When I was a kid, I was the queen of ridiculous Halloween costumes. When I was in the fifth grade I decided that I would dress as a Christmas present and I took a huge box from our basement and wrapped it in holiday gift wrap and stuck a big bow right on the top. I put it over my head and that was my costume. Now, I didn't really think that through because even though I cut small slit across the front - I could barely see anything at all. When we were out trick or treating - I had to rely on my brother and my friends to help me get around and hope that they were steering me in the right directions.
When I could not see - I did discover that I could figure our where I was and what was going on around me by really paying attention to the sounds, and smells, and how far we had walked. If I really listened - I could tell which house we were getting candy from by the sounds of their doorbell, or a barking dog, or feeling how many steps we had to climb to get to the door.
In our Gospel story today this week we learn about man named Bartimaeus- who, even though he was blind, knew Jesus was near.
Jesus and the disciples had just walked through Jericho which is about 20 miles way from Jerusalem. And like many other times there was a crowd following them.
Bartimaeus, described in the Bible as a beggar, sat by the side of the road and I am guessing that he heard all of the noise. He couldn’t see Jesus, or his disciples, or the crowd following him. But somehow he knew that it was Jesus that was passing by. Maybe be could hear people in the crowd talking about how Jesus could heal and teach. Somehow this blind man recognized that Jesus had a power that the people had never seen before.
Bartimaeus called out to Jesus. He said “Jesus, the son of David, have mercy on me.”
And some people in the crowd told him to stop shouting.
But he called out to Jesus even louder—and when Jesus heard him he stopped and said, “ Bring that man to me.”
The Bible says that Bartimaeus jumped up, threw down his cloak, and went to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do?” said Jesus.
“Teacher, I want to see you.” said Bartimaeus.
“You are healed.” Jesus said.
Bartimaeus could see. And he followed Jesus on the road to Jerusalem.
Here is what I am thinking about this week:
- Bartimaeus despite being blind, was paying close attention to his surroundings and knew Jesus was near. What things can we do this week to better use our other senses, our ears, our sense of smell, and our sense of touch to open ourselves up to see how God is working in our daily lives?
- Bartimaeus was persistent. Despite being told to stop shouting, he kept calling out to Jesus and asking for mercy. In fact, the passage says he when he calls out to Jesus the second time it's even louder than the first. What kinds of things are you praying about or want to change in the world that could use a louder - and more persistent voice?
- When Jesus calls to him Bartimaeus throws off his cloak. The cloak was probably his only possession. After his sight is restored, the scripture says he follows Jesus to Jerusalem. Maybe the act of him throwing off his cloak shows that he is ready and willing to leave his former life behind and follow Jesus. Maybe that cloak represents for us today something that keeps us comfortable. What in our lives is keeping us too comfortable and preventing us from loving God and our neighbors?