46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then 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.’ 52Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Notice that Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, doesn’t do what Jesus tells him to do. Jesus say, “go; your faith has made you well.” Instead of going way, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way. That is a remarkable image. Jesus’ deed of power and healing was so great, that Bartimaeus couldn’t simply walk away. He had to keep on following Jesus because what Jesus had to offer was far greater than any words or commandments.
And at this point in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is not going anywhere nice. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for his final week of ministry, betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. Maybe somebody should have warned Bartimaeus, “it would be easier if you didn’t follow.”
Indeed, life might be easier if we didn’t follow Jesus. But I am like Bartimaeus. Jesus has done so much for me, that I simply can’t walk away.
The Rev. Jimmy Abbott