That I May Receive My Sight by Lenny Cacchio

This might be his only chance. As he sat by the road begging, someone told him that the man from Nazareth, a certain Jesus, was walking by. Unable to restrain himself, he cried, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!"

He was a blind man, Bartimaeus by name, and the more those around him demanded he be quiet, the more he yelled, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

By this simple phrase, "Son of David,"  Bartimaeus, who could not see, revealed that he could see what most around him could not, that this Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the promised son of David who was to come. Mark tell us that Jesus, upon hearing this, "Stood still and commanded him to be called" (Mark 10:49 NKJV). Then Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"

Now picture this situation. A blind man approaches Jesus and begs for mercy, that is, for pity and compassion. If a blind man were to approach me with such a question, I would presume he would want to see. But Jesus made no such presumptions. "What do you want me to do for you?" He required Bartimaeus to make the request. In asking Bartimaeus the question and requiring a response, Jesus teaches us some lessons on how we should relate our needs to God.

1. God wants us to ask for what we need. While he might know what we need before we ask, he still wants us to ask.

2. Bartimaeus was persistent. When he learned that it was Jesus, he cried for help. Even when those around him urged him to suppress his exuberance, he cried out all the more, and Jesus not only heard his cry, he also granted the request.

3. Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted because he wanted to know what he would say. In Solomon's day, God promised Solomon that he would grant him any request. The text comes close to saying that God was pleasantly surprised at Solomon's answer: He asked for wisdom rather than wealth and power. Was Jesus searching for an answer of similar nobility from Bartimaeus? Would Bartimaeus have been nobler if he had asked for forgiveness? Regardless, Jesus shows his great mercy by healing this man that he might see.

Therein is the paradox. For in a most crucial way blind Bartimaeus could see what those with sight could not. He recognized Jesus as the son of David, the long-awaited Messiah. The blind could see better than those around him.

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, February 10, 2006, by Lenny Cacchio. 
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