Our study today is a lesson of honor, respect, faith and value. In today’s reading Jesus attends to the cries of a blind beggar from amidst the crowd. Though he was on his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus was happy to give him the time of day, recognize his faith, his need, and heal him immediately restoring his sense of value, love, freedom and dignity. Moreover, the story was shared to impress on the listeners that Jesus is the Son of David, the Christ.
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Section 126 | Healing of Blind Bartimaeus and his Companion
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 20:29-34
29 As they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30 Behold, two blind men1 sitting by the road,
when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, you son of David!” 31 The multitude rebuked them, telling them that they should be quiet, but they cried out even more, “Lord, have mercy on us, you son of David!” 32 Jesus stood still, and called them, and asked,
“What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They told him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34 Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received their sight, and they followed him.2[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 10:46-52
46 They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus,3 a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stood still, and said, “Call him.” They called the blind man, saying to him, “Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!” 50 He, casting away his cloak,4 sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51 Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.”Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus on the way.5[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 18:35-43
35 As he came near Jericho,6
a certain blind man sat by the road, begging. 36 Hearing a multitude going by, he asked what this meant. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 He cried out, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him, that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Standing still, Jesus commanded him to be brought to him. When he had come near, he asked him,
41 “What do you want me to do?” He said, “Lord, that I may see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, praised God.[/one_third]
- Bartimaeus was one of the two. He was the son of Timaeus (Mk 10:46 ; Mt 20:30). Timaues is the Latin form of the Greek name Τιμαιος (Timaios), derived from τιμαω (timao) “to honour”. Some assert that Bartimaeus was not the man’s real name but the one given him in the story, arguing that its not likely that a Palestinian Jew had a Greek name. The matter is of little relevance to the reality of the event and the importance of today’s lesson.
- In Matthew’s account both of the blind men were healed. Their blindness was miraculously cured on the grounds of their faith (Mk 10:52; Lk 18:42).
- The name “Bartimaeus” is made of two elements, the first being בר (bar), which is the Aramaic word for son, and the second part is the same as the name of his father: “Timaeus” which comes from the noun τιμη (time), meaning value. Read more about the meaning of his name in this article. The title of today’s lesson plays off the idiom fashioned by Shakespeare in 1591 in his play King Richard III, Act I, scene III, when Buckingham says “Good time of day unto your royal grace!”. The idiom developed after the custom so when one would not give another “the time of day” it was to ignore them, their value, importance, significance, or potential.
- Bartimaeus cast off his cloak which some say is symbolic of death, thus he was casting off death and receiving both his sight and life itself from Jesus.
- As immediately as Bartimaeus was healed he followed Jesus to Jerusalem and presumably also became one of the disciples as the story was told by Matthew, Mark and Luke he seems to be a known character among the disciples after the crucifixion.
- Only in Luke does the miracle occur approaching Jericho. The summary of the miracle in the three Gospels is so similar that its clearly the same occasion. This discrepancy simply arose from the nature of how popular stories were passed on from mouth to mouth.