In Mark’s account, it says that Jesus and the Twelve came to Jericho (Luke’s account says, “While on their way to Jericho…”). To understand the reason for what seems like confusion, it’s possible that they were actually in the vicinity of Jericho, for at the time, there were 2 different cities named Jericho, and neither were the Jericho from the Old Testament.
A = The Old Testament Jericho today = “Tell-es sultan”
B = The New Testament Jericho today = nearby “Tulul Abu el-Alayiq
- Thrived from late 200 B.C. to 70 A.D.
- Extended south, and west of the mound that covered the OT Jericho’s ruins.
- Its heart is the Winter Palace Complex, built by Herod the Great, about 2 miles SW of the OT Jericho.
- It covered about 35 acres
- It’s made up of luxury palaces, villas, gardens, pools, theaters, and sports facilities.
- Josephus mentioned these
- Josephus also mentioned that Aristobulus III was murdered in one of the pools.
So to understand here, Mark’s account told of Jesus leaving the Old Testament Jericho and entering the New Testament Jericho, while Luke’s account only mentions the NT Jericho, and then the story of Zachaeus who was in the town.
So to understand better, Jesus and His 12, together without a large crowd, were leaving the Old Testament Jericho. Just then, Bartimaeus (a blind man, son of Timaeus) was sitting by the roadside, begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began shouting, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but this instead caused him to shout all the more.
Then Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man saying, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Throwing his cloak aside, Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bart: “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Jesus: “Go, your faith has healed you.” Immediately (key word of Mark’s), he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Notice that many rebuked Bartimaeus for his charismatic claims about Jesus, even telling him to shut-up. Were they embarrassed by his charisma? Maybe they thought he was a crazy beggar, mocking Jesus and causing trouble? Notice though that even as the persecution increased, so did his praise and witness. And once he was louder, Jesus then told the people to call him over to Him.
Maybe Jesus couldn’t hear the man at first over the crowd. Or maybe Jesus wanted to wait to see how the man would respond to his persecution for the sake of Jesus’ name. But whatever the reason, when the man’s cries for many (praise and witness to Jesus’ name) continued and increased in volume, Jesus then called him to Him.
Another interesting event is that after healing him, the man followed Jesus along the road. This is a very good example of a Christian conversion, for if you’ll first look at some of Jesus’ past healings:
- Jesus healed. Then told them to go to the temple and present themselves to the priests. Jesus was commanding them to keep the Law, for by doing such, he would then be welcomed back into the Holy community. But instead, he disobeyed Jesus’ command and pursued community outside the “Church”. They told of Jesus, yes, but as a healer, nothing more.
- Jesus healed. The person wanted to return to the city with his friends, but Jesus told him to go straight home, and to not go through the city to get there (in fact, stay far away from the city).
- Jesus healed. The fellow wanted to follow, but Jesus commanded him to be a witness of Him to the people
- Jesus healed. The guy just laid there like nothing happened. Then Jesus told him to get up, take his mat, and go home.
Some next couple of examples are:
- Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus: Bart showed great faith while being persecuted. Jesus healed him, and he followed Jesus.
- Zacchaeus (told about in Luke): Sought out Jesus, repented, and responded to Christ.
My point is that many (even today) accept Jesus’ gifts when in need, but once they’re no longer “in need”, they’ll have nothing to do with Him. Sure they may witness Christ to others or in public, but nothing about His True identity.
- They’ll also return to their sins, even while claiming Christ in their lives;
- They’ll do things their own way, versus how Jesus demonstrated and commands
- They lay around thinking they don’t have to do anything in response (Dude, you can walk now…stand up and get out of here!).
A correct response is to acknowledge, repent, accept, follow, and respond in obedience.
And finally, notice that the man asked to see. Many regain their sight, but only see with their physical eyes. To truly see is to also understand about spiritual (Godly) things. Bart didn’t only regain his sight, but he was also given the gift to see.