Nothing has ever been the same since that day. Well, how could it be? My whole life changed in an instant.
I was a beggar, now I am not; I was despised and rejected, now I have a place in society; and I was blind but now I can see.
My name is Bartimaeus, and I was born blind. There was much debate at the time as to whose fault that was, mine or my parents or even their parents. Something to do with the sins of the father I think, I didn’t much know or care. All I know is that I was blind, but Jesus made me see.
It was a day like any other. I was up early and out on the road, I needed to get a good spot, needed to get money to feed the family, and there is not much else for a blind man to do, so begging it was.
To begin with all I heard was the everyday chatter of the street, and the sound of a few coins being tossed into my plate. But gradually I could sense the excitement rising in everyone. The noise increased and I could feel a rush of activity all around me.
What was it?
What was going on?
“Jesus is coming,” someone shouