The seventh window in the series of stained-glass windows in the Calvary Church sanctuary is a depiction of the healing of blind Bartimaeus found in Mark 10:46-52.
Those who study the Bible have determined there is a repeating pattern to the stories in which Jesus offers healing or some other miracle. First, the setting is established, then a need arises, then Jesus offers a miracle that addresses that need, and there is a response to that miracle either by the person in need or a crowd of witnesses or both. In the story of Bartimaeus, Jesus is leaving the town of Jericho together with his disciples and a sizable crowd. A blind man named Bartimaeus is sitting along the side of the road and hears that Jesus is coming. He begins to shout “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” There were many that tried to get the man to be quiet, but he just kept on shouting. He cries out for mercy. He stakes his claim. The obstacle that was to be overcome was not his blindness. Rather it was the crowd who tried to deny him the opportunity to cry out for help. They wanted him to be silent rather than make his request to Jesus.
Jesus’ response was to tell the crowd that this man’s cries have been heard. “Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him forward.’” When Bartimaeus came to him, Jesus asked him a question: “What do you want me to do for you?” The window shows his arms are raised and hands lifted in petition while his gaze is fixed ahead of him.
The restoration of sight was a miracle to be sure, but the deeper meaning of the story was hat Jesus stopped to show that even someone who was left out and seemed a nuisance was worthy of his attention. Bartimaeus believed in Jesus’s power and authority and also in his capacity to show mercy. He was not disappointed. “’Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (v. 52)
Sometimes the greatest obstacles to faith are created by others. We might be told that our needs are not worthy, that God doesn’t care for us, that some people are less important than others. But Jesus stopped to respond to one person on the side of the road who called for help. That is a comforting thought for all of us.
Grace and peace,