PREPARE TO LISTEN. Be still for as long as you need, then pray: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
The healing of blind Bartimaeus is the last healing in Mark’s Gospel. It concludes a section of active healings and rapid movement from one town to another. It takes place on the final leg of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, a journey that began with the healing of another blind man (8:22ff). Jericho was about 24 kilometres (15 miles) from Jerusalem and a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to the temple in Jerusalem. The road between the two cities was a popular one for beggars who hoped that pilgrims would be in the right mood (a generous one) and have the means to give.
READ: Mark 10:46-52 ‘Let me see again’
46They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Bartimaeus is a paradigm of true discipleship and contrasts sharply with the ‘partially blind’ disciples of Jesus. He is the only person to name Jesus, ‘Son of David,’ a term designating political aspirations and would have some falsely thinking about Jesus’ ultimate overthrow of the Roman occupiers. Which is perhaps the reason why the crowds and disciples tried to shut Bartimaeus up. However, there is no indication that Bartimaeus was thinking that. He just wanted to be healed and exercised great faith in Jesus, despite the fact he’d most likely never met Jesus before. He knew of him only second-hand. But he believed Jesus could restore his sight because that’s what the Son of David should do. His belief is evidenced in his willingness to throw off his cloak and go to Jesus without reserve or hesitation. A beggar’s cloak was a necessary item to earn a livelihood, spread before them to catch the coins tossed by pilgrims, and to keep them warm at night. Throwing it off and leaving it at the roadside is indicative of Bartimaeus’ faith in Jesus’ power to heal him and restore him to normal society (not the begging community).
When he finally stood before Jesus, despite the opposition of the crowd and probably also the disciples, he was confident in his response to Jesus’ question. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Isn’t this the prayer we all need to pray?
What do you want Jesus to do for you?
RESPOND TO JESUS IN PRAYER
Lord, let me see again. Amen.
GO AND LIVE IN OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST, who gives us sight.