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. 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. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 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 told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
FROM THE WAYSIDE TO JESUS’ SIDE. For Jesus’ disciples and the bystanders, Bartimaeus is a nuisance. As he calls out to Jesus, they berate him and command him to keep quiet. For the disciples, Jesus is not to be inconvenienced by the desperate needs of a poor blind man. However, no one is too insignificant to Jesus. He stops on his tracks and commands Bartimaeus to come to him. Only then do the disciples, embarrassed by Jesus’ compassion for the blind man, assist and bring him to the Lord.
On his last journey to Jerusalem, Jesus passes through the city of Jericho. He may perhaps be lost in his thoughts about his imminent death that not even his disciples can foresee or comprehend. But then he notices Bartimaeus. In the face of death, Jesus, who will later be scorned and scourged, remains attentive to people in need. Jesus sets aside thoughts about his death and attends to a man scorned by everyone else.
Having heard of the miracles Jesus performed, Bartimaeus, desperate for a cure, excitedly calls out to Jesus, “Son of David.” No one else in Mark’s Gospel addresses Jesus with this royal title. For Bartimaeus, Jesus is not merely a rabbi, a prophet, or a miracle worker. He is the Messiah, God’s anointed who will redeem Israel from her sufferings and misfortunes. Ironically, though blind, Bartimaeus sees the true identity of Jesus, which his disciples do not yet grasp.
Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus responds, “Master, I want to see,” declaring his faith in Jesus as the Son of David, the Christos or Messiah, who has power and authority to reverse infirmity and confer God’s mercy. By his faith he is healed. He does not mind being ridiculed by the crowds, as long as he is able to profess his faith in Jesus. Totally confident in Jesus, he surrenders himself, his woes and hopes to the Lord.
Many of us may have freely placed our faith and trust in the Lord. And indeed, like the Psalmist, with conviction we declare, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy” (Ps 126:3). Often indeed the Lord has granted our prayers and petitions. On the other hand, despite placing our faith in Jesus and making known to him our desperate needs, how often have our cries been seemingly unheeded by the Lord?
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.