Mark 10:46–52 (NRSV) The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus
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. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.
Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Deuteronomy 7:7–11 (NRSV)
It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and who repays in their own person those who reject him. He does not delay but repays in their own person those who reject him.
Therefore, observe diligently the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that I am commanding you today.
One of the first things that someone does when diagnosed with some type of affliction is to gather information about it: symptoms, treatments, side effects, and coping. We want to connect with those who have experience in order to better prepare and respond to what will be a shared experience – “people like me” – a community. A community of support, hope, and comfort.
How did a blind beggar 2000+ years ago gather information to find community? By faith. By finding the connection through word and sound. As Jesus was heading to Jerusalem from Jericho, there must have been many in the group with Jesus, with others calling out to get Jesus’ attention. Hearing the group, using his voice, Bartimaeus called out, “Jesus, son of David…” and
a connection was made, uniquely, with Jesus. They each were sons of David, just at different levels. He left his belongings at the roadside, made his way to Jesus, “What do you want me to do for you?” “My teacher, let me see again.” Another connection, a confirmation of faith “Go…”, but he didn’t “go” elsewhere, he joined the community – the group – to Jerusalem. A community of support, hope, comfort… and faith.
Restoring Bartimaeus sight was Jesus’ last miracle, creating acceptance into a community that had just rejected him, fulfilling a covenant with God (Deuteronomy 7:9–10). Let us each be a source of acceptance, support, hope, and comfort to those who, at first, we do not see as people like me. There, but for the Amazing Grace of God, go I. I was blind, but now I see. *
O God and Heavenly Father, please let me see your path as my path to follow, with faith, the capacity to support, comfort, and provide hope to those whom I have not seen, heard, or welcomed. Amen.
* YouTube Video of Amazing Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1m6tWHCO5s