Throughout this season of Lent, we have read of Jesus and how his ministry drew more and more people to seek him out. Indeed, throngs surrounded Jesus. I’m struck by the question of how to seek when one cannot see. While this passage speaks of Bartimaeus, who was physically blind, we are all blind to so much, and often seek from our own darkness.
Bartimaeus cries out and seeks Jesus in the way he can. He cries out and will not be set aside by those who rebuke him and tell him to be quiet. I don’t know what those rebukers were thinking, yet can speculate from my own experience of having felt rebuked in the past, that his way of seeking didn’t make sense to the others. Might they have thought it rude or boastful? Some sense of “know your place” – that he would be better off groveling, or hiding himself?
I recall a time when I was still bumbling around in the dark. I knew Jesus, but felt trapped somehow in silence and a sense of heavy despair. My family history and messages I had learned when I was younger twisted the truth, and I had a hard time shaking despair. I heard the accusing message, “Who are you to receive the love of God?!” I sought out prayer from two elders at my church at the time, one man and one woman. I wanted healing, and for it to reflect God’s good creation. I cried out! God met me in this time. I heard a healing message, from a man who spoke from a perspective of a loving father. Reflecting God the Father. I also received a blessing through the woman who anointed the time of prayer with a clear message that God both knew my particular pains and loved me where I was. Reflecting the Holy Spirit. She also shared the words, “Do not stand on the side of your accuser.” Reflecting Jesus Christ, who was wrongfully accused, yet is our hope for the future.
Bartimaeus too cries out! He calls out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” as one in the throng who recognized Jesus’ Messianic nature. His seeking without eyesight allowed for insights to our triune God that others missed. Jesus, with keen perception, hears this cry from the throng, stops, and calls to Bartimaeus in return. Bartimaeus springs up and comes to Jesus. After asking for another type of sight, Jesus proclaims that Bartimaeus’ faith has made him well and heals him. Immediately, he recovers his sight and follows Jesus.
During this Lenten time, and all your days, let no one stop you as you seek Jesus and cry out for him. Jesus shines out God’s glory, and sends his Spirit to meet you. He came to draw us out of darkness and into His light. We look forward to and remember that the glory of the Lord will shine out. We will see in ways we never imagined, and the darkness will be driven out. Seek and you will find.
Kate Burke Gibbs is a sojourner, mostly through CA and DC, and is currently living and celebrating newlyweddedness with her husband Steve in Cleveland Park. A lover of God’s majestic nature - sea, air and land - she holds hope for authentic living and reflecting God’s glory.