Read: Numbers 34-36, Mark 10:32-52
Do you ever read a verse or two in the Bible and think, I’ve read this somewhere before… For me, today was one of those days. As I read through the account of blind Bartimaeus in Mark, I was reminded of another passage in scripture. And no, it wasn’t someone else’s account of the same man. It was in Hebrews and it feels like a response to the account in Mark. Let me show you what I found.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…
Hebrews 12:1a (NIV)
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd…
Mark 10:46a (NIV)
I understand that Hebrews is referring to all of those great men and women of the faith that have gone before us, but the crowd in Mark also served as witnesses. Some didn’t feel that Bartimaeus deserved Jesus’ attention, but others did.
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Mark 10:48-49 (NIV)
Without these people who encouraged him, Bartimaeus would never have experienced what happened next. The passage wouldn’t even be in the Gospels. How inconsequential would a man calling after Jesus be? I’m sure it happened all the time. But because this beggar was surrounded by those who had already seen or experienced Jesus, we have his story to tell.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and thes in that so easily entangles.
Hebrews 12:1b (NIV)
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
Mark 10:50 (NIV)
Throw, throwing, both of these words come from the same root that mean to get away from. The implication is that it wasn’t a slothful trod away from hindrance, but a sudden casting away from that which may entangle a person. It is likely that Bartimaeus would not have been able to jump up had he remained wrapped up in his cloak. But because he didn’t want to lose his chance at speaking with Jesus, he tossed it aside and got away from it.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2a (NIV)
“Rabbi, I want to see.”
Mark 10:51b (NIV)
One translation goes so far to say, “That I may see thee.” Bartimaeus didn’t just want to see, he wanted to see Jesus.
…and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us.
Hebrews 12:1c (NIV)
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:52b (NIV)
Many Christians are under the impression that we must be trailblazers, crashing ahead, clearing a path that has yet to be trod. Never once did Jesus tell his followers to go somewhere he’d never been or do something he’d never done. Bartimaeus got up and followed Jesus. The writer in Hebrews tells us to run the race that’s been marked for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Jesus already blazed the trail with his suffering. He marked it with his blood. It is through our faith—that begins and ends with Christ—that we see that road before us. And, like Bartimaeus, we must refuse to give in to those who would shut us up or discourage us from receiving that which we’ve been promised, cast away anything that might hold us back, jump up, declare what we want from Jesus, and follow him.