Summary: Miracle of Faith, Pt. 6
RAGS TO RICHES (MARK 10:46-52)
Joel Gregory told a story of a blind, poor and hungry Indian beggar who sat beside a road, starved from the scarcity of travelers and how much rice they could give him. One day he heard the thunder of a chariot in the distance. It was the grand entourage of the Maharajah, who was known to have performed miracles for the poor. This was a moment that had never come before. Surely the Great One would stop and give him baskets of rice.
Indeed, the golden chariot of the Maharajah stopped before the poor beggar. The Great One stepped down and the beggar fell before him. However, the beggar couldn’t believe the stinginess of the Great Maharajah, who said to him, “Give me your rice.”
An unpleasant, a repulsive, dark scowl masked the face of the beggar. He reached into his bowl and flung a grain of rice toward the Maharajah. The Great One said, “Is that all?” Next, the beggar spat on the ground, cursed and, in disgust, threw him another grain of rice. The Great One turned, entered his chariot and was gone.
The beggar – angry, moody and grouchy - fingered the remaining rice he had in his bowl. He felt something hard, glistening, something different from rice. He pulled it out. It was a grain of gold. He poured out his rice, caring nothing for it now and found another grain of gold. The poor beggar regretted what he had done. If only had he trusted the Great One, he would have had a grain of gold for every grain of rice! (Adapted, Pulpit Helps 2/93)
When Jesus passed Jericho on the way to Jerusalem, he healed blind Bartimaeus (Lk 18:37), who never stopped shouting for His help, asking for His mercy and clamoring for His attention. Jericho, historically, was famous for its falling walls (Josh 6:26). It was a dangerous place for travelers, as told fictionally by Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:30), but it was a redemptive spot not only for the beggar Bartimaeus but also for the tax-collector Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1). Mark’s gospel differs from Matthew’s gospel (20:29-34) by focusing only on one blind beggar, not two, and differs from Luke’s account (18:35-43) by naming the blind and personalizing him.
Is faith a sympathy for one’s plight, a sadness for one’s troubles? Why is faith a positive response and not a negative or passive to God’s goodness? Why is faith the surest riches, reserve and resource in the eyes of God?
Let Your View Be Known
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mk 10:46-47)
People with disability are often picked on, cast aside and taken lightly. Not only do they suffer from emotional insecurities, they have to endure physical inconveniences and social insinuations. Blind people are a challenge to the most supportive family, an eyesore to the most tolerant public and a target of most neighborhood bullies. They suffer injuries, accidents and even death at the hands of ignorant family members who consider them a taboo, a punishment and a freak.