Read the parallel accounts at Matthew 20:29-34 and Luke 18:35-42.
Hendriksen: This account has proved to be a feast for harmonizers on the one hand and for detractors on the other.
True. Negative critics, at this point, have tried their best to prove that the Gospels are not reliable and true history. On the other hand, a number of explanations have been offered by those who truly believe that the Gospel give us true and precise history.
Farrar and Ylvisaker: There are two Jerichos, ancient and modern. Mark records a healing when Jesus was leaving the former, Luke records one when He was entering the latter. Matthew combines both;
All of these explanations make good sense but do not be dogmatic about one to the exclusion of the others.
Hendriksen: All solutions are open to objections . . . . The best answer is that there is indeed a solution, for this Scripture too is inspired. However, we do not have the solution.
That is a remarkable statement. He leaves the solution to God.
A large crowd was following Jesus and His disciples.
Bengel: Timaeus seems to have been a man well-known at that time at Jericho, and Bartimaeus seems to have been a beggar only by reason of his blindness.
Jesus must commonly have been known as the Nazarene. It is not used in a derogatory way here. And surely Bartimaeus must have known about Jesus. He was a believer. "He began to shout" is "he continued to cry by saying."
It is significant that all three Synoptics indicate that he said twice: "Son of David, have mercy on me." He truly regarded Him as the Messiah.
Hendricksen: On the basis of Mark 11:9-10 and 12:35-37 it is clear that during Christ's ministry on earth 'Son of David' and 'Messiah' had become synonyms. Otherwise how can one satisfactorily explain the indignation of the chief priests and the scribes when the children were honoring Jesus with the title 'Son of David' (Matthew 21:15-16)?
"Have mercy" means to have compassion on those who are miserable. By the way, the Kyrie in the Common Order of Worship is based on this passage. Every Sunday the Church comes to Jesus with the same plea as is found here. Think on that.
"Rebuke" is a very strong word. NASB: "Many were sternly telling him to be quiet." According to Matthew and Luke the "many" does not include the disciples. The disciples had made progress since Mark 9:13-14. We do not know why the crowd tried to quiet Bartimaeus. But it is clear that it is often difficult to understand the attitudes of those who follow Jesus. That includes us too. But the more they prohibited, the more Bartimaeus continued to cry the same as before. That surely denotes faith.
This verse reminds us of Psalm 50:15. When the believer cries to Jesus, He stops and answers. The verbs here denote urgency. It is truly remarkable that those who had just sternly prohibited now enthusiastically comply with what Jesus says. They were not His enemies. Note what Luke 19:43 says of them.
This is the last example of Jesus' healing ministry in Mark and it occurred under favorable circumstances. The words of the crowd anticipate that Jesus will help.
Bartimaeus immediately did three things: cast his outer garment aside, jumped up, came to Jesus.
Jesus is responding to Bartimaeus' compliance. Ordinarily a beggar would have asked for money. Though Jesus knows what Bartimaeus needs most, He wants Bartimaeus to say it. Again look at Psalm 50:15. Though God knows our needs, He wants us to call upon Him. That's why we repeat the Lord's Prayer daily. Also our table prayers.
"Rabbi" is much more than "Rabbi." Matthew and Luke have "Lord." It is the language of faith.
Compare the parallels here: Matthew tells us that Jesus, with compassion, touched Bartimaeus' eyes and immediately he regained sight. Luke tells us that Jesus said: "See again. Your faith has saved you." And then the man followed Jesus, praising God. And the whole crowd, when they had witnessed this, gave praise to God. All three Synoptics mention that the cure was immediate. Jesus' Word performed it and faith received it. Faith is a work of God in man, John 6:29, a gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. And God commends faith, His own work. Like parents who give their little children money to buy gifts for the parents. And then the parents commend the children for what was really theirs in the first place.
The distance from Jericho to Jerusalem is about fifteen miles. And Jerusalem is about 3,300 feet higher in altitude than Jericho. One can well imagine the topic of conversation among the disciples, Bartimaeus and the crowd on this final journey to Jerusalem just before Holy Week.
If, in a given year, there are only twenty-four Sundays after Trinity (twenty-five after Pentecost), for the next Sunday preach on the text for Pentecost XXVII, an eschatological text, and for the final Sunday, Pentecost Last, preach on Christ the King.