Does Blind Bartimaeus model for us how we ourselves ought to respond to Jesus? We could ask ourselves this, as we’re studying the story of his healing in Mark 10:46-52 for Sunday, September 19. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a couple more questions we might want to think about or discuss in class:
Bartimaeus has several meaningful qualities. His name, “son of Timaeus,” means something like “son of Honor / Honoring.” He’s blind – which means something literally and physically, but often also metaphorically and spiritually. He’s a beggar – same thing. He identifies Jesus as the “Son of David,” a messianic title. He leaves everything he has – his cloak, so not a lot – when he jumps up to answer Jesus’s call.
So we could ask ourselves: What are the ways we are like Bartimaeus? And what does that tell us about ourselves? What are the implications of those similarities?
And what are the ways we are not like Bartimaeus? And what does that tell us? What are the implications of those differences?
Do we wish we were more like Bartimaeus? Or, more different from him? Why?
The story takes place in Jericho, which is a well-known place from the history of Israel. What do we know about Jericho, and what do we suppose the significance of that place is in this story?
Do we ever have or have we had what we might call “Jericho moments” in our own lives? What were they, and how did God seem to us to be at work in those moments?
There are two kinds of unnamed participants in the “crowd” that’s following Jesus, and perhaps gathered along the roadside as well. “Many” tell Bartimaeus to be quiet when he starts shouting out to the “Son of David.” But then, some of “them” tell Bartimaeus to “take courage, get up, he calls you.” We can’t tell from the text whether the shushers and the encouragers are the same people at different times, or different people entirely.
How would we describe the voices around us, especially when it comes to our efforts to get closer to Jesus? And how would we describe our response to those voices? What can we learn from Bartimaeus’s response to the voices around him?
What kind of voice do we ourselves use? How do we feel about that? Is there anything we need to do about that?
Image: “Am Mittagstisch,” an image by Hermann Groeber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,