Bartimaeus: another thought

This coming Sunday is the 30th Sunday in lectionary cycle B. The gospel is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man, who cries out to Jesus for pity – or as pointed out in a recent post – for compassion or mercy. This is the last of the miracles recorded in the Gospel of Mark. It is a bookend to Mark 8 healing of the man born blind. It stands in contrast to the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit the kingdom. It stands in contrast to Peter and the disciples who are having their own problems. The commentaries of this week only began to plum the riches of this gospel. Here is an interesting bit of background come from Dan Clendenin at Journey with Jesus

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Bartimaeus: the petition

This coming Sunday is the 30th Sunday in lectionary cycle B. The gospel is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man, who cries out to Jesus for pity: Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. Continue reading

Bartimaeus: mercy

This coming Sunday is the 30th Sunday in lectionary cycle B. The gospel is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man, who cries out to Jesus for pity: On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”  And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Though Bartimaeus was blind, he understood a great deal about Jesus.  Continue reading

Bartimaeus: context

This coming Sunday is the 30th Sunday in lectionary cycle B. The gospel is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man, who cries out to Jesus for pity. Despite the rebuke of the bystanders, Bartimaeus calls out even more vigorously. And in so doing he encounters Jesus who asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Our text serves as a dramatic contrast to the past two assigned gospels. Two weeks ago we had the man who had kept all of the commandments from his youth and who had many possessions, taken as a 1st century sign that he had been blessed by God. But he is not able to part with his possessions. He is not able to follow Jesus. In our text, we have a man who is blind and a beggar, understood as signs that he was a “sinner” and not blessed by God (see John 9 for this traditional view and Jesus’ rejection of it). However, the blind-beggar, throws off his cloak (v. 50), perhaps his only possession, and is able to follow Jesus. Continue reading

Faith that saves: asking

Jesus-healingThe Petition. 51 Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 52 Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Jesus replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” One might note that either I miscopied v.51, but the astute student will know that I am citing v.36 when James and John ask for the places of honor. In both verses the verb is thelō. Again Mark is drawing our attention to the differences, this time between Bartimaeus and the disciples. Where they ask for glory, power, and prestige, the blind ask for mercy and healing. The blind man’s faith was recognized by the Lord as an affirmation of confident trust in the gracious mercy of God and his power to heal (cf Mark 5:34). The healing was immediate. Continue reading

Faith that saves: mercy

Jesus-healingA Cry for Mercy. In other healing scenes, the one healed is told to “go” and not say anything about the miracle. This phenomenon is described as the Mark’s “messianic secret.” There are many speculations as to why Jesus does not want word of his mighty deeds know far and wide. The one in which I hold to be more likely is the one in which Jesus does not want people’s perception of his Glory to be seen in the miracles and mighty deeds, but wants them to see the Glory fully revealed on the cross when they can see that God’s love for them has no limits. Now that they are close to the time of the cross, Jesus will not tell Bartimaeus to remain silent. Any attempt to silence the blind man falls to the crowd. Continue reading

Faith that saves: on the way

Jesus-healingThe passage is the last healing and miracle in the Gospel of Mark. It is easily passed over as another miracle among many, but the story of Bartimaeus (bar-Timeaeus; lit. Son of Timeaus) is in some ways the most significant since it is the one miracle not recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. There are general promises in Isaiah that promise healing and deliverance (Isaiah 29:1; 32:1-3; 35:1-10) along with specific promises that in the day of the Messiah the blind will have their sight restored (Is 42:18; 61:1-4). Continue reading