64 – Bartimaeus
Where: Jericho, Judea
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Jesus and his disciples, as well as other folks, were walking along the road after crossing the Jordan River and were now traveling toward Jericho. There was quite a crowd gathering. As they approached Jericho, along this busy road, the word was going before them; “Jesus is coming”, and folks were hurrying out to meet him, which made the crowd even larger.
But it was early afternoon as Jesus and the disciples approached Jericho. The new city had been founded and built by Herod the Great, and had served as his winter capital. The city was built on both sides of the dry riverbed of the wadi Qelt, with a large bridge to span the waterway. Jericho had pools, parks, and villas for the over-wintering privileged folk, a sunken garden, a VERY prosperous tax office, and large, thick walls.
It was common for beggars to line the road. The giving of alms was considered a good work, and many of the folks who came to Jericho could afford to be generous. Today, as the crowd of people passed, even a blind man would know that someone of importance was passing by. The son of Timaeus asked another blind beggar, who often was there with him, if he had heard who was passing.
When he heard that it was the Galilean teacher who had been over by the Jordan River lately, teaching and healing, he realized that this might be the opportunity he had prayed for. This Jesus was said to be able to use the healing power of God, and it was rumored that he was the Messiah.
Just as Rahab once had faith enough to see the power of God when others around her had not, so Bartimaeus yelled, ‘Jesus, Messiah, help me’. When some in the crowd told Bartimaeus to ‘shut up’, he yelled even louder. It was an accident that had robbed him of his sight, and this might be his only chance to have his sight back.
Jesus heard someone in the crowd calling him the Messiah. Jesus stopped and searched the crowd to find who had yelled. When Jesus saw the condition Bartimaeus was in, Jesus took pity and motioned for others to escort Bartimaeus to him. Bartimaeus threw off his old cloak and walked, escorted, toward Jesus.
Then Jesus asked him, ‘What would you have me do?’ Bartimaeus immediately replied that he wanted his sight back. Here was an opportunity to undo an accident, so Jesus reached out, touched the man’s eyes, then said, ‘receive your sight!’ And Bartimaeus could see again.
‘Go’, Jesus said, ‘your faith has made it possible for you to be healed’. And then Jesus turned and walked into Jericho thinking how interesting it was that a blind man could “see” more clearly than a sighted disciple could. And in the next moment, as everyone was going into Jericho, Bartimaeus re-evaluated his life and then he followed Jesus into Jericho.
No questions have been asked yet.