Bible Book: Mark / Markus
Verse (to): 52
[Lectionary readings (Gospel) October 25, 2009, Proper 25: Revised Common (Mark 10:46-52); Roman Catholic (Mark 10:46-52) and Episcopal (Mark 10:46-52)]
The road through Jericho is the road leading to Jerusalem. Many pilgrims travel this road on their way to the feast in Jerusalem (cf v 32). Outside Jericho a blind beggar is sitting by the side of the road (v 46). The stream of pilgrims passes him by, leaving him behind. The blind man is indeed pushed to the outskirts of society.
Jesus is also on this road. For him this is his final journey to Jerusalem. He has already warned his disciples that death awaits him in Jerusalem (cf v 33).
As soon as the blind man learns that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by he immediately shouts with all his might to receive mercy (v 47). The travellers on the road rebuke this blind man, trying to silence him (v 48). A beggar at the roadside is not supposed to interfere with the important journey of the pilgrims.
But Jesus notices the man at the side of the road and calls him (v 49). “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks him. His only request is, “Rabbi, I want to see” (v 51 – NIV). This honest answer, expressing the man’s deepest need, stands in sharp contrast to the request of the two brothers who, a short while ago, have asked Jesus to do them a special favour (v 35-37). Although they have been following Jesus for some time, they are still spiritually blinded by their selfish desires. However, in spite of his blindness, Bartimaeus sees that this “Jesus of Nazareth” is indeed the “Son of David” (v 47). “Physical blindness is no obstacle to spiritual sight; conversely, physical sight is no guarantee of spiritual sight,” someone wrote.
By telling us the name of the blind man Mark shows that this is more than just a story about a blind man receiving his sight. It is in fact the story of a beggar on the side of the road who ended up following Jesus.
To think about or discuss: Often HIV and Aids statistics prevent people from realising that it is about individual women and men, boys and girls and babies living with HIV and Aids. What can we do to give the numbers faces and to name the faces?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)