Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
by Lori Smith
As someone who’s lived with chronic illness for nearly 20 years, stories of healing like this can be frustrating. Jesus healed this blind beggar immediately - why is my healing taking so long? Does He not hear me? Is my faith weaker? Why am I left to wonder, when Bartimaeus* could stand in front of the living Jesus and be healed?
But there are many gems in this short passage, things that might be easy to miss with just a quick reading.
First, this is a man no one thinks much of, and they don’t think he should bother Jesus. He is poor and blind. He sits and begs by the side of the road.
Have you felt low and unimportant? Have you felt like your needs are not critical enough to bring to Jesus? Ever thought he must have more important things to deal with than you?
Bartimaeus had clearly heard stories about Jesus, and believed he was the promised Messiah. So he calls to him, with faith, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The people tell him - essentially - “Shut up!” And what does he do? He yells even louder. (I love that!)
He is not embarrassed, not deterred. He keeps yelling, to the annoyance of everyone around him.
Have you ever been discouraged in prayer, and felt like you should stop praying? Have you sensed discouragement in others, who prayed for you and expected their prayers to be answered immediately?
In the midst of the crowd, Bartimaeus’s voice reaches Jesus, who is heading to Jerusalem and death. And yet, he takes time to ask Bartimaeus what he wants, and to heal him.
This passage is a reminder to me that Jesus hears my cries. If you feel lowly today, if you feel overlooked, Jesus does not overlook you.
If you feel you have cried out to Jesus and are still waiting for an answer, if you have been discouraged, cry louder. Keep praying.
Sometimes Jesus heals us today as quickly and dramatically as he healed Bartimaeus. Often healing takes longer, over many years. Once during healing prayer God spoke to me and gave me a perspective on how He is healing me: “He has healed me; He is healing me; He will heal me.”
He has healed me in many ways already; He continues to heal me now; and one day He will heal me completely - whether that happens in this life or when the Kingdom of God is fully realized, I don’t know.
Remember today that our Savior has “gentle, healing hands,” that he is “full of compassion” (James 5:11), and that we should never be deterred from crying for his help.
Lord Jesus, help us not to be deterred from crying to you. Remind us of your compassion. Hear us and heal us.
*Mark gives us his name in Mark 10:46.
Lori Smith is a writer whose books include A Walk with Jane Austen and The Jane Austen Guide to Life. She's been a member of The Falls Church Anglican for 14 years, and lives here in Falls Church with her golden retriever, Franny (who was named for St. Francis but has a long way to go!).