What do you want me to do for you?
Those were the words of Jesus while standing before Bartimaeus, the blind man. In the Gospel of Mark (10:46-52), we are informed that these words were spoken shortly after confronting him at Jericho. How did this confrontation come to be?
First, we must note that confrontations are weaved into our lives. On most occasions, they are friendly encounters between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends, and co-workers. Sometimes, however, our confrontations are less than friendly and take the form of arguments, spats, or even encounters with inconsiderate drivers.
In returning to the confrontation between Jesus and the blind man, we are told that Bartimaeus was a roadside beggar. But upon hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was in his midst, something changed.
He began to cry out and say: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” While those around him urged his silence, he nonetheless persisted in disobeying their wishes and cried out with a powerful verbal petition: “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Having been drawn into this verbal and visual drama, Jesus came to stand before him and recognized that he was filled with true faith and courage.
In silence, we might imagine that Bartimaeus stood before Jesus until his courage rose to a level of being able to ask Jesus the ultimate petition: “Master, I want to see.”
And in an instant, Jesus granted his heartfelt prayer and said to him: “Your faith has saved you.”
Having gained his sight, he followed Jesus on the way. While two-thousand years separate us from that Jericho street, what does this story say about us? What is the condition of our faith? Is it strong enough to courageously and boldly petition Jesus?