Allow me to introduce myself in the Aramaic fashion—I am Craig bar Raymond. I am proud of my father and want my name to always be associated with his, so I remember my heritage by telling people I am Craig son of Raymond.
If I wanted to be a little more formal I might introduce myself as Craig Bar Raymond Bar Colson, or even Craig Bar Raymond Bar Colson Bar Walker, to honor my forefathers back four generations.
People took great pride in their family heritage. They wanted to keep their connection to their family and their tribe intact and known to those around them. It’s how they kept their standing in their community.
That’s why it’s odd that Luke—the premier historian that he is—introduces us to a man he simply calls “a blind man” in the city of Jericho. Luke was always so precise in mentioning names throughout both his Gospel and the Book of Acts, and it appears that this man does have a name. In the Gospel of Mark he is called Bartimaeus, and presumably Luke used Mark as one of his source documents. So why would Luke omit this guy’s name?
Keep in mind that “bar” simply means “son of,” so although Mark calls him Bartimaeus, his name is really something like “_________ son of Timaeus.” Is that because he was born blind and his parents didn’t even name him? Or was he thought so little of that people couldn’t remember his first name? Maybe it’s because Timaeus means unclean, defiled, polluted. So this blind beggar is really just the Anonymous son of Filth!
This beggar is looking for alms in Jericho when he hears a commotion. He asks what is happening and is told, that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.
This man knows the reputation of Jesus, recalling that He has even opened blind eyes. Immediately he shouts, “Jesus, son of David have mercy on me!” Son of David is a title only used twice in the New Testament (also see Matthew 15:22), and both times by desperate people who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
Actually, his phrase is in the form of a command, so he really says, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me NOW!”
“Who do you think you are, you nameless beggar,” the townspeople rebuke him. “How dare you demand anything of anyone! Shut your mouth, you worthless piece of filth!”
Undeterred, this man now raises his voice to a shriek and repeats, “JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME NOW!”
This shriek gets Christ’s attention and He stops dead in His tracks. He commands that this man be brought to him.
Check out the confidence this blind man shows—he throws his cloak aside to get to Jesus. Why is that significant? Because he’s blind! If he can’t see, how is he going to find his cloak again? Who would ever want to help him?
Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He was testing him: did he want a hand-out? did he want revenge on the cruel people in Jericho? did he want to get back at his parents?
He specifically prays, “I want to see.” Jesus is moved by compassion (Matthew 20:34) and says, “Your faith has made you whole.” The blind man immediately is healed!
What was his faith that healed him? It was a loud, insistent, persistent, won’t-take-no-for-an answer, audacious request. The crowd said he was asking too much, but Jesus was moved to compassion by his insistence and boldness and answered his prayer.
That community may have forgotten that man’s name. Maybe the blind man had even forgotten his own name. But God hadn’t!
Jesus is moved by faith-filled, won’t-be-silenced cries for mercy. He wants to answer your specific requests. You aren’t an anonymous son or daughter of filth. You aren’t marginalized, worthless, or overlooked by your Heavenly Father.
God knows your name. He knows your need. He is passing by. Cry out to Him again and again and again! When He answers your prayer, you are made whole and our Heavenly Father is glorified.
Join me this Sunday as we continue to learn lessons for our prayer life from the bold pray-ers we find on the pages of the Bible.