Our scripture this morning is Luke 18:35-43.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
There are several important points in this short passage. In the beginning of this chapter we read the story of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) who continued to appeal to the judge for justice. In this story we hear of the blind beggar who is persistent in his pleas to be heard and healed. This story is also recorded in Mark 10.
When the blind beggar (named as Bartimaeus in Mark’s gospel) hears that Jesus is passing by, he begins shouting for Jesus to heal him. Those in the crowd try to quiet him, but he continues in his attempt to have Jesus hear him. Often our requests and prayers will be seen as a nuisance by those around us, but our persistence in faith will make the difference. This man believes Jesus can heal him and doesn’t let propriety stand in his way.
Jesus gives him his sight, saying “your faith has healed you” (v. 42). As important as that is, the next verse is even more so – “Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too” (v. 43). We must be persistent in our efforts to ensure everyone is heard and healed through faith in Jesus.
I’m re-sharing a “letter from Bartimaeus” I wrote while studying this passage in Mark on a retreat weekend years ago. I hope you don’t mind the repeat.
Dear Mom & Dad,
I know you’ll be real surprised to get a note from me since I haven’t been able to write for the last 10 years, but I have really amazing news – I can see again! Yes, miraculous is the only way to describe it but here’s what happened. Jesus was coming down the road where I was sitting in my spot. How did I know it was Jesus? I was blind, not deaf! Anyway, I shouted to him, he stopped and asked what I wanted. I told him I wanted to see! Jesus said to me “Go, your faith has healed you” and right then I could see again! I know this is quite a shock, but there’s more – I’m going to Jerusalem with Jesus! You may think regaining my sight must have made me crazy, but I’ll tell you, once Jesus has touched you, you can’t just go back and sit in your spot anymore.
Your loving son, Bartimaeus
Loving Lord, we are grateful for Your mercy and healing. May we be energetic witnesses of God’s kingdom to all those we meet. Amen.