Old Bartimaeus


They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)


Old Bartimaeus, his

memory held in trembling hands,

gout and loss enveloping his muscles, bones,

sorrow wrapped around his mind;

does he remember that day so long ago, when all of life

stood still so he could see the colors of his world?


Remember sitting by the road,

blind and crying out to Jesus—

bellowing, really—desperate and terrified of

being overlooked yet one more time?

Remember that Jesus-crowd surging past, too busy

singing happy praise to notice some poor

bawling soul along their path? Remember

Jesus stopping, standing still? Remember

rush of wonder as he sensed he had

become the center of celestial awe—wind and

angels, saints and ancient stars all gazing down on

him in hushed respect, as David’s Son stood

still for him, for him, a lowly, raucous beggar, a

good-for-little blinded man? Remember Jesus

scooping up his eager faith, telling him to

go on his way—sighted, whole,

ecstatically jumping for joy?


So long ago.

He now himself stands often still, when he can

stand at all, his body so misshapen, his voice

mere whisper, his mind so tentative. But

now and then, a smile will crease his ancient face; his

eyes will shine with light, as he

recalls, imbibes, and claims that day when

Love stood still to drench his life with joy.


4 thoughts on “Old Bartimaeus

  1. Yes, doing better. Thanks. Always impressed, whenever I read this story that Jesus “stood still.” Amazing. And the incident prompts me, in my “older” age to reflect on moments when it seemed that Jesus stood still in my life or in the lives of those around me. Healing us, Correcting us. Challenging us. Whatever.

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