Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 30th May 2024: Calling and called

Calling Bartimaeus Healing Mark 10

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 10

Healing of Bartimaeus

As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The story of blind Bartimaeus appears in all the Synoptic Gospels (that is in Matthew, Mark and Luke), but although there is a long story of the healing of a blind man in John's Gospel (John 9) nowhere does it call him Bartimaeus and this man has been blind from birth, whereas Bartimaeus has been able to see (note he asks Jesus to give him his site "again"). Mark in his Gospel writes short, pithy, descriptions of events as though desperate to get his words down, but in this story he adds an extra emphasis to the other accounts.

Jesus is travelling from the north to Jerusalem, and ahead is his last trek from the depths of the Jericho plain to the hills of Jerusalem. He is followed by a huge crowd - notice all the words to do with shouting, crying out, and calling in this account. Bartimaeus shouts above the noise of the crowd as Jesus passes by, since he's only got one chance to be heard. Then he cries out louder still, ignoring those who try to stop him and using the phrase "Son of man" (ie the Messiah). He was sitting begging, so Jesus would not have seen him, but he instructs his disciples to "call him here". The disciples "called" him and tell him Jesus is "calling you". But the most amazing thing about this, is that Bartimaeus' is so determined to come to Jesus, that although he would surely have been careful about moving among a crowd we are told that, 'throwing off his cloak he sprang up', (and presumably with help) came to Jesus. His faith is so strong and his demand for attention so powerful that Jesus grants his request for sight, and we are told the outcome was that he immediately followed Jesus 'on the way'.

We should take this incident to heart. When we request something from God, for the right reasons, we need to be persistent, constantly calling Him in prayer. Then, we need to trust God that He will sort out the problem in His own way, and get on with the work He has already called us to do!


Lord Jesus,
You call us to different tasks
throughout our life.
Help us to hear Your call
and respond with alacrity
as did Bartimeus.
Sometimes when we call You,
our prayers are half-hearted
and often we give up
rather than persisting.
Help us to be less selfish
in our requests,
and continue until You answer.

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