Blind Bartimaeus sees what others do not

The Gospel reading of Mark 10:46-52 is the story of a blind man called Bartimaeus. Jesus meets him as he leaves Jericho on his way to Jerusalem.

Bartimaeus’ full-time occupation is begging, which, given that he is blind, is quite understandable. On hearing the noise of the crowd swelling as Jesus approached, he asks what’s going on. He is told that Jesus of Nazareth is approaching. But in spite of being blind, Bartimaeus ‘sees’ what the crowd do not. For Bartimaeus it is an opportunity not to be missed out on; he could get healed. He must have heard about Jesus and his miracles judging by his response. He begins to call out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd tell him to be silent. But he sees something the crowd have missed. Jesus is more than what they expect. He is the ‘Son of David’, the messiah/king. He will not be silenced by the crowd when he calls out. He calls, then he shouts out in desperation. Finally he gets the attention of Jesus and Jesus stops and calls to him.

Life as Bartimaeus has known it, is about to change completely, for ever. But what is his response when he is given his sight back? He follows Jesus along the road (10:52). He becomes a disciple, following Jesus to Jerusalem. What do we see when we look at Jesus? What is our expectation about him? Desperation and an ability to see the opportunity Jesus offered led Bartimaeus to seek Jesus wholeheartedly for healing. What is preventing you to respond like Bartimaeus ‘. . . to call upon the Lord while he is near’?

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