Saturday, December 16, 2000

"and recovery of sight to the blind" Luke 4:18

Remember Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, who called out to Jesus? "As Jesus was passing through Jericho," Bartimaeus was sitting at the city gates. Jericho is 15 miles from Jerusalem. It was nearly Passover. Everyone who lived within 15 miles of the Holy City was to celebrate Passover within the walls of Jerusalem. Yet many were unable to make the journey.

Crowds of "well-wishers" would bid the pilgrims Godspeed on their way. Jesus was an attraction that no one wanted to miss. Some gathered to scoff, while others were curious. All wanted to catch a glimpse of this bold young Galilean who stood against the strong might of orthodoxy.

Not about to miss anybody moving through Jericho's gates, blind Bartimaeus had the "eyes" of other disabled and misfit friends to describe these faithful pilgrims. When told Jesus was passing out of Jericho, Bartimaeus threw off all that held him in place and called like a fool to get Jesus' attention. Most saw him as insignificant, a dirty blind beggar - not a man. Certainly not a man with whom any rabbi would stop and listen. He was wasting his time.

Yet the sensitive, patient, and humble Jesus stopped and took no further step. Rather he called Bartimaeus to himself. It sounds crazy that Jesus would ask Bartimaeus what he wanted. it seem obvious to us. Yet, Jesus did not presume to know what this beggar would say. Nor did Jesus act before Bartimaeus told him, My prayer is that I might see again." And with a word, healing came - sight returned.

Are we as ready to have Jesus bring healing to us, as Bartimaeus was to see again? Do we have an equally deep faith as this "former blind beggar" had? Bartimaeus was a beggar along the way. And he became a follower "of the way". May we be as committed as we journey home. --DH

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