Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
The first thing that stood out to me when reading this text, was the enthusiasm of the blind man. If you can imagine being in a large crowd, the noise level is not something to forget. Everyone is vying for the attention of the teacher, healer, Jesus. I can feel the energy even from my home in 2020. And yet, one man’s voice carries above them all. The voice of the blind man.
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He was so loud in that large crowd that people started to get annoyed. They tell him to bet quiet, but he yells all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He knew with all of his heart, that this moment with Jesus was not to be missed. It is his brazen and unapologetic attempt to come face to face with God. And his enthusiasm sets him apart.
When Jesus notices the man, he gives him the floor to speak. This is the second thing that struck me. The man asks with boldness and clarity for one thing… sight. “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Perhaps this request speaks so clearly to me because it is my most common request to God. “God, let me see.” I have prayed this prayer more times than I can count in my life. How often do we feel confused by our own blindness to God’s working in the world?
“Where are you God? Help me see beyond this storm I’m living in! God let me see your face so I can hope once again! Rabbi, I want to see….”
Maybe you are feeling hopeless in the midst of this crisis. It is easy to feel lost and afraid. But the question this story begs me to ask is, “How desperate am I to see God?” Am I seeking God out? Or am I standing behind the crowd simply wishing but never moving in the direction of
Brothers and sisters, God answers the cries of the people. We see it time and time again, story after story. When we call, God listens. Even in the midst of a large crowd, the voice of those desperate to encounter the LIVING God do not go unanswered.
So let us refine our prayers. Let us ask for what we need. Let us seek God with enthusiasm because we have faith that our God hears the cries of the people. Let us be like the blind man, whose enthusiastic faith gave him new sight.