Daily Devotional for August 18
August 18 Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus arrives in Jericho, he hears the call of the beggar
Bartimaeus: "Have mercy on me!" The call of Bartimaeus is
often a difficult one for us to hear. Perhaps our difficulty lies
in not quite understanding the Biblical sense of mercy. For
us, mercy is most often associated with forgiveness, but for
the ancients, mercy was synonymous with compassion, whose
literal meaning is "to suffer with." The cry of Bartimaeus is
therefore a plea to Jesus to suffer with him, to feel his pain.
The townspeople, resisting the experiencing of another's pain,
attempt to silence Bartimaeus. Jesus, however, calls
Bartimaeus, inviting him into his life and asking him what he
wants. Bartimaeus answers: "Let me receive my sight." The
response of Jesus is simple: "Your faith has made you well."
This statement which accompanies the restoration of
Bartimaeus' sight is full of insight for us.
First of all, faith gives birth to insight. It is faith which enables
us to perceive the graciousness of God despite apparent
evidence to the contrary in our lives. In the midst of the
limitations on our lives, faith challenges us to see the presence
of God providing for us in our deepest need.
Secondly, Jesus affirms that Bartimaeus has the resources for
his own healing, resources that enable Bartimaeus to transform
his blindness into vision, his weakness into strength. It is not
that Jesus heals Bartimaeus, but that Bartimaeus' faith in Jesus
gives him new sight.
Let us take, then, the example of Bartimaeus, allowing Jesus
to be present in our pain so that we, too, may be empowered
for our own healing, finding God's loving care around us in
places where we least expect it.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989