46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.
I love Bartimaeus and have gained insight from his persistence in his call to Jesus. Yet, I often wonder if most people who use the prayer understand its implications. The story itself has many layers. The blind Bartimaeus had a strength we often do not have.
First, the story takes place after Jesus has made his 3rd prediction of his coming death and has turned toward Jerusalem. As Jesus and the disciples leave Jericho Bartimaeus calls until Jesus acknowledges him from there the real meat of the story happens. Bart is calling at a critical time as Jesus is now focused on what will happen in Jerusalem. Yet, Jesus stops and answers Bart’s call. I am reminded of all the times I have called on Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and wonder if I too have made my petition at an inopportune time. It is a grace that Jesus responds to Bart. This gives me hope.
Second, Jesus doesn’t just heal him rather, Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants from Him. Bart must articulate, say out loud, he wants to see. Bart must not only admit his need he must believe in the words Jesus will speak. It is in Bart’s belief in Jesus that he is made to see. He sees not just the world around him but the truth of what he sees. It has always been hard for me to speak my needs. I am always afraid I will be ridiculed or told that what I need is not important. I admit that my belief hasn’t always been as strong as Bart’s was that day in Jericho. Opening my heart and soul to my Creator has not been easy. But, I am a work in progress and I do believe the Holy Spirit is patient with me.
But there is one more piece that is often lost, Bart follows Jesus. Does he follow Him all the way to the end and the resurrection, we don’t know? But in the question and answer of the story, and the following the path that the story takes real meaning. We can ask for mercy, but what do we really want from Jesus. Bart followed Jesus on a difficult path, a road that led to Crucifixion, and yes, resurrection. But also, much pain and suffering. We don’t know if Bart stayed the course. I would like to think he did. But it gives me pause to think when I offer this prayer, what will I do when I am offered the opportunity to see.
Ruth Jewell, ©February 27, 2020
Photo: unknown, (this was sent to me as is, if you know the author please let me know)