A different kind of reflection:
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
The roads are dusty. I see Bartimaeus, bare footed, dirty, bent over and wearing a long, frayed tunic holding out a tin cup. He begs with a pleading voice. “Please help me. Do you have any coins to spare. I need food.” There is a shame in his broken voice.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
With sharpened sense of smell and hearing, Bartimaeus is keenly aware of those around him though he cannot see. He hears through the mumbling of the crowd that Jesus – the Jesus – is approaching. A burst of courage rises from his chest. He stretches to stand more upright, and looks in the direction of the approaching Jesus. He bellows from the depths of his bosom, ” Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Quickly the surrounding crowd shame him, and tell him to hush. For a moment, he feels dejected and small.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Again something welled up inside of him and burst forth, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Silently, confidently, he waits for a response, turning his head in the direction of Jesus.
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
Jesus, compassionately turns in the direction of the blind man, and tells his friends to summon the man. Reassuringly, Jesus’ followers bring the man to the Savior.
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Filled with joy, Bartimaeus peeled off his heavy cloak that was weighing him don. Because Jesus has heard his cry and mercifully responded, the blind man had renewed energy – renewed hope! It felt so good to be recognized and treated like he mattered to someone!
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus knew what the blind man wanted, and yet he asked him what his deepest desire was. Why did Jesus do that? Is there something important about speaking one’s yearning? “Master, ( a title of profound respect) I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
Jesus restores Bartimaeus’ sight. Bartimaeus is filled with awe as his eyes begin to focus on the landscape and the people around him. The colors seem dazzling even though they are earthy, and the light from the sun is nearly overwhelming. The blind man is so grateful to Jesus that instead of going on his own way, as Jesus instructed him, he joined the large group that was traveling with Jesus to the southwest – to Jerusalem. In that very instant of physical healing, Bartimeaus became a devoted follower of Jesus. He received the gift of sight because of faith, and his faith received a huge boost – perhaps an even more precious gift!
How am I like Bartimaeus? What does the story of Bartimaeus teach me about faith? about prayer? about Jesus?