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"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

Vince Lombardi

Bartimaeus

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. Mark 10:46-52

This short passage raises many questions. What had Bartimaeus heard about Jesus which made him see Jesus as the answer to his problem? What happened to Bartimaeus afterwards – this is the only mention of him in the gospels? There are things we can all learn from Bartimaeus.

1 He was alert and he seized the moment
2 He was single-minded; he wanted to ask Jesus to help and let nothing distract him. We read in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. “With all your heart” suggests a deep longing – a state of heart which longs for the Lord’s presence
3 He made a humble request.

Mark records Jesus asking Bartimaeus “What do you want me to do for you?” The way Mark organizes his material, the story of Bartimaeus is immediately preceded by James and John making a request of Jesus. Mark records Jesus asking them “What do you want me to do for you?” Their request is “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” There is a striking contrast between the two answers to the same question. If Jesus asked you: “What do you want me to do for you?” What would your answer me?

Meditation inspired by Roderick Strange, The Times 24/10/2020

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