This chapter is all about Jesus teaching. There’s a teaching about marriage in divorce (vv. 1-12); followed by an object lesson with the Rich Man (vv. 17-31); Jesus turns the ambition of James and John (vv. 35-45) into a teaching lesson with the curing of blind Bartimaeus (vv. 46-52).
Interspersed between these teaching moments Jesus, constantly on the move, blesses the children (vv. 13-16) and also makes yet another prediction about his own Passion (vv. 32-34). Again, the action is quick and Jesus is quickly approaching that for which he was sent. There is no holding back or slowing down.
The interaction with the rich man and the one with James and John have a similar lesson to teach. Jesus is trying to make clear, as he’s done before, the reality of the Kingdom of God and who gets in and who doesn’t. He makes it clear: not those inordinately attached to riches or those with ego-driven ambition, but those who are childlike- children who trust in the providential care of God the Father who loves us and care for us as a parent loves and cares for their children. The conversation with the rich man, James and John should give us pause and invite us to reflect on this idea of being child-like in the presence of God.
Secondly, the interaction with Bartimaeus is also rich with significance. Bartimaeus is blind and does not ‘see’. But he knows enough of this Jesus to venture a guess at his true Identity. And so, he throws it out there: “Jesus, Son of David (a Messianic title), have pity on me!” The blind man sees who Jesus is even though he’s blind. James, John, the rich man from early, they don’t see. What can that teach us about faith and trust. Then notice what happens: Bartimaeus approaches the Lord, confident that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, and what does Jesus say to him: “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man makes he request, and Jesus grants it without hesitation.
Wow- there’s our point for prayer.
Point for Prayer
Pray with Bartimaeus. Imagine being called by Jesus to stand in front of him and to have him ask you that question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Go to a place of quiet with Jesus and answer his question because he’s asking you in the same way he asked Bartimaeus.