Jesus asked similar intriguing questions in Matthew 9:28 and John 5:6: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Do you want to be made well?” As the omniscient One, He knew what they needed. However, He often questioned those desiring healing, prompting them to express their need and faith in words so that, in a fuller exercise of faith, they would be prepared to receive the desired blessing. His question, then, is intended to produce a dynamic exercise of faith in the men and to be a sign that He was willing to aid them.
When Bartimaeus answers Jesus, he addresses Him respectfully. In the King James Version, all three accounts indicate that he uses “Lord.” But in Mark, the word rendered “Lord” is different than those in Matthew and Luke: rabboni, correctly translated in the New King James Version, meaning “My great master.” Akin to “rabbi,” it is a higher and more respectful term. It is found only in Mark 10:51 and John 20:16, where Mary Magdalene uses it of Christ after His resurrection. We must honor the One from whom we seek aid.
Their earnest request is illuminating: “Lord, that our eyes may be opened” (Matthew 20:33). Unless we confess our need, showing our desire to have the need filled by Christ, He will take no action. The same is true in the matter of salvation: We must confess that we are a sinner if we expect to be forgiven and saved. The apostle John writes, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). No confession to God means no forgiveness and no salvation.
God's blessings, like this healing, are intended to improve our devotion to Him, but people often pervert their blessings to other uses. Many become distracted by them, leading to backsliding. We should instead follow the example of our Savior, who came, not to be served, but to serve.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing Blind Bartimaeus