Archive for the 'BARTIMAEUS' Category

BARTIMAEUS

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Occasionally a passage of scripture bursts through the narrow confines of what can be a mechanical rereading of often read passages. Recently, for me, the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar in the gospel of Mark was one of these events.

Jesus was starting out from Jericho for what was to be His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He was flanked by His disciples and was also attracting a great multitude and the whole spectacle was passing Bartimaeus as he sat begging by the road.

How long had he been blind? It doesn't say, but obviously a long time. Here was his one opportunity. He had nothing to look forward to, in this world, but a life of begging – a wretched, heartless, difficult lonely future. But here was the Christ!

Calling out with all of his strength Bartimaeus cries, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” All of the crowd, intent on the circus of the sight of Christ, had no time for a blind beggar and tried to shut him up. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David have mercy on me.”

Jesus seeing what was happening stops and calls him to Him. The crowd, who up until this time had no thought, or pity, for this blind man, suddenly changes its tune, “Take courage” they say “He is calling you.”

Bartimaeus jumps to his feet and comes to Jesus. Jesus says “What do you want Me to do for you?” Bartimaeus responds, “Rabboni I want to regain my sight.”

Everything in his heart was in those words. How long had he dwelt in darkness? What pain of soul was he struggling with? What emptiness had filled his life up until this point, and how difficult was it for him to hope for that which he asked? Especially when the whole world was seeking to silence him!

And Jesus, who Himself was full of the knowledge of the trials which He faced ahead in Jerusalem, looked with pity on Bartimaeus. “Go your way, your faith has made you well.”

And the man who had suffered so long in blindness, who had weathered many a season in solitary darkness, suddenly had received a blessing beyond measure. All of the years of pain, all the tears, the indignity of begging, the nothingness of existence, was transformed in the blink of an eye. The wonder, the joy, the glory of it all though, paled into insignificance as he opened his eyes for the first time and beheld the image of the glory of the Son of Man. Jesus the Messiah, the one man on earth able to help him.

This then is the miracle of the story. Bartimaeus did not just regain his sight, he beheld the One whose love could make him whole, complete, perfect. And also, it says to me, that no matter how dark, how lonely, how desperate you might feel, keep hoping, keep asking, keep seeking, even if the world closes in against you, and in the end you will receive far more gloriously than any pain and confusion you have thus far felt.