Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
We can learn many things from the faith of those Jesus encounters during his earthly ministry. Each time I read about Bartimaeus, what becomes increasingly clear is the sheer tenacity of his faith. The Bible teaches us how to be disciples of Christ, and we all know that this is no easy path. Too often, when we walk this path, we are met with friction and sink back into distracting comforts. But in the face of this friction, Bartimaeus does not back down. He cries for mercy even more loudly.
It is interesting to note that in the narrative structure of Mark’s Gospel, this healing takes place after the messianic secret is out. Jesus, after healing Bartimaeus’s sight, does not tell him to be quiet or not to tell anyone what has happened. In fact, he heals him among a large crowd. And upon seeing Jesus for the first time, and hearing Jesus say, “Go,” what does Bartimaeus do? He gets up and follows Jesus on the way.
These two important aspects of Bartimaeus’s faith: tenacity and commitment, speak loudly today. They speak loudly today—when it is easy to distract oneself with the next new product; when it is easy to change the channel if you don’t like what you’re seeing; and when, if someone isn’t telling you what you want to hear, you can easily find someone who will.
When the Scripture tells us that we must leave all, pick up our cross, and follow Christ, may we do so with the tenacity and commitment that Bartimaeus shows. May we do so, not paying mind to the many distractions among the crowd, keeping us from following Jesus on the way. And if we stumble, may we once again hear the words: “Go, your faith has made you well.”
Charlie McDonald, pastor
Chaska Moravian Church, Chaska, Minnesota