Aloha Friday Message – October 26, 2012 – Jericho Road

1243AFC102612

Read it online here, please.

NJB Mark 10:46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimæus — that is, the son of Timæus — a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” 48 And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man over. “Courage,” they said, “get up; he is calling you.”

Along the road between Jericho and Jerusalem in the Qelt Wadi.

 

50 So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus spoke, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabbouni, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has saved you.” And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

 

This Sunday’s Gospel takes place during Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem before his Passion, death, and resurrection. It is about the healing of Bartimæus, the man who wanted to see. His name, “Son of Timæus” can be taken two ways. In Aramaic, it is Son of Timæus but what is the meaning of the word Timæus? It comes from the Greek τιμή (timē) meaning Honor. We’ll look at another possible meaning shortly. Bartimæus wants to see. He had a great job as a beggar, but that also was a great problem. His location was “on the road to Jericho,” a very busy place, and he probably did well financially. But the Jewish culture at that time thought of blindness as a punishment. They were even prohibited from full participation in the Temple because blindness was considered one of the “blemishes,” and even an outcome of sin – either personal or familial.

 

There is a story nearly identical to this one in the Gospel of Luke, but in that story the event happens as Jesus and his followers were approaching Jericho, and the blind man is not named. In Matthew’s Gospel, there are two blind men, both are unnamed, and in all of these stories sight is restored because of the faith expressed in asking for healing. The fact that it occurs in some form in all three of the synoptic Gospels is a good indication that it is an important message that should be studied because it was obviously studied much in the early church.

 

So, along with the story of “The Son of Honor,” we also have superimposed on it the story of a man who is condemned to a life of begging because he is obviously unclean – he has the blemish of blindness. Because of this there is a less-well-known – and probably lease feasible – history of the derivation of Bartimæus from bar-tim’ai = “son of the unclean,” and this derivation carries the allegorical meaning of “the Gentiles” or those who are spiritually blind. Although a little improbable, it does give the story an interesting, albeit subtle, double lesson. Let’s take a closer look at this passage and study the characters and the actions.

 

As a matter of custom, blind men who were beggars wore certain coats to identify them, so that people could recognize their needs. Now we have Bartimæus seated by the road to Jericho, a very lucrative location, wearing a uniform that identifies him as qualified to be a beggar. He is “trustworthy” because he is following the rules. He hears a crowd approaching and learns that “Jesus of Nazareth” (or Jesus the Nazorean in some translations) was the source of the commotion. Bartimæus has apparently heard of Jesus and also apparently knew of certain prophesies which applied to Jesus. He calls out to him, not as Jesus the Nazorean, but as “Jesus, Son of David.” At this point in the narrative, the sizable crowd is still passing. It seems Jesus is a little farther back in the pack because it is the leaders of the crowd, the folks who have worked their way up to the front, who first interact with Bartimæus. Now, Bartimæus is making quite a racket with his shouting, and he keeps it up despite the fact that he is told to be quiet, and scolded for “speaking out of place.” After all, he is obviously a sinful man who is punished by God with blindness, and he has no right calling out to the Master, the Teacher, Jesus. He is shushed and scolded.

 

That makes him cry out all the louder, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” In this, we see the value of persistence in prayer despite the times when other persons, other things, or other events and priorities make it hard to persist. Even if people rudely told him to mind his place and shut his mouth, he knew what he wanted because he had already accepted the fact that Jesus, and only Jesus, could help him. He didn’t ask for money, or respect, or forgiveness from whatever sins brought on his condition. He didn’t send someone else to get Jesus to come over to where he was. He did not ask to be carried or led to Jesus. He just prayed with simplicity and conviction, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” over and over and over. Between the ruckus he’s making and the people telling him to be quiet, the group of travelers slows, quiets, and turns their attention toward the disruption.

 

Jesus stops and says, “Call him here.” He did not say, “Bring him here.” He did not go to the man who called him. He did not tell Bartimæus, “Come over here.” He told others around him to call Bartimæus. We are also called to approach Jesus. Sometimes, for example when we were children, others carried us to Jesus. As we grow older and mature, there are times when we know Jesus comes to us even though we don’t know he’s on his way. The sweetest times, though, are those when someone calls us and notifies us Jesus is asking us to pay attention, to interact with him. It seems to evoke that “where two or more” dynamic. We are changed by the hope it gives us. That is what happened to Bartimæus.

 

Others called him and told him, “Cheer up. Take courage, be happy. He is calling you.” At this point Bartimæus does something very significant, something that teaches us several lessons in a single action: He throws off his cloak. Now, recall that his cloak was his uniform. It was what allowed him to take up a lucrative spot along the highway and legitimately gain an income. Begging is not usually thought of as work – until you’ve tried it. It’s a bit like hunting for your survival. Some days are better than others. Some days you do well, and other days you don’t. Bartimæus had not asked to be healed. He asked only for Jesus’ mercy. In anticipation of that he was willing to give up four things: His career and the income that went along with it; his uniform, the cloak; the shelter and protection the cloak provided; and the place by the road where he worked and was well-known. He tossed all of that aside and jumped up to go to Jesus.

