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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 10:46–52   

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. (NRSV)

If we don’t know what someone means, we might say we can’t see what they are saying.

Before this moment in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is seen curing this kind of blindness. Religious elites are shown the meaning of marriage, the rich are shown real treasure, and the disciples are shown that the Kingdom belongs to the childlike. Then here, with Bartimaeus, Jesus shows how.

Each time the adults, the accomplished, the authorities, are confident of their vision. Jewish leaders know precisely what Moses said about divorce. They quote it for Jesus. A rich man assures Jesus he had kept the commandments his whole life. The disciples know to stop children from touching Jesus. None, however, see God’s meaning. Bartimaeus is different. The blind beggar has nothing and can’t see a thing, but he knows Jesus is his teacher and the Messiah. He calls out the truth and his blindness disappears. But how? Was he just lucky a miracle worker had walked by? Jesus tells Baritmaeus what it all means: “Your faith has made you well.”

There is an enigmatic song lyric that captures the surprising clarity of Bartimaeus’ story: “Comes a time when the blind man takes your hand, says, ‘Don’t you see?’”

Lord, take my hand. Make my faith strong. Let me see again. Amen.

Written by Andy McGaan, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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