Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:46-52 (NIV)
“Son of David, have mercy on me!” One can almost imagine hearing that urgent voice rising up from a crowd. It would be easy to write off a blind beggar’s cry, or even to write him off as a nut job. Blind Bart probably didn’t look or smell very nice. He might have been seen as an embarrassment to some, especially to those “respectable people” who were telling him to be quiet. He pipes up in the middle of the pomp and circumstance- and responds to the awareness that Jesus is near with an emphatic faith that cries, “I want to see!”
Our society is still ambivalent toward those who have disabilities. We love to hear the stories of those with disabilities who manage to overcome them, but what about people like Blind Bart? Here was a guy who was a beggar, who was entirely dependent upon the charity of others, someone at the very bottom of the social ladder, whose only claim to fame is that he is screaming for the attention of Jesus.
Bart gets it. All he can do, if he wants to see, is to call on Jesus. He is at that point that C. S. Lewis describes as being “Christ or nothing.” Jesus is the only hope he has of ever being able to see. Blind Bart has nothing left to lose. So why not be loud about it?
It’s that simple, and that difficult.
God is the Author of all healing. Even though we deal with physical afflictions that God does not always choose to take away from us, He brings us healing- and gives us vision- in many different ways. Often times we don’t realize this until we find ourselves at that point of it being “Christ or nothing.” We cry to Jesus more loudly and with more urgency when we can’t see any other option- when we are at the end of ourselves, and when other people don’t have answers for us either.
Jesus heard. He made time for Blind Bart. Jesus had a lot of other things on His mind, but He made time to address the beggar’s cry.
Jesus makes time to hear our cries too, even when we are loud, or demanding, or seemingly out of line. When we admit to our blindness and ask Him for vision He gives us the eyes and the heart to see as He does. Are we praying- and it’s OK to be loud- from that “Christ or nothing” place where Blind Bart was coming from?
“Son of David, have mercy on me! Rabbi, I want to see!”
And Jesus replied to him: “Go, your faith has healed you.”