Sermon Sunday, October 28, 2018 Proper 25B
Gospel of Mark 10:46-52
46 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of
Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he
cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on
me!” 49 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.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to
Jesus. 51 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.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.”
Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
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Ever since I was young, I recall hearing this story of Bartimaeus. He was blind
and begging when he met Jesus. He was begging because his blindness had
prevented him from participating in life like most everyone else. Bartimaeus found
himself in the world, but not connected to the world, except maybe through his
His physical challenge built barriers that Bartimaeus couldn’t overcome. He
couldn’t see so he couldn’t work. He couldn’t see so he couldn’t read the Torah.
He couldn’t see so his world was limited to whatever he heard, or tasted or smelled
or touched. Bartimaeus was left in the dark fending for himself.
Bartimaeus faced one more challenge. That challenge was most grace. Because he
had a physical impediment, Bartimaeus was considered cursed by God, a sinner,
and outcast of God, the synagogue and Jewish society.
Then Jesus came along. This was his one chance to be healed. He’d heard stories
about Jesus healing all kinds of conditions. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus could heal
his eyes and give him sight.
Bartimaeus took his one chance. He shouted as loudly as he was able:” Jesus, Son
of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped dead in his tracks. He looked around
and then Jesus called the one who was shouting for his attention to come to him.
Bartimaeus sprang up and was led to the presence of Jesus, Jesus asked the man,
“What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus responded, “My teacher, let
me see again.”
I imagine Jesus eyes welling up; his compassionate love radiating from his face, as
Jesus told Bartimaeus to “Go; your faith has made you well.” And, Bartimaeus’
eyes were opened. He could see. He could connect with others. He could now
make a living. He could learn to read the Torah. And, he could be welcomed as a
child of both God and Abraham into the synagogue.
Jesus gave Bartimaeus the opportunity to live, worship, serve and love in ways
once thought unimaginable.
I’ve become aware of the power this tory holds for me.
As a child, I never really felt like I fit in. That has continued throughout most of
my life. There are a couple of particular reasons for my feelings. But more
importantly, there is once reason for my deep appreciation of this story.
The story of Bartimeaus proclaims God’s never-failing love for all. Even when we
feel left out, abandoned by loved ones, religious institutions and society, God’s
love never abandons us. Never!
We are all worthy of love and respect because our bodies house the divine breath
that created us and gives us life. Our spirits are the dwelling of the image of God.
We are beloved. We are valued. We are precious to our maker and to his son,
Jesus. We are so loved that Jesus desires to companion us on our life’s journey.
This compelling story the healing of Bartimaeus gives hope to all who think they
somehow don’t fit in. And, it gives hope for the healing of our world – a hope of
opening our eyes so that we look upon one another and all creation in thankfulness,
respect and responsibility as we ensure God’s love through us restores and heals.