I want to see!!!
October 31, 2018, 4:00 PM

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight. But, what is it Bartimaeus wants to see? And, what is it that Christ wants to reveal?

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52)

This passage occurs as Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem with the disciples and many followers in tow. Jerusalem is where Jesus will be met with shouts of joy, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Within the next week, Jesus is tried, crucified, buried, and resurrected.

Bartimaeus is a blind beggar sitting on this roadway as this group approaches Jericho. Bartimaeus is considered unclean, and may have even smelled, not fit to even touch. He is outcast to the edge of the city, the fringe of society, with his only personal possession in the world, a cloak. Oh, and his cloak. The only thing between him and the ground he sits on. Likely the item he covers with on cold nights and collects the messily handouts of those who pass by each day. Maybe to cover his face to hid embarrassment. The only thing of value to his life.

Grace, prevenient Grace, has been working on the heart of Bartimaeus. He has heard of this “Jesus” and is been drawn to him as “Savior.” We know this from his plea. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus acknowledges the Kingship of Jesus and know Jesus’ mercy is available, even to him. Those with Jesus rebuked Bartimaeus and told him to be quiet. This only prompts Bartimaeus to call out to his King and Savior even louder.

Here is where this story takes a first interesting turn. Jesus could have easily approach Bartimaeus and restored his sight. But, he doesn’t. Jesus instructs the same people, rebuking and silencing Bartimaeus, to bring this blind, dirty, smelly, untouchable, beggar to him. Bartimaeus, throws away his ONLY possession, his cloak. What an act of “blind” faith. Being blind, Bartimaeus will likely never find his only possession once tossed aside. Bartimaeus “comes to” Jesus, his King and Savior, to begin a very personal relationship. Grace, Justifying Grace.

“Rabbi, I want to see.” What does Bartimaeus want to see? Does he want to physically see the world and people around him. Or, see “experience” life as part of a larger society of acceptance. Not this blind, dirty, smelly, untouchable, beggar. Bartimaeus wants to physically see his King and Savior. He wants to see “experience” a relationship with Jesus. A minute ago, this man was a cast out to the edge of society begging for his life. Now, he is welcomed as an equal, to walk with the giver of life.

This is where the passage ends. This is not where this story ends. Bartimaeus continues to walk the road with, see, and experience Jesus. The road to Jerusalem, the shouts of joy, the trial, the crucifixion, the death, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus, “The Christ.” Grace, sanctifying Grace.

What did Jesus want to reveal to Bartimaeus? Salvation through the resurrection. Now that is a sight to be received by a blind person.

It doesn’t take much to place ourselves into the story of Bartimaeus. Sometimes we are following Jesus on the road while shouting to silence those around us in most need. Sometimes are called to help to bring those same people to the saving grace of Jesus. Even when we are the ones shouting the loudest. Sometimes we find ourselves as Bartimaeus. Dirty, smelly, desperate and blind to any form of restoration. It also doesn’t take much to realize, at least through this story, Grace is available to all. This is the example Jesus provides. Everyone in this passage continues the journey with Jesus. The journey to Jerusalem, the shouts of joy, the hostility of the trial, the pain of the crucifixion, and the salvation, available to all, through the resurrection.

May Gods PEACE and GRACE always be with each of you.

Pastor Eddie Pennington

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