The odds were stacked against Bartimaeus. He was blind. He was a beggar. He lived in Jericho, a town meaning “cursed”. (Joshua cursed it when he captured it.) His name means “son of Timaeus” and the word “Timaeus” means a “nasty or corrupt man”. The blind beggar, son of a good-for-nothing, living in the cursed city.

On the day when Jesus came to town Bartimaeus probably wasn’t expecting anything special to happen. But he capitalised on his assets. He might have been blind but he wasn’t deaf and he had a strong voice. When he heard it was Jesus of Nazareth he began shouting out to catch his attention.

Bartimaeus wasn’t bothered about public opinion. They all told him to shut up but he shouted out all the more. He knew that this man Jesus could make things better for him. So he shouted all the louder. Being helped was more important than being thought respectable.

Beggars wore a special coat or cloak of camel hair that got them noticed more easily. When Jesus told the people to bring him over Bartimaeus threw the cloak off. He was going to be seen for what he really was, not just a beggar. He jumped up and went over to Jesus to beg his mercy and favour. The story ends with his sight being restored and him following Jesus along the road…without his cloak.

What’s your handicap in life? Is it some physical illness? Are you held back by your environment? Is it perhaps some spiritual blindness or habit that you’re desperate to overcome? Do you let yourself be put down by what others think of you? Do you feel sometimes like you’ve got a cloak? Do you want to be helped and if so what do you do to make it a reality? How do you capitalise on what you do have; you might be blind but you’ve got ears and a tongue.

Sometimes we have to take the plunge and throw off the cloak that drags us down. Because until we shout out to Jesus, there’s little chance of our blindness being cured.


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