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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

Jesus and Bartimaeus (01-12-21)

Bible Reading: Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving Jericho, 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.

A Reflection:

There are times, I am sure, when all of us struggle to know how to pray for a person or situation where there is a desperate need. It may be for a sick baby; it may be for very poorly person at the end of their life or it may be for a disaster in another part of the world. What should we ask for? What words could you use? Maybe today’s bible passage can help us.

As Jesus was passing through Jericho, a blind beggar, realising who was there, called out to him,

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

These few words from a desperate man contain some great insights. Firstly he recognised who Jesus was. By identifying Jesus as the Son of David, Bartimaeus is recognising him as the coming Messiah. Then, by asking Jesus to have mercy on him, he is recognising his own unworthiness in the presence of Jesus. There is nothing here about trying to justify himself or his request, nor is demanding anything specific from Jesus; he is simply calling on the mercy of God.

‘Lord, have mercy’ is a powerful prayer; in humility it offers up to God a situation that is completely beyond our control. It then trusts God, who is rich in mercy, to do what is best; mercy for one person or situation might be different to mercy for another person or situation.

But sometimes God wants us to be specific in our prayers. Jesus’ response to Bartimaeus was to ask him, "What do you want me to do for you?"

This may seem like an unnecessary question to ask a blind man, but some people may be content with a way of life that others would not be content with. By asking this question, Jesus was showing the grace to not assume what Bartimaeus wanted, and also the wisdom to encourage him to name his need.

If Jesus was to ask you today "What do you want me to do for you?" How would you answer?


Lord Jesus, give me the grace to know when to call out to you for mercy and when to be specific in bringing to you the needs of others, and of myself.


Kyrie Eleison, Have mercy

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