Bill Cosby has a funny story about when you say something stupid and before you’re done saying it you know it’s stupid but you keep on saying it anyway. He was doing a show in Las Vegas with Ray Charles and Ray invited him over to talk one night so Bill shows up at the building and buzzes Ray’s room. “Come on up”, he says through the intercom so Bill comes to the room and knocks.
“Come in, it’s unlocked”, Ray says. When Bill opens the door he finds the hotel suite in total darkness. “Where are you Ray?”, he says as he comes throught the door into the totally dark room.
“I’m just finishing up shaving”, Ray says from the bathroom. Before Bill can think about what he was going to say he asks, “Why are you shaving in the dark?”
This got me to thinking. A blind man would have to know where everything is precisely. I suppose if I was blind I would get better at hanging on to my keys, my wallet, my watch. You simply couldn’t put those things down just anywhere if you ever wanted to find them again.
I noticed something interesting in the story of Bartimaeus this week. In Mark 10: 46 we read that Jesus is coming to the city of Jericho and right then the crowd must have suddenly swelled tremendously. Even a blind man could tell sometting was coming. Bartimaeus heard it was Jesus and immediately called out “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
The title ‘son of David’ is used 14 times in the New Testament (8 times by Matthew) and was a messianic title. If you were calling Jesus the son of David you were calling him the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed one. This was not a nickname. It was a profession of faith.
When Jesus calls Bartimaeus he does something incredibly bold. In v. 50 it says, “he cast aside his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus.” What would make a blind man throw away his cloak in the middle of a huge crowd? Most poor people would have one cloak to their name. It was for the poor a very important piece of property. On cold nights it was the only thing keeping you warm.
Old Testament Law forbid a lender from keeping a cloak from a borrower overnight. (Exodus 22: 25 – 26). It was simply too cruel to keep it from them until they paid their debt.
Bartimaeus throws it aside and runs up to Jesus. He is certain that he will find it again. Jesus curiously asks him what he wants him to do. I can imagine the smile on Jesus face as he asks. Bartimaeus asks. ” Teacher, I want to regain my sight!”
Jesus replies, “Go, your faith has healed (saved) you .” It is faith that Jesus loves to see. The faith of a blind man who throws away his cloak knowing that he will soon be able to find it again.