an ancient crowded middle eastern street

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Jeremiah 33:10-16; Mark 10:32-34, 46-52

"Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Blind Bartimaeus is one of those famous stories. It’s one that I distinctly remember from my childhood and Sunday School.

I was stopped dead in my tracks this morning though as I read it again.

“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet…"

Every time I read a story about healing it forces me to ask a question about people on the margins of the community. You see, in every case of healing by Jesus we see him bring someone from being outside the community, outside of relationship with others, to a place of being in community. It really isn’t about the physical healing (though that is a significant perk!). It is really about the person who was held at arm’s length being brought fully into the community.

This story has me thinking about the rebuke that was being levied by the people. These people were part of a great crowd leaving Jericho with Jesus. Likely, they were some of the people who would soon be celebrating his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

These were, in a very real sense, followers of Jesus.

When a blind man is calling out for Jesus they respond with rebuke.

I wonder if in our world today we are seeing many people who find themselves outside the religious establishment and yet want to be with Jesus calling out only to experience rebuke?

The one the followers of Jesus rebuked was the one for whom Jesus stopped.

Let that sink in.

The one the followers of Jesus rebuked was the one for whom Jesus stopped.

As I enter into the coming holy week, I want to stop for the same people Jesus stopped for. Oh that I would not ignore those calling out for Jesus above the rebuke of his followers!