This is a lenten reflection I wrote for Park Avenue Christian Church’s Lenten Series and I wanted to share it with all of you in the hopes that you receive some encouragement from it, be blessed!
Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 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. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus was desperate for healing, so he boldly called out for what he needed though he was rebuked for doing so. Bartimaues’ neighbors probably found his display of desperation embarrassing and unsettling. Many times in our communities we allow ourselves and others to suffer in silence, but in this passage, God shows us that he is not unsettled by our cries, but will respond to them.
Usually when we are stricken with disease, disability, financial hardship or grief instead of calling out to our neighbor or God we hold everything in, choosing silence over the possibility of being rebuked for our pain.Instead of rebuking Bartimaeus, Jesus responds to his cries by asking him what he wants and healing him. This short passage can teach us a great deal about how to handle suffering in our own lives and the lives of those in our community. God never meant for us to suffer alone and Jesus’ response to Bartimaeus shows this. Instead of silencing those in our communities who are crying out for comfort, healing or justice, we should encourage them to respond to the call of Jesus.What I love about Jesus’ actions in this story is that though it was probably clear that Bartimaeus was blind, Jesus does not automatically decide that healing from blindness was what he needed. Instead, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” By asking Bartimaeus what he wanted Jesus is giving him the agency to make a decision for himself about his healing. Too often in our society people who need assistance are not given this kind of agency. Jesus goes against the grain of what was expected. Bartimaeus shows all of us that we can exuberantly let our request be made known to God because he hears our cries and will respond to them.
God our healer, the one who hears our loud and silent cries, please help us to boldly come to your throne of grace in every time of need. Help us to be a community that allows those in pain to be transparent, help us to encourage our brothers and sisters with the knowledge that even in their pain you are calling them to come and commune with you. In Jesus name, Amen.
Have a blessed and reflective lent!