The Blind Leading the Blind

 “Then they came to Jericho. And later, as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”—Mark 10:46–47 (NASB)

When it came to the Pharisees, Jesus instructed His followers to leave them alone because they were blind guides and lacked true spiritual understanding. He said they were “the blind leading the blind” (Matthew 15:14) to certain disaster. However, this figurative phrase takes on a fresh perspective in the life of Bartimaeus. In this two-part devotional, we’ll see how spiritual insight trumps eyesight, the evidence of true discipleship, and how expectant faith receives its reward.

Today’s verse finds Jesus and His disciples entering Jerusalem where Jesus had told them He’d be “handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death” (Mark 10:33 NASB). None of this made any sense to them, and even the most learned men were offended by His audacious claims.

So, the picture here is Jesus with His friends and a large crowd. It’s nearly Passover, and hordes of people are making their way to Jerusalem. The air is heavy with commotion. Everyday life is amplified, almost deafening. Yet, blind Bartimaeus clearly discerns something different is happening around him. When he heard Jesus was passing by, begging for alms became irrelevant. His faith moved him to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

That simple line in Scripture reveals so much about this man’s understanding and faith. The word “cry” used here is not one of sorrow but more like the shriek of an animal, a howl of vengeance. It’s the same cry Jesus gave on the cross as He slipped into death (Mark 15:39). A cry of vengeance over sin and death was the same sound Bartimaeus gave over his affliction.

He calls out, “Jesus, Son of David!” Without eyesight, Bartimaeus discerns what others with sight could not see. He recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, the One the prophets had foretold would cause the blind to see and reconcile the world to God.

Furthermore, Bartimaeus pleas for mercy. The word for mercy here is eleeō, and it means to have compassion–not because it is owed, but simply by the very nature of the word, to help. Jesus was the Messiah who would come to help restore all things, and this man’s remarkable cry of faith is audible even now.

Thousands of people passed by Bartimaeus that day—One would pass that way and never again. The blind man didn’t waste that moment; he didn’t hesitate to ask help for his needs. I pray we all do the same.  

Pause: Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Take the gates of heaven and shake them with thy vehemence, as though thou wouldst pull them up post and bar and all. Stand at Mercy’s door, and take no denial. Knock, and knock, and knock again.”

Practice: When asking God for mercy, are you crying out with an insatiable desire that routs the plots of evil and shakes the gates of heaven?

Pray: Lord, in what I am facing, in what I struggle with daily, I cry out for mercy, I ask for Your help. I believe You do restore all things. Open my eyes, Lord, and help me to see Your perspective and experience persevering faith. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

About the Author

Lisa Supp

Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.