Do you know anyone who is satisfied with the way things are? There seems to be something inside each of us that wants to reach beyond our self and touch something “more.”
We are each plagued by a kind of holy discontent.
In our own way, we are each crying out for mercy. We are each, deep in our souls, longing for an experience with God.
Surely God will hear our cries and respond to our longings. Even now, as we read, reflect, and pray, may we hold out hope that God will sneak up on us in the form of forgiveness, acceptance, peace, joy, and love.
Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!”
In today’s text we meet Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus. And we’re told that he’s a “blind beggar.” Sitting on the side of the road, he looks like every other needy person. However, in the first century he was also a guilty person, because anyone with a disability was thought to have done something to deserve it. The author doesn’t give us any hints as to whether it was his sin or the sin of his parents that resulted in this punishment from God, but either way, everyone would’ve still looked at him and thought the same thing: “I wonder what he did wrong.”
Can you imagine what it was like for Bartimaeus, not only living with a disability, but constantly being judged by everyone because you were blind, as if you did something so bad that God decided to take away your sight as a punishment?
I imagine Bartimaeus knew what it was like to feel hopeless. Yet when he hears Jesus passing by, he cries out for mercy, showing all of us what it looks like to wholeheartedly trust Jesus.
God, sometimes I wrestle with feelings of guilt, both for things I’ve done and for things I haven’t done. So I come to you today and plead for mercy, trusting that in and through Christ I’m forgiven and made whole. Please help me to accept your forgiveness and to live in freedom. Amen.
Mercy is truly a grace-filled gift, one that is offered to all of us in and through Christ.
“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner (1973)