Monday, May 25, 2015

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” ― David Richo

While I most resemble the “Prodigal Son” in the parables, one of if not my favorite people in the Bible (besides Jesus, duh) is blind Bartimaeus.  In the Gospel of Mark, just two chapters after the man that “Jesus looked at him and loved him” had rejected Jesus offer to follow him for he had many possessions, we come to a man who had nothing.  His only possession was his cloak that kept him warm and served to make the ground a little softer when he slept upon it.  This man is blind yet recognizes not only Jesus but who He represents and the power he possesses.  Something the sighted man with all the possessions seems to have missed.  Bartimaeus shouts to Jesus and is shushed by the disciples and those around him, but Jesus calls the blind man to him.  The blind beggar leaps up and throws off his cloak—the only possession he owns and comes to Christ.  Jesus asks what the man wants and learns the man wants to see again (apparently once was sighted but then went blind).  Jesus heals him and sends him away.  Actually tells him not to follow.  Now this is while Jesus is in His last week on this earth and is on the way to Jerusalem, his betrayal, beating, crucifixion, and ultimate resurrection.  Jesus knows what is ahead of Him and tells the newly sighted beggar to go away, but unlike the man with many possessions, this poor man who now doesn’t even have a cloak, rejects Jesus’s command not to follow and follows Jesus into Jerusalem.  No one knows for sure, but most scholars agree that the reason we know the name Bartimaeus and not the name of the man with all the possessions is that Bartimaeus was well known among the followers of Jesus in the early church.  He would have probably been a leader as one who was healed by the Master and who followed even when told not to.  I think the scholars are right.  I think this is just the kind of radical conversion that would lead others to Christ, and I believe this formerly blind beggar had that kind of passion, devotion, and leadership ability—shown by his not being shushed and persistence with calling to Jesus.  This is the kind of man I can respect and would have followed had I been there at the time.  I may have started as the prodigal son, but I like to think that I have ended as that blind beggar healed by Christ.  
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