Refusing to Shrink Back


“I’m fine.” Is that your standard answer when someone asks how you are, no matter what is really going on? Our culture somewhat conditions us to put on a happy face, doesn’t it? In today’s passage, Bartimaeus wasn’t so fine. He was blind. He knew he had a real need, and he called to Jesus in that need. Watch for the reaction of those around him when he refused to shrink back and say, “I’m fine.”

  • Do you ever tend to shrink back from acknowledging a need and asking for help? Why?


46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Names are important. Did you notice that this was the first time a name was mentioned of someone whom Jesus healed? What two names were given for him? What names did Bartimaeus call Jesus?
  2. Describe everything you learn about Bartimaeus from the passage. Did he let his condition keep him from approaching Jesus?
  3. How did those around him react to his calling out to Jesus? Why do you think they reacted that way? How did Bartimaeus respond?
  4. When Jesus called for Bartimaeus, how did he respond (vs. 50)? What changes would you have to make to start responding to Jesus with this same attitude?


Bartimaeus realized his great need for mercy, and he had the courage to admit it and call to Jesus even when the crowd told him to be quiet. Jesus was surrounded by a crowd, yet he heard one man’s cry for mercy. He is such a personal, compassionate God that he hears the softest cry, the simplest plea for mercy.  

  • Tell Jesus about those areas in your life where you need the courage to admit your need for help. Ask him for help, and thank him that he will hear you and will respond with compassion.
  • Ask him to give you the courage to be transparent and open with others and then to respond to others with the same compassion that Jesus does to you.