And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
When he heard that it was Jesus, he could not be silent. When he heard it was Jesus, surely hope rose within him. Maybe his heart skipped a beat. Maybe he reached out his hand. When he heard it was Jesus, he knew someone was so near who could make a significant difference in his life. When he heard it was Jesus, he knew he didn’t have to be a blind beggar anymore. When he heard it was Jesus, he knew the Son of David was at hand, that Messiah was in their midst, that the power of God had come to earth, and so he could be delivered.
Bartimaeus may have been blind, but he knew exactly who Jesus was and what He could do. He knew that nothing about himself mattered—that he was poor and blind and cast aside by his society, that he was lowly and needy. But he knew Messiah was supposed to come and that He would bring good news to poor men like him and healing to broken men like him and deliverance to captives like him and freedom to prisoners like him. And he knew Jesus was that man.
That knowledge is what gave Bartimaeus faith to cry out, though many tried to silence him. That knowledge caused him to trust that Jesus could do something for him that no one else in the world ever could. That knowledge enabled him to believe that he could be changed and move forward into a different kind of life far better than the one he had known. Do we know Jesus for who He is? Does His name cause hope to rise within us because we know if He is near, He can make a difference in our lives? Has our knowledge of who Jesus is enabled us to cry out in faith to Him?
In the darkness of his blindness on a dusty street with a clamoring multitude passing by, Bartimaeus had the faith to cry out to Jesus and receive a precious gift. We have that same opportunity, whatever our current condition, to cry out to Jesus Christ and receive a great gift—salvation, deliverance, help, assurance, comfort, strength, wisdom, peace, whatever we need. His name inspires great hope when we understand exactly who Jesus is and what He came to do. So let us not be silent as He passes by, but ask Him for His mercy upon us.