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Bible Study

9 Powerful Lessons to Learn from Blind Bartimaeus 

“Lord, I want to walk!”  

The tears welled up as I watched a couple walking down the beach, holding hands as their playful dog ran along the shore.  

“I want to stand without feeling dizzy. And I want to walk without feeling faint.” 

After over 10 years of dealing with a chronic illness, I just want God to fix it. So, I can enjoy a normal life.  

And yet, so far He hasn’t. 

When facing painful circumstances, we can find ourselves in a dark place. Pulling back from God. Questioning our faith.  

We may even find ourselves hesitating to pray.  

Because after years of praying the same thing over and over again, we can’t help but think, “Well, it’s not like He’s going to answer anyway.” 

Sigh.  

Sometimes our painful circumstances can blind us to spiritual truths. Such as the truth that: 

  • No matter what happens to us God is still good. (Isaiah 54:10) 
  • That He is the source of our ultimate healing. (John 3:16) 
  • And that we need Him more than anything. (2 Corinthians 12:9) 

My cry that day echoed the plea of a man in the Bible. This man cried out, “Lord, I want to see!”  

And while he received healing and I have not, from his powerful story God has still taught me a lot.  

And it is my prayer that these lessons will help you, too.  

The Story of Blind Bartimaeus

The story of blind Bartimaeus is told in Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43. In this passage, Jesus is traveling with a large crowd through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem. 

And they happen to pass by Bartimaeus. (Although with God, nothing ever “just happens.” He always has a plan!) 

Bartimaeus inquires as to the reason for the crowd and is told Jesus of Nazareth is passing through. Immediately, he shouts, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 

The people try to silence him, but he shouts even louder.  

Jesus hears him and stops. Then he tells them to bring Bartimaeus to Him. And when Bartimaeus comes, Jesus asks him what he wants.  

Bartimaeus says, “Lord, I want to see!” (Luke 18:41 NLT) 

And Jesus heals him. (Luke 18:42) 

Just like that.

So, what does the story of Blind Bartimaeus teach us? 

While we aren’t told the reasons for Bartimaeus’s blindness or how long he endured in this condition. And we aren’t told where he is from or even what happened to him afterward.  

There is still a lot his story can teach us.  

Because while his story is made up of just a few short verses . . . it contains a very powerful message.  

A woman praying and the words, "We need Jesus more than anything."

What is the message of Blind Bartimaeus?

The message of the story of blind Bartimaeus is about how desperately we need Jesus. And how we shouldn’t let anything hold us back from getting to Him.  

Whether that be the opinions of others. Our reputations. Our limitations. Our doubts and fears. Or our pain and tears.  

We should do whatever we can to get to Jesus.  

Because it is only in His arms we can find true and everlasting healing. If not for our bodies in this life . . . then for our hearts, minds, and souls.

An open Bible on a table with a lit candle. And the words, "Only with Jesus can we find true and everlasting healing."

What can we learn from the story of Bartimaeus?

So, what does the story of blind Bartimaeus teach us?

A lot actually.

There are 9 important lessons to learn from blind Bartimaeus. 

  • 1) Persistently pursue Jesus. 
  • 2) Don’t worry about what others think. 
  • 3) Get rid of anything that could hold you back. 
  • 4) Have faith. And believe God can. 
  • 5) Be grateful for what God has done for you.    
  • 7) Let your life reveal Jesus to others.    
  • 8) Remember who you really are.   
  • 9) Remember what you really need.  

These lessons will help us with the difficult things in life we must face. Because there are many characteristics of blind Bartimaeus we would be wise to emulate.  

1) Persistently pursue Jesus.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Because when we have nothing left, we realize Jesus is our greatest treasure. 

Bartimaeus wasn’t just sitting there passively. He paid attention to what was going on. He was curious and inquisitive. 

The noises and sounds of the crowd told him something special was happening. And he didn’t hesitate to ask what it was. (Luke 18:36-37) His boldness in asking questions is the very reason he found out Jesus was passing through.  

As soon as he heard who it was, Bartimaeus knew this was his chance. He didn’t hesitate. He knew he couldn’t get to Jesus. There was no way he’d find him in the crowd.  

So, he cried out. As loud as he could. And he kept shouting until he got Jesus’s attention.  

He was persistent in his pursuit of Jesus. Because Bartimaeus knew Jesus was his only hope.  

A woman's praying hands. And the words, "Don't worry about what other people think about your faith. Chase after Jesus anyway."

2) Don’t worry about what others think.

Don’t worry about what other people think about your faith. Chase after Jesus anyway. 

In those days, most people thought if you had a physical ailment or disease, it was a sign God was displeased. That people who suffered from these things were unrepentant sinners being punished by God.   

