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Jesus healing the blind man, by Eustache Le Sueur, 1625-1650.

Each of the three synoptic gospels tells of Jesus healing the blind near Jericho, as he passed through that town, shortly before his passion.

Mark 10:46-52 tells only of a man named Bartimaeus (literally "Son of Timaeus") being present, as Jesus left Jericho, making him one of the few named people to be miraculously cured by Jesus. Matthew 20:29-34 is a similar account of two blind men being healed outside of Jericho, but gives no names. Luke 18:35-43 also tells of two unnamed blind men, but seems to place the event instead as when Jesus approached Jericho.

These men together would be the second of two healings of blind men on Jesus' journey from the start of his travels from Bethsaida (in Mark 8:22-26) to Jerusalem, via Jericho.[1] It is possible, though not certain, that Bartimaeus heard about the first healing, and so knew of Jesus' reputation.[2]


Son of David

Paula Fredriksen, who believes that titles such as "Son of David" were applied to Jesus only after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, argued that Mark and Matthew placed that healing with the proclamation "Son of David!" just before "Jesus' departure for Jerusalem, the long-foreshadowed site of his sufferings."[3] The title "Son of David" is a messianiac name.[1][4] Thus, Bartimaeus' exclamation was, according to Mark, the first public acknowledgement of the Christ, after St. Peter's private confession at Mark 8:27–30.


The naming of Bartimaeus is unusual in several respects: (a) the fact that a name is given at all, (b) the strange Semitic-Greek hybrid, with (c) an explicit translation "Son of Thimaeus." Some scholars see this to confirm a reference to a historical person;[5] however, other scholars see a special significance of the story in the figurative reference to Plato's Thimaeus who delivers Plato's most important cosmological and theological treatise, involving sight as the foundation of knowledge. [6]

In the Acts of the Apostles, the name of Bartimaeus comes up again as a follower of "the Way", that is, an early follower of Jesus.[2]

According to Bruce Robison, an Episcopal priest, Bartimaeus can be compared favorably to the apostles and others in Mark's story; Bartimeaus is different from the others:

He first calls out as the party comes by, and when Jesus asks him what he wants he cuts right to the chase. No bargaining for position and status, like James and John. No trick legalistic questions, like the Pharisees. No playing to the crowd, like the Rich Young Man—who wanted to be sure that everybody knew, we’ll remember, that he had kept all the commandments since he was young. Bartimaeus isn’t trying to impress anybody, not seeking a gold star at the top of his spelling test. Not wanting to be the greatest in the coming Kingdom, or to sit at the right hand of Jesus in his glory.
The Rev. Bruce Robison[7]

By throwing his cloak away in 10:46-52, Bartimaeus gave up all he had to follow Jesus.[1][2][4]

Pope Benedict XVI has compared the whole church to the blind Bartimaeus.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Reflections: The blind Bartimaeus: Mark 10:46-52," October 24, 2009, The Manila Bulletin, citing365 Days with the Lord, (St. Paul's, Makati City, Philippines) from St. Paul's website, found at The Manila Bulletin website. Accessed October 28, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Phyllis Kersten, "What Bartimaeus wanted: Mark 10:46-52," Christian Century, October 20, 2009, found at Christian Century website. Accessed October 28, 2009.
  3. ^ Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ, p. 181.
  4. ^ a b Barrie Wetherill, "Jesus cures blind Bartimaeus," from The Life of Jesus Christ, found at easy English Bible study. Accessed October 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Taylor. The Gospel according to St. Mark.
  6. ^ Mary Ann Tolbert, Sowing the Gospel: Mark's World in Literary-Historical Perspective 1996, Fortress Press. p189.
  7. ^ Bruce Robison, "Sermon, Sunday, October 25, 2009, Twenty-First after Pentecost, 2009, on Mark 10: 46-52 (RCL Proper 25B)," found at The Rector's Page. Accessed October 28, 2009.
  8. ^ "Pontiff Urges African Church to Have Courage," October 25, 2009, from ZENIT's Web page, found at website. Accessed October 28, 2009.

See also


  • Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ (2000), ISBN 0-300-08457-9

External links



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