Mark 10:46-52
“What do you want me to do for you?”
As some of you know, over the years I have been working with Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats which is a retreat for abortion survivors, women and men. This Gospel is one of the stories we use in that retreat. We urge the retreatant to call out to Jesus “Lord, I want to see!” I want to be able to approach you with joy.
The first thing I want you to notice in this gospel reading is that the blind man is never named. Bartimaeus means the son of Timaeus, so we do not know what his name is. That is significant for a couple of reasons.
The first and most important reason is that he is every man. He is everyone who is seeking for the truth. Every one of us has been searching for truth. Jesus is the only one who offers us genuine, complete, absolute truth. Everyone needs to learn to cry out to Jesus to receive the vision of that truth, the vision that IS truth. Jesus even says St. Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The second reason that his name is not mentioned because he is insignificant to the society around him because he is blind. The people tell him – and they tell the insignificant in our day – to be quiet. There are many people who are dismissed in our society because they do not correspond to the expectations of others. But Jesus stopped and said, “call him.”
This unnamed son of a man named Timaeus came in front of Jesus. And then the story gets interesting. Jesus asks him, “what do you want me to do for you?” The response can be seen in a couple of different ways. The first way is as it seems right here. Jesus is performing the miracle that this man wanted.
But I want you to consider something else. In Jesus’ day some people made a habit of showing their charity to a certain few. I think it is possible that this man was only expecting to get money from Jesus. So consider his response “I want to see”. Now here comes the twist. Did he really intend to say something like this: “well, I want to see, but I will take whatever you can give me!”
And then Jesus surprised him. “If you want to see, then see!”
I know … I am reading much more into the Scriptures than what is there. I know there is a danger when you do that. The danger is that you can really mess up what is right there in front of you in the Scriptures. But the miracle is still there, whether the man anticipated the miracle or Jesus surprised him with it.
Also, there is one good reason for rejecting what I just suggested. The son of Timaeus called out “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” His recognition of Jesus as a Prince of the Davidic line says he knew something more about who Jesus was.
So, what do we do with all this? Let me bring the points briefly together one more time.
• Bartimaeus does not have his name given to us.
o That is because he is meant to be every one of us who needs to cry out for the help of Jesus
o It is also because he represents the forgotten members of our society – those we would throw away as being useless
• Next, Jesus is the miracle worker – the son of David who has the power of God is in his hands and he can take on anything that limits our ability to understand the truth of the will of God
• Next, Jesus is ready to surprise us – to do more than we would think possible for us
• Next, he knows what our innermost needs are even before we ask – but he wants us to ask – this is part of how we must approach him: with an expectancy that his desire is to fulfill every one of our needs – not our wants – our needs
• Last, when we see who Jesus is with his strength and power, with his mercy and healing touch, we must hear his voice again as he says “go your way”
o Bartimaeus made his way the way of Jesus as he followed him
o so to go our way needs to become Jesus’ way and that I am sorry to say is not happening as much as it should
o the son of Timaeus had his sight restored and his faith restored
• so I really only have one question to ask anyone and everyone: what do you need restored by Jesus? … Now! what do you need restored by Jesus now?
So we pray. Jesus, son of David, have pity on us. Each of us in our own way have been like Bartimaeus. Scared of the crowds around us, questioning our own worth, maybe even not quite daring to ask for what we need. But today we put that all aside. You have healed so many in the Scriptures and have healed so many throughout the ages that now we turn to you asking for your healing touch.
Each one of us comes with needs that we can … hardly bear to mention. But you know them because you know the depths of our hearts. Hear the cries of our hearts. Heal the brokenness in our lives, in the lives of our families, in the life of our church, even in the life of our nation.
Then, as you told Bartimaeus to go his way, help us to make our way your way because you are the only one who is the way, the truth, and the life. Help us as we cry out from the depths of our souls: Jesus, son of David, have pity on us! Amen.
Now, I want you all to consider what healing you most need. This is a moment to ask “Jesus son of David have pity on me” asked with an expectant faith and receive his blessing for you today.