Have you heard the story of Blind Bartimaeus? It’s found in the Gospel of Mark. You can read it in your bible (and I’ll attach the passage at the bottom of this Simple Sabbath post.)
Here is a story where Jesus leads us to understand real meaning. The symbolic and spiritual Truth of our existence is in this story. Okay, let’s state the obvious—the blind man here is a symbol of the inability to take in spiritual vision. There is an incapacity to see the Big Picture.
The Great Virtue: Bartimaeus is a beggar. He realizes his plight; he knows his need, as opposed to the spiritual pauper who actually thinks he/she can see just fine. But if you don’t see God’s Truth, you don’t see reality.
In his need, he cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Lord have mercy.
Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus for help with the thing that most hinders him—he asks to see.
Jesus is about to leave Jericho, which is in many ways a “low place,” and about to ascend to Jerusalem, the City of Grace; it is the rightly ordered city on a hill.
We would expect Bartimaeus to say, “Take me with you,” as Jesus walks by. We would expect Bartimaeus to want to leave the city and go up into Jerusalem with the great Rabbi Jesus. And we see that later in the story, Bartimaeus does indeed leave this old city and follow Jesus into Jerusalem.
But Bartimaeus knows that in order to follow Jesus, he must first have right vision. He asks Jesus to help him see.
Hey, they admonished him, keep your mouth shut, you’re embarrassing yourself.
This is a picture of human tendency to show strength, not weakness.
But, the spiritual life begins with the attitude of a beggar.
Jesus summons him from the crowd to join Him. He calls the blind man OUT of the complacency ofJericho. Bartimaeus is called to leave his former way and throw away his old cloak. And as he steps toward the true Light, he is given new sight.
The church, like Bartimaeus, is a group of spiritual beggars who are called to walk in the company of Jesus.
You can accumulate loads of worldly possessions. You can be wealthy, famous, the boss, the big kid on the block. But if you don’t see the Way you are just a blind person who is lost in a world of darkness.
The blind man asks Jesus for help. What did he want?
Teacher, I want to see!
That is a great daily prayer.
Lord have mercy.
Help me to see.
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.