Blind Bartimaeus would’ve been ostracized. Looked down on. Overlooked and cast aside.  

After years of this kind of treatment, it would make sense for him to want to be quiet. To not draw attention to himself.  

And yet in this story, we see Bartimaeus was enthusiastic about crying out to Jesus. Even though the crowd rebuked him, he kept calling out. (Luke 18:39) 

If he would have listened to the crowd and stopped crying out, he would have missed the blessing.

But instead, Bartimaeus decided he didn’t care what they thought of him. He wasn’t worried about pleasing the people. Maintaining the status quo. He wasn’t concerned with fitting in or living up to others’ expectations of him.  

He knew the only thing that mattered was getting to Jesus. 

An open Bible on a beach with some driftwood. And the words, "Don't let anything hold you back from chasing after Jesus."

3) Get rid of anything that could hold you back.

Don’t let anything hold you back from chasing after Jesus.  

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” 

-Hebrews 12:1 NLT

When Bartimaeus realized Jesus had stopped and called for him, he threw off his cloak. (Mark 10:50) 

The cloak Bartimaeus was wearing would’ve been heavy. Perhaps this is the reason he threw it off. He didn’t want anything slowing him down on his way to Jesus.  

But perhaps there was something more going on . . .  

What is the significance of Bartimaeus throwing off his cloak?

At first glance, Bartimaeus throwing off his cloak seems like a minor detail.  

But this is why it’s so important to slow down and pay attention to the little things as we study Scripture. To dig into the context of a verse. And learn about the cultural and historical backgrounds.  

Because throwing off the cloak was actually a big deal.  

The cloak was an outer garment that was not only used like a long coat but was also used as a blanket at night for protection against the cold.

This garment was so important to the ancient Israelites that they were forbidden to keep it as security on loans (Exodus 22:26-27, Deuteronomy 24:12-13). 

This cloak would have also served as Bartimaeus’s means of acquiring money. 

Scholars believe he would have sat down and spread his cloak over his lap. This way people could drop money onto the cloak so he could easily collect it.  

Which means this cloak would have symbolized his means to protect himself and acquire what he needed to survive.  

But it also meant one more thing . . . it was a symbol of his old way of life. And he chose to cast it aside.  

He had complete and total faith that after he met Jesus . . . he would no longer need it.  

A woman holding a tissue to her face to wipe off tears. And the words, "Don't listen to your doubts and fears. Trust the One who catches your every tear."

4) Have faith. And believe God can.

Don’t listen to your doubts and fears. Trust the One who catches your every tear.  

Bartimaeus didn’t wrestle with doubts. He didn’t hesitate out of fear. He was bold and confident.  

He believed Jesus could heal him. And he had faith that he would.  

  • He knew who Jesus was. (When someone told him it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he didn’t ask, “Who is that?”) 
  • He knew Jesus was the promised Messiah. (He called Jesus the “son of David” which was a reference to the promise in Isaiah that the Messiah would be one of David’s descendants.) 
  • He knew that Jesus could heal him. (This was why he was so desperate to get Jesus’s attention – he knew that Jesus was his only hope for healing.) 

He had total faith and complete confidence in Jesus. And so can we.  

A field of flowers with a sunset and clouds. And the words, "Have faith. And believe God can.'

5) Be grateful for what God has done for you.

No matter what comes your way, there’s always a reason for praise.  

When Bartimaeus realized his sight had been restored the first thing he did was praise God. (Luke 18:43) 

He was grateful for what God had done. And he showed his gratitude. 

Now, it can be easy to be grateful when things are going right in our life. When God has given us what we want. But what about when things are going wrong?

The truth is even in the most challenging times, we still have reasons to be grateful and praise God for all He has done for us. 

He gives us good gifts every single day. Like a beautiful sunset, the laughter of a child, or even the very breath in our lungs. All these things remind us that God is good. And we should be grateful for all He has done.

6) Follow Jesus wherever he leads.

After Bartimaeus is healed, he started following Jesus (Luke 18:43). We aren’t told for how long or where to. But the point is that he didn’t go back to his old life, his old place, or his familiar surroundings.  

He chose to follow Jesus.

He knew that his old life had nothing for him anymore so he left it behind and followed Jesus into his new life. 

Sometimes after we accept Jesus’s gift of salvation, our old life comes calling. It can be tempting to go back to what is familiar. To turn back to our old ways. 

But we’ve been restored and renewed in Jesus. It’s time to leave our old life behind and follow Him. Wherever he leads.  

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  

-2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
A woman praying with water in the background. And the words, "It's about God's glory. Not mine."

7) Let your life reveal Jesus to others.  

When other people see our faith, it brings God praise.  

