Following Jesus = Leaving Behind = Suffering

One detail mentioned about Bartimaeus is more significant than it appears at first. When Bartimaeus jumped up to come to Jesus, he left behind his mantle or coat. Every time that Mark showed someone following Jesus, he pointed out that something was left behind for that person to go with Jesus. Simon and Andrew abandoned their nets (Mark 1:18). James and John left their father with the hired servants in the boat (1:20). Levi walked away from his tax office (2:14). Jesus commanded the rich man to sell all his possessions and give to the poor in order to follow (10:21). Peter pointed out that the disciples had left everything to be with Jesus (10:28). In a similar way, Bartimaeus left behind what he had in order to come to Jesus.

Some interpreters have suggested that it was the custom at that time for beggars to spread out a coat beside the road, so that those who passed by could lay alms on it. Like the fishermen and the tax-collector, Bartimaeus probably left behind his occupation and his means of support in order to follow Jesus.

The last detail that we learn about Bartimaeus from Mark’s Gospel is that he followed Jesus in the way. The word “follow” is often used metaphorically in Mark’s Gospel to indicate that someone has taken on a personal allegiance to Jesus (Mark 1:18; 2:14, 15; 8:34; 10:21, 28, 32; 15:41). After his healing, Bartimaeus accepted Jesus as his master and his Lord; he began to live like a disciple of Jesus. The word “way” is used in Mark’s Gospel to describe Jesus’ journey to his suffering and death on the cross (8:27; 9:33, 34; 10:17, 32, 46; 11:8). The reference to Jesus’ way in this context is a reminder that those who follow Jesus must be prepared to face suffering and difficulty. Jesus taught that those who come after Him must deny themselves and take up their cross, so that they might be ready to lose their lives for His sake (8:34-35).

(Taken from Bartimaeus)

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