Jesus blows through Jericho today. In a half a verse he came to Jericho and left, with a large crowd in tow. We don't know what happened in Jericho. Perhaps nothing, perhaps he just wandered through, or perhaps he did untold acts of mercy and kindness and miracles. But what we do know is that at leaving Jericho there was a great crowd traveling with him and there was a blind beggar on the side of the road. I have never understood why this blind beggar, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, is so explicitly named, while so many others Jesus cures are not.
Be that as it may, in this crowd passing him by, Bartimaeus believes exists someone who can help him. He continually shouts Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" even though he was hushed by those around him. Think of the tumult around Jesus and yet he hears a cry for mercy and stops and has the petitioner brought to him. Jesus reaches out from that cacophony of noise, from the middle of the maelstrom he is traveling in, and asks Bartimaeus what he wants. And then grants that request.
I have often wondered if I would have the presence of mind, the nerve, the understanding to know how to respond if Jesus asked me What do you want me to do for you? Nevertheless, I do draw strong solace from knowing that in the cacophony of a world in which we live, Jesus can still stop in the middle of the maelstrom and offer help to one who needs it.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.