 

Sometimes when Jesus calls, we can be a little sluggish in our response, but not Bartimæus! He went directly to Jesus. And the next thing, the next lesson, is that Jesus says to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus listens to our prayers, our needs, our hope, dreams, anxieties, and fears, too. Think of a time when he asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” If you can remember a time like that, chances are it is because he granted what you requested in faith. If you can’t remember a time like that, think about what you can do that would be similar to what Bartimæus did. Would you toss aside your security, jump up, and go directly to Jesus?

 

Bartimæus told Jesus exactly what he wanted. Now, instead of “son of David,” he calls him “Rabuoni.” He addresses him as Teacher, Master, one who is respected much. As in the photo above, we can see him kneeling before Jesus during this exchange, imploring him to answer his prayer for healing. He tells Jesus, “I want to see.” The verb used here is ἀναβλέπω (an-ab-lep’-o) which means “I look up, recover my sight.” Bartimæus knew what he was missing. He was missing the ability to see life. In the parallel meaning of his name and the implications that go along with this, we realize we know what we are missing, the ability to see Life, to know the Truth. And Bartimæus receives both of these when he lays aside all worldly things, humbles himself before Jesus, and says, “Lord, let me see.”

 

Bartimæus had so much faith that he would be healed by Jesus that he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and went to Jesus knowing that he no longer would need the uniform that identified him as a blind beggar, even before he was healed. Then we see what happens after Jesus answers his prayer. Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has saved you.” And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road. He followed along the Road to Jerusalem, to the Passion, to the Resurrection, and to Eternity. I want to walk with Bartimæus along that road; how about you?

 

Share-A-Prayer

 

Cancer WHETHER ACTIVE OR IN REMISSION, and other serious, chronic illnesses: DL (and also eye and back trouble); CF, FO, DO, SC, GW, SP, EL, SR, JM, MJ, JE, JC, JL, MG, KW, TW, NA, CC, LM, CR, CW, KV, and others. We ask God for hope, healing, and health.

 

Addiction whether active or recovering: PB, TO, JL, CN, BL, DN, FJ, CO, JG, KD, RL, and others.

 

Personal intentions and prayer requests: All others in the MBN, all our family, friends, loved-ones, benefactors, and associates.

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

Please carefully evaluate all available candidates in local, state, and federal elections, and act on those choices by VOTING. YOUR VISION, YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE.

 

 

1243AFC102612

Read it online here, please.

NJB Mark 10:46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimæus — that is, the son of Timæus — a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” 48 And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man over. “Courage,” they said, “get up; he is calling you.”

 

50 So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus spoke, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabbouni, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has saved you.” And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

 

This Sunday’s Gospel takes place during Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem before his Passion, death, and resurrection. It is about the healing of Bartimæus, the man who wanted to see. His name, “Son of Timæus” can be taken two ways. In Aramaic, it is Son of Timæus but what is the meaning of the word Timæus? It comes from the Greek τιμή (timē) meaning Honor. We’ll look at another possible meaning shortly. Bartimæus wants to see. He had a great job as a beggar, but that also was a great problem. His location was “on the road to Damascus,” a very busy place, and he probably did well financially. But the Jewish culture at that time thought of blindness as a punishment. They were even prohibited from full participation in the Temple because blindness was considered one of the “blemishes,” and even an outcome of sin – either personal or familial.

There is a story nearly identical to this one in the Gospel of Luke, but in that story the even happens as Jesus and his followers were approaching Jericho, and the blind man is not named. In Matthew’s Gospel, there are two blind men, both are unnamed, and in all of these stories sight is restored because of the faith expressed in asking for healing. The fact that it occurs in some form in all three of the synoptic Gospels is a good indication that it is an important message that should be studied because it was obviously studied much in the early church.

So, along with the story of “The Son of Honor,” we also have superimposed on it the story of a man who is condemned to a life of begging because he is obviously unclean – he has the blemish of blindness. Because of this there is a less-well-known – and probably lease feasible – history of the derivation of Bartimæus from bar-tim’ai = “son of the unclean,” and this derivation carries the allegorical meaning of the Gentiles or those who are spiritually blind. Although a little improbable, it does give the story an interesting, albeit subtle, double lesson. Let’s take a closer look at this passage and study the characters and the actions.

