Bartimaeus’ Empowerment

Image
William Blake [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s gospel reading from the Daily Lectionary introduces us to Bartimaeus, a blind panhandler healed by Jesus in the final days before his crucifixion (Mark10:46-52). When he heard that Jesus was passing by, Bartimaeus started raising his voice, calling upon Jesus to do that which he was meant to do as King David’s anointed heir: liberate his people from oppression. The Temporarily Able-Bodied (TAB) people in the crowd wished this disabled nuisance and general drain-on-the-economy would just shut up and go back to being invisible.

But Jesus, for his part, stopped the parade and listened to the shouts that everyone else wished they weren’t hearing. Begrudgingly, the general public acknowledged to Bartimaeus that his appeal for freedom had been heard.

And when Bartimaeus finally did gain an audience with David’s heir, what happened? One would think that the chosen liberator would know exactly what to do on behalf of an uneducated societal reject. However, that’s not the route that Jesus took:

The Liberator wanted to hear Bartimaeus speak for himself.

Instead of prescribing, Jesus asked what he could do to help. And when the big, miraculous moment came, the Liberator refused to take credit. Instead, Jesus chalked up Bartimaeus’ newfound wellness to that which was already within him.

What kind of anointed Liberator is this?

Are we seeing clearly?

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