can help you overcome it? It’s not only an opportunity to overcome but it’s also a chance for others to see the power of God displayed, leading them to him.
Don’t Forget God After He Helps You
The last and seventh lesson to learn from Blind Bartimaeus is don’t forget God after he helps you. We all know we shouldn’t, but we can always use a reminder. After Jesus healed Bartimaeus, Mark 10:52 states that he “followed Jesus along the road” (NIV). He did, although Jesus told him to go.
When we are experiencing difficulties in life, we often find ourselves like Bartimaeus shouting for Jesus to have mercy on us. But after he does have mercy on us, we may neglect to give him the time and attention he rightfully deserves. Simply put, we forget God after he helps us.
We see this happen when the 10 men with leprosy were healed. They all shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (Luke 17:13 NIV), but as they got healed going to see the priest based on Jesus’ instruction, only one of them upon recognizing he was healed came back praising God and thanked Jesus (Luke 17:15).
To learn more about the 10 lepers, see my article: 3 Lessons To Learn From Jesus Healing The Ten Lepers.
No matter what God does for us, like Bartimaeus, we shouldn’t forget God but follow him. As our creator, he deserves our following even if he never helps us. Since he does, he is all the more deserving of our loyalty.
There you have it, seven lessons to learn from Blind Bartimaeus. In addition to showing us how we can better our lives by being knowledgeable, asking questions, and having true faith, He taught us how our faith can lead others to God and that we should remain loyal to God after he helps us. As wise believers let’s not only learn these lessons but also apply them to our lives!
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