Jesus was making his way towards Jerusalem where he would enter in triumph on a donkey. His journey led him through Jericho. As he was leaving this city he had the following encounter with a blind man named Bartimaeus.
Read Mark Ch. 10 v 46 - 52 along with the following reflection.
The day began as many days had begun for as long as I could remember. After a simple breakfast, I put on my shabby outer cloak and left my home. With the help of others I found a place at the roadside, I sat down and began with my opening line.
“Have mercy on me” I called.
Begging had been part of my life for a long time. On a good day I would be given some food or money. On a bad day, time would stretch endlessly before me, I would be ignored or even shouted at by those who thought me an offense or an intrusion. My life didn’t hold much excitement, but I had a routine, I was used to it by now and for me there were no alternatives.
However, this particular day was different. Crowds of people were milling round and I was hopeful that they might be feeling generous.
I heard someone mention Jesus; apparently he was with a group travelling towards Jerusalem.
Now I’d heard a lot about Jesus; many people were talking ab
out him. As a beggar I often became part of the scenery. People would stand nearby and hold their private conversations; maybe they thought I was deaf, too. There was much excitement; Jesus had been doing miracles, healing people. There was also a lot of speculation about exactly who he was.
As I sat listening, I suddenly became engaged with what was going on, I realised that this was my chance; maybe he could help me. I called out, addressing him by a title I’d heard others use.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Then, as loudly as I could,
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! ”
Everything seemed to happen at once. People around me calling out, nudging me and pulling me to my feet.
“He’s calling you, quick! This way. Go to him! ” they shouted.
I felt disorientated as I staggered towards him; bumping into people, treading on toes, trying to work out where he was.
A hush came over the crowd and I realised that I must be standing in front of him. I waited, not knowing quite what to do or say. Then he asked me a question.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
I hadn’t expected this. I was being given a choice, something I wasn’t used to. The implications of my decision dawned on me. I could stay with the familiar life of darkness and dependence, or, I would have to learn to live again, no hiding behind my blindness. I would no longer be an object of pity, but would be expected to work and provide for my family. Deep inside, I knew what I wanted.
“Rabbi, I want to see” I answered.
Immediately, my world of darkness was transformed. The first person I saw was Jesus standing in front of me. Keeping my eyes on him, I followed.