When the crowd saw Bartimaeus was healed they praised God. (Luke 18:43) 

There is another story of a blind man being healed in the Bible.

In this story, the disciples ask why the man was born blind. They wondered if it was because of the man’s sin or his parents’ sin.  

(In Biblical times, physical ailments and disease were viewed as punishments from God – although the story of Job shows this was an inaccurate viewpoint.) 

Jesus responds by saying he was born blind “so that the works of God could be displayed.” (John 9:3) 

The truth is it’s our brokenness that allows the light of Jesus to shine through us into a dark world.  

Our lives are about making Christ known. In everything.  

In our smiles and laughter. In our suffering and tears. In our hopeful confidence and faith. In our quiet doubts and fears.  

Because the truth is the only reason for our suffering and pain may be that the works of God may be displayed. 

If I know that by smiling through my pain, someone else may get to see the light of Jesus . . . then it makes it all worth it.  

While I may never be okay with the pain . . . when I realize how the pain can make me more like Jesus. And how it can be the perfect place for His glory to be displayed . . . it makes it a little easier to get through the hard days.  

Because I know there’s a purpose for the pain.  

It’s about God’s glory . . . not mine.  

And our faith is the perfect place for God’s glory to be displayed. Whether He heals us or not.

Following Jesus means dying to myself and surrendering to His will for my life . . . whatever His will may be. 

A woman praying by her bedside. And the words, "Following Jesus means dying to myself and surrendering to His will for my life . . . whatever that will may be."

How Can You Relate Yourself to Blind Bartimaeus?

There are a couple more lessons Blind Bartimaeus can teach us. These lessons help us relate to him in a more practical way while also encouraging our faith.  

8) Remember who you really are.

Jesus noticed Bartimaeus. He saw him. He stopped what he was doing and waited for him. (Luke 18:40) 

The interruption was welcomed. Because that’s how much this man meant to Jesus.  

In the same way, Jesus sees us. No matter where we are.  

He sees our hearts, our tears, and our wounds. He meets us in the middle of our messes. Even the ones we made with our own two hands.  

He knows us. Even the darkest, deepest parts of us. 

And He waits for us. He patiently calls us to come to Him.  

Because we mean that much to Him.  

Jesus wants nothing more than to restore us into a personal, intimate love relationship with Him.  

Instead of letting our problems define us, we can let God’s truth define us.  

When life is hard, we need to remember who we are. And live out of our true identities . . . as daughters of the One, True King! 

A woman smiling and twirling around with an orange scarf wrapped around her. And the words, "Remember who you are. You are a daughter of the One, True King."

9) Remember what you really need.

Notice that while Jesus could totally tell the man was blind . . . He didn’t instantly cure him.  

Instead, Jesus asked the man a question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) 

Maybe Jesus asked the question because He wanted Bartimaeus to think about what he really wanted.  

Because physical healing doesn’t mean our problems go away.  

If Bartimaeus was healed, he’d no longer be able to just sit and beg for money all day. His healing meant he was going to have to go back to work. It would change his life drastically.  

Where before he relied on others, now he’d have to take care of himself.  

But even knowing this, Bartimaeus declared, “I want to see!” 

And Jesus healed him.   

Think about that once.  

The first thing this blind man saw was the Savior of the world—the One who could offer him so much more than just physical healing.  

The One who could meet Bartimaeus’s deepest need . . . the need for God’s mercy.  

We can be gut-wrenchingly honest with God about what we think we need. We can pour our hearts out to Him about our greatest desires.  

But God knows more than we do.  

And sometimes God knows allowing us to suffer in our weakness can be the best way for us to experience His strength. To grow our faith and allow us to experience intimacy with Him in amazingly new ways.  

While Jesus did say He came to give us the abundant life . . . God’s idea of the abundant life may be a lot different than our own.

While we can be honest with God about what we want . . . He knows what we really need more than anything . . . is Him.

“I’ve learned to cherish the illness that brings me to my knees before the King of Kings.”

-Collene Borchardt
An open Bible on a table with white drapes in the background. And the words, "9 Powerful Lessons to Learn from Blind Bartimaeus."

What does the healing of the blind man can teach us?

The healing of blind Bartimaeus teaches us that we need Jesus more than anything.  

While having God fix everything wrong in our life would be great. And physical healing would be nice . . . what we really need is to be healed spiritually.  

To confess our sins to God. Embrace His grace. Accept the gift of Jesus’s death on the cross as the payment for all our sins.  

And when we do that . . . we find true and everlasting healing.  

Even while living in a broken world with broken bodies.  

If you find this encouraging, then please share it so it can bless another! 

And be sure to check out these other inspiring reads: 

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