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The healing of blind Bartimaeus is the last miracle Jesus performs before entering Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover where by week's end he will be the paschal lamb to take away the sins of the world. The healing is important for several reasons:
First, it informs us that Jesus, even when enroute to an appointment at Calvary, could still hear and see the needs of others. As important as Jesus' destination was leaving Jericho for Jerusalem, Jesus was not deaf to the cries for mercy. The lone cry of a single man at the lowest end of the social ladder was enough for Jesus to stop and perform one more miracle.
Second, the story tells us that Jesus will not be controlled by the crowd. It is not an easy thing to say no to the crowd when there is a mass of people hanging on your every move. The crowd can have a narcotic effect and make us crave the crowd and its approval more than God’s approval. The crowd wants Jesus to keep going. They have been in Jericho long enough. They have wasted enough time in Jericho. Jerusalem is their destination. The crowd told blind Bartimaeus to be quiet and the crowd told Jesus to keep going, do not brother to stop for him, he is not worth the effort. Jesus put more stock in the cry of the blind man than the urges of the crowd. The isolation of the stay-home order may be what we need to be weaned from the voices of the crowd that we may hear the single voice that calls our name.
Finally, the story offers a challenge to us as to what will we do once we have received the things we desire most.
What blind Bartimaeus wanted more than anything was to be able to see again. He had not always been blind, there was a time when he could see and he wanted to see again. When Jesus healed him, he had a choice as to what he would do now that he could see again. The choice seemed simple to him. He followed Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.
Following Jesus is always a choice. And Lenten is the season that invites us to make the choice and journey with Jesus to celebration, grief, betrayal, death and resurrection. For in the journey we discover the joy that comes with being with him.
Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 @ 12:53 PM EDT