A beam of sunlight shines through a window in the bell tower of Trinity Church Wall Street

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: The Persistent Faith of Bartimaeus

MARK 10:46–52

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

The account of Bartimaeus in Mark’s Gospel is located just prior to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem; it is Jesus’ final healing miracle. Since blindness can be both a physical condition and a symbol for ignorance, it is notable that blind Bartimaeus is the very one who accurately and openly identifies Jesus. Because of his faith, he sees more than the sighted. And he not only sees Jesus, but follows him “on the way,” renouncing what little he has. Bartimaeus, it seems, may understand the demands of discipleship more than the disciples do.

Notice how some of the bystanders attempted to silence Bartimaeus, scolding him for making a fuss as he called out for help, while others tune in to Jesus’ quick response and encourage Bartimaeus: “Take heart, get up, he is calling you.” Bartimaeus answers the call. He models the true disciple as one with the vision to put aside doubt and unbelief, to follow Jesus to the cross…and beyond. Where do I fit in to this story? Can I see myself showing the courage and persistent faith of Bartimaeus? What will I ask Jesus to do for me? —Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones


Millions of people around the world pray The Jesus Prayer each day, echoing the cry of Bartimaeus. You can, too.


Bartimaeus demonstrates that he understands far more than those “hungry for religious, economic and political power.”


Depictions of Jesus healing Bartimaeus in global art from Canada to Cameroon.


“Open My Eyes, Lord, I want to love like you…”


On seeing the dignity and grace in every human being “on the way,” read Langston Hughes’, “I Look at the World.”