46 Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” 48 Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”
They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.
51 Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.”
52 Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way (Mark 10:46-52, Common English Bible).
I am not sure exactly why, but I have always liked the character Bartimaeus. Perhaps it is because even when all those who just hung around Jesus all the time told him to be quiet and not trouble Jesus. Jesus didn’t have time for the likes of Bartimaeus and all his noise. Still, Bartimaeus remained persistent. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer, especially from someone that was neither Jesus or one of the twelve. He knew, if ever he was to have sight, it would come from getting Jesus’ attention, regardless of what others might have tried to tell him. He knew if he was to be healed by Jesus, he had to get answer from the only person in the room as it were, who really had a say, and that was Jesus.
Maybe I am drawn to Bartimaeus because, in Mark’s way of telling this great story, he makes Bartimaeus direct and to the point in what he asks of Jesus. Bart wants Jesus to heal him. Jesus asks what he wants Jesus to do and Bartimaeus simply tells Jesus, “I want to see.” There is no beating around the bush. There is no messing around. Bartimaeus is direct and to the point. “What do you want?” then “I want to see.”
Then again, Bartimaeus was fully aware of who it would take to get his sight back. Jacob the cobbler or Aaron the tailor or Thaddeus the butcher weren’t going to get this job done. It isn’t that any of those guys weren’t good people. It isn’t that they didn’t try. They did, over and over again, but they weren’t Jesus.
Another reason I may like this character so much is, when he received his sight, he didn’t go out and celebrate. He didn’t go show his family or friends. Bartimaeus followed Jesus “…on the way.” Bartimaeus was interested in what Jesus would do.
Those are all lessons for us too. As people of faith, we know where we need to go to find help in our lives. We may find some help from our buddy down the street, particularly if we sweeten the deal buy springing for the pizza. But most of us don’t have M.D. behind our names. And, it is important that we share what we have and what we can with a hurting world. But we pray and we labor to make a difference. We don’t heal because that is God’s job. That doesn’t mean don’t go to the doctor when we are sick or to an opthalmologist when we are dealing with physical blindness (blindness can sometimes be corrected by the medicine of today. It just means, before we do anything else, we go to God and we go regardless of what others might say.
When we are in need, no matter what others may say we need to be people who are persistent in going to God. The world would have us remain the same, unchanged. And, without God leading our lives, we remain spiritually blind to the needs of others in the world around us.
We also need to go and visit the One we need to find healing and wholeness. I have heard some doctor’s say, “I treat the illness, God does the healing.”
Then, not only when we are finished, when we are healed, when we can see, but also every step along the way, we follow Jesus on the Way. To follow Him always, that is our call.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Pondering with DrB
Perritte Memorial United Methodist Church
Spirit’s Breath Ministries