Day 1 of 7

Jesus and the Bullied

Mark 10: 46-52

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus

(Matthew 20.29-34; Luke 18.35-43)

46They came to Jericho, and as Jesus was leaving with his disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting by the road.47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”

48Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up!” they said. “Get up, he is calling you.”

50So he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

“Teacher,” the blind man answered, “I want to see again.”

52“Go,” Jesus told him, “your faith has made you well.”

At once he was able to see and followed Jesus on the road.

Vincent Taylor, in his monumental commentary The Gospel According to St. Mark, argues that the blind man’s name (Bartimaeus) literally means “son of unclean.” Bailey, echoing Taylor, says this epithet might have been the poor blind man’s taunt name. One can easily imagine hapless Bartimaeus, wearing soiled rags, begging on the side of the Jericho road, being taunted by local children: “Here comes the ‘son of filth’! Here comes the stinker!” Bartimaeus’ cry “Son of David, have mercy on me!” assumes a new level of significance in light of the cruel taunting he might have faced. Jesus’ compassionate act of healing not only restores this man’s sight, but also brings an end to the emotional torture Bartimaeus was most likely enduring. Jesus, in a single gesture of mercy and love, restored the blind man’s sight as well as his human dignity.