Summary: If you could have one desire filled, what would it be?
Three men had been stranded on an island for ten years when they discovered a bottle which had washed up on the shore overnight. In their struggle to claim the precious cargo all three rubbed the bottle. Instantly a genie appeared. Unable to determine the proper ownership of the bottle the genie decided to grant each man one wish.
The genie asked the first man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The man replied, “I haven’t seen my children in ten years. They are so grown up by now. I want to return home as if these ten years had never passed and be able to play with my children again.”
“Granted”, the genie said and immediately the man was at home swinging and laughing with his children.
The genie asked the second man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The man replied, “I have missed my mom’s cooking so much but I am afraid she has passed away by now. I want to return home as if these ten years had never passed and be able to have supper with my mom.”
“Granted”, the genie said and immediately the man was at his mom’s house eating fried chicken and corn-on-the-cob.
Suddenly their was a rush of wind and they found themselves back on the island with their companion.
“What happened?”, they asked.
“Well, the genie asked me ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ and I said ‘It’s sure lonely without those other guys here.’ So here you are.
Last week we discussed a woman who had a medical problem that had been on going for twelve years. This bleeding had made her unclean by Jewish law; therefore, she had been an outcast from society. She had not been allowed in the temple to atone for her sins for twelve years. Everything and everyone she would meet would be declared unclean. She was financially bankrupt from medical bills and was dying. Her only hope was Jesus.
If you remember, Jesus was in the midst of a great crowd of people pressing in on him in hopes of getting his attention. It was in this atmosphere that she reached out and touched Jesus. Suddenly He felt power go out from him. For the first time something unclean had touched something clean and had become clean. She was instantly healed.
Soon Jesus would hear of the death of John the Baptist. Shortly afterwards Peter would witness and participate in Jesus walking on water. Soon Peter along with James and John would see Jesus’ earthly body transfigured into a heavenly body. Jesus would predict his own death and make it known that He is the Son of God. He would raise his friend Lazarus from the dead. The religious leaders begin their plot to have him killed.
So it is in this setting that we meet our next character. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for Passover where He will be arrested and crucified. As He goes, He reaches Jericho.
Mark 10:46-47 “Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
This man deserves a closer look. His name is actually not known. We have always referred to him as “blind Bartimaeus.” But that was not his name. Bartimaeus meant “son of Timaeus.” The name Timaeus meant, “Honor” and it was not a Jewish name. Timaeus was a Greek name. Therefore, it is possible that the beggar’s father was a Greek perhaps married to a Jewish woman. Like so many others, we have seen the beggar would not have lived to achieve his father’s expectations. Son of honor may have been an embarrassment to his father and certainly one who seems to have been cursed according to Jewish tradition.
As we have read, the beggar is sitting outside of Jericho on the road that led to Jerusalem. He is unable to work. There were no welfare programs or charitable institutions that would help him. Someone would have taken him there daily. Perhaps it was a friend or maybe someone who got a portion of the money that the beggar collected. Each day he would be placed there at the side of the road and each evening he would have been taken back home. His entire life was based on the dependency of others.
This day was different. The crowd was much larger than usual. He could hear excited voices. And one name seemed to be said repeatedly, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” Being on the main road day in and day out, he would have heard travelers talking about this miracle worker. He would have heard about the lepers being healed, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. He would have heard about demons fleeing and the dead being raised.