As a matter of custom, blind men who were beggars wore certain coats to identify them, so that people could recognize their needs. Now we have Bartimæus seated by the road to Jericho, a very lucrative location, wearing a uniform that identifies him as qualified to be a beggar. He is “trustworthy” because he is following the rules. He hears a crown approaching and learns that “Jesus of Nazareth” (or Jesus the Nazorean in some translations) was the source of the commotion. Bartimæus has apparently heard of Jesus and also apparently knew of certain prophesies which applied to Jesus. He calls out to him, not as Jesus the Nazorean, but as “Jesus, don of David.” At this point in the narrative, the sizable crowd is still passing. It seems Jesus is a little farther back in the pack because it is the leaders of the crowd, the folks who have worked their way up to the front, who first interact with Bartimæus. Now, Bartimæus is making quite a racket with his shouting, and he keeps it up despite the fact that he is told to be quiet, and scolded for “speaking out of place.” After all, he is obviously a sinful man who is punished by God with blindness, and he has no right calling out to the Master, the Teacher, Jesus. He is shushed and scolded.

That makes him cry out all the louder, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” In this, we see the value of persistence in prayer despite the times when other persons, other things, or other events and priorities make it hard to persist. Even if people rudely told him to mind his place and shut his mouth, he knew what he wanted because he had already accepted the fact that Jesus, and only Jesus, could help him. He didn’t ask for money, or respect, or forgiveness from whatever sins brought on his condition. He didn’t send someone else to get Jesus to come over to where he was. He did not ask to be carried or led to Jesus. He just prayed with simplicity and conviction, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” over and over and over. Between the ruckus he’s making and the people telling him to be quiet, the group of travelers slows, quiets, and turns their attention toward the disruption.

Jesus stops and says, “Call him here.” He did not say, “Bring him here.” He did not go to the man who called him. He did not tell Bartimæus, “Come over here.” He told others around him to call Bartimæus. We are also called to approach Jesus. Sometimes, for example when we were children, others carried us to Jesus. As we grow older and mature, there are times when we know Jesus comes to us even though we don’t know he’s on his way. The sweetest times, though, are those when someone calls us and notifies us Jesus is asking us to pay attention, to interact with him. It seems to evoke that “where two or more” dynamic. We are changed by the hope it gives us. That is what happened to Bartimæus.

Others called him and told him, “Cheer up. Take courage, be happy. He is calling you.” At this point Bartimæus does something very significant, something that teaches us several lessons in a single action: He throws off his cloak. Now, recall that his cloak was his uniform. It was what allowed him to take up a lucrative spot along the highway and legitimately gain an income. Begging is not usually thought of as work – until you’ve tried it. It’s a bit like hunting for your survival. Some days are better than others. Some days you do well, and other days you don’t. Bartimæus had not asked to be healed. He asked only for Jesus’ mercy. In anticipation of that he was willing to give up three things: His uniform, the cloak; the shelter and protection the cloak provided; and the place by the road where he worked and was well-known. He tossed all of that aside and jumped up to go to Jesus.

Sometimes when Jesus calls, we can be a little sluggish in our response, but not Bartimæus! He went directly to Jesus. And the next thing, the next lesson, is that Jesus says do him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus listens to our prayers, our needs, our hope, dreams, anxieties, and fears, too. Think of a time when he asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” If you can remember a time like that, chances are it is because he granted what you requested in faith. If you can’t remember a time like that, think about what you can do that would be similar to what Bartimæus did. Would you toss aside your security, jump up, and go directly to Jesus?

Bartimæus told Jesus exactly what he wanted. Now, instead of “son of David,” he calls him “Rabuoni.” He addresses him as Teacher, Master, one who is respected much. As in the photo above, we can see him kneeling before Jesus during this exchange, imploring him to answer his prayer for healing. He tells Jesus, “I want to see.” The verb used here is ἀναβλέπω (an-ab-lep’-o) which means “I look up, recover my sight.” Bartimæus knew what he was missing. He was missing the ability to see life. In the parallel meaning of his name and the implications that go along with this, we realize we know what we are missing, the ability to see Life, to know the Truth. And Bartimæus receives both of these when he lays aside all worldly things, humbles himself before Jesus, and says, “Lord, let me see.”

Bartimæus had so much faith that he would be healed by Jesus that he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and went to Jesus knowing that he no longer would need the uniform that identified him as a blind beggar, even before he was healed. Then we see what happens after Jesus answers his prayer. Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has saved you.” And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road. He followed along the Road to Jerusalem, to the Passion, to the Resurrection, and to Eternity. I want to walk with Bartimæus along that road; how about you?

 

Share-A-Prayer

 

Cancer WHETHER ACTIVE OR IN REMISSION, and other serious, chronic illnesses: DL (and also eye and back trouble); CF, FO, DO, SC, GW, SP, EL, SR, JM, MJ, JE, JC, JL, MG, KW, TW, NA, CC, LM, CR, CW, KV, and others. We ask God for hope, healing, and health.

 

Addiction whether active or recovering: PB, TO, JL, CN, BL, DN, FJ, CO, JG, KD, RL, and others.

 

Personal intentions and prayer requests: All others in the MBN, all our family, friends, loved-ones, benefactors, and associates.

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

Please carefully evaluate all available candidates in local, state, and federal elections, and act on those choices by VOTING. YOUR VISION, YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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