In Mark 10:46-52, the blind man Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus. Jesus sends disciples to call the blind man over to him. “Take courage,” they tell him. “Get up. He is calling you.”
Bartimaeus is called to follow Christ, as are we. Bartimaeus then exemplifies three types of courage needed to follow our Lord.
First, in verse 50, the blind man “threw aside his cloak.” He did not lay down his cloak; he threw it aside, an especially active verb. As a poor man, that cloak was his most valued possession, perhaps his only possession. Yet when the Lord called him, he immediately threw it away without pause. Bartimaeus has the courage to let go—even throw away—his attachment to worldly things that get in the way. Wealth, social status, accomplishments. These are all attachment that could hold us back from running to the Lord when He calls. Do we have the courage to let go of the things of this world and cling only to God?
Next, Bartimaeus “sprang up.” Again, a very active verb. He does not merely stand up; he springs up. Bartimaeus is a poor, blind man whom society devalues. Jesus is the “son of David” (verse 28), i.e. the king of Israel. What concern would the king of Israel—and even the king of the universe—have for a poor man like Bartimaeus? Yet Bartimaeus has the courage to believe that Christ does care for him personally, that Christ loves him personally. Do we have the courage to believe that Christ—God—has a special love for us individually, that He has a plan for each of us individually, which only we can accomplish?
Finally, Christ asks Bartimaeus what he wants. The expected response is food or money. Instead, Bartimaeus says, “I want to see” (verse 51). He has the courage to make an outrageous, audacious request. Bartimaeus asks to be changed to his very core. Mark calls him “the blind man.” When he receives sight, he will become a different man, transformed by Christ. Do we have the courage to ask to be completely transformed into a new, holy being dedicated entirely to God?
The courage to detach from earthly things; the courage to believe that God loves us individually; the courage to ask Him to do with us whatever He pleases. Each of these types of courage is needed in order to follow Christ. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a coward. The first thing I will ask for from the Lord is that He give me the courage I need for each of those things. Even that courage is a gift from Him.