They 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.
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”
So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
Then 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.”
Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately Bartimaeus regained his sight and followed Jesus on the way.
You just heard the story told in Mark, chapter 10, of a blind man who was healed just outside of the City of Jericho. Blind Bartimaeus was not the first person to have been healed from visual impairment; but like all other accounts that make it into the stories of Jesus’ ministry, there’s something significant that we can learn from Bartimaeus.
One special aspect about Bartimaeus was his faith. Although he was an outcast, a beggar, a blind man – his faith withstood the test of time. The story of blind Bartimaeus is a testimony of one man’s determination to be healed. He refused to be silenced when others tried to shush him as he cried out to Jesus.
As Jesus walked through Jericho, Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by. Knowing he would not be able to make it through the press of people that surrounded Jesus, Bartimaeus called out to Jesus.
Though people tried to get him to be quiet, Bartimaeus was completely focused on Jesus. His cries got the attention of Jesus who asked for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him. When Bartimaeus realized that Jesus had stopped to talk to him, Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and went to Jesus.
He told Jesus his greatest desire: he wanted to see. Jesus spoke the word and Bartimaeus received his sight. His faith, Jesus said, had made Bartimaeus whole. Jesus didn’t have to touch Bartimaeus for him to receive his sight; scripture tells us that Bartimaeus’s faith was sufficient.
I have always loved how enthusiastically Bartimaeus called out to Jesus. He heard that Christ was nearby and he knew he had one chance to be healed. Being blind, Bartimaeus wouldn’t have been able to walk nimbly through the crowd, looking for Jesus. He had one resource and that was his voice. But people tried to silence him. Thank God Bartimaeus didn’t allow anyone to silence his voice.
When Bartimaeus called out to Jesus … Jesus stopped. That’s a pretty big deal. The Savior of the world stopped. Then Jesus waited. He waited for someone to tell Bartimaeus that he had been called. Jesus waited for the blind man to make his way to Him. He waited to hear Bartimaeus’ request. I love that Jesus stopped for a man that many other people wouldn’t have given the time of day.
Blind Bartimaeus’ story should be our story. We should be so desirous of Jesus that we chase after Him despite any obstacles that might be in our way.
And we should be encouraged by the example of Bartimaeus, that every time we have a need, that we bring our need directly to Jesus Himself, so He will hear it from our lips, from our hearts, from our soul to his soul.
What lesson from blind Bartimaeus will we implement in our life today?
For instance, I’ve been asking myself what I might be missing, or not seeing, or not considering? What are topics or things which I might be blind to?
And asking God to shed light where there is darkness in my life.
As always, let’s keep each other in prayer as we navigate through living our lives as modern day Christians.
Peace friends, chuck.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog