Blindness

In today’s gospel the chief priest and elders confront Jesus with a question concerning the authority by which Jesus is teaching in the Temple precincts, the content of his teaching, and more. This is a different moment than during the Galilean ministry when people, already amazing and curious, wondered about the source of Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and the authority by which he did all these things. It is different from the moments when Jesus encounters the queries from the scribes and pharisees. Now, in the midst of what we refer to as “Holy Week,” Jesus faces the leaders who already have plans to end Jesus’ life – they are just looking for immediate cause and opportunity. Continue reading

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