1. Mark 10:50 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does Bartimaeus throw off his cloak as he gets up and goes to Jesus?

Mark 10:50 (ESV)

50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

Yes, while some explain this action with respect to the haste he now makes (refers to 2 Kings 7:15)1, it must be said that a blind man could not have been able to walk fast, and in any event Jesus was waiting for him. The cloak is a sign of human dignity. The demon-possessed man in the country of the Gerasenes lacked it (Luke 8:27). This garment was torn as a sign of mourning. As a suppliant Bartimaeus throws it off altogether: without any dignity of his own, only in his undergarment, he appears before Jesus. The way he presents himself shows that he is serious: Have mercy on me, son of David!

Because Jesus establishes, so to say, a first Station on the way of the cross when leaving Jericho, all emphasis falls on the call of the beggar. But it is not the address son of David by itself that demands attention here: soon thousands will call him that (Matthew 21:9, Matthew 21:15). It is the combination of this acknowledgement with a supplication of a penitent: that causes Jesus to stand still. That he calls faith. The crowds will indeed call Hosannah, but not Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy). And the people on the Mount of Olives do take off their cloaks to spread them on the road before the donkey, but this does not yet mean that in their undergarments they come to stand before Jesus as suppliants.

In Mark the story of Bartimaeus follows immediately upon Jesus’ words of giving his life as a ransom for many. Bartimaeus shares in this redemption because that is also the object of his prayer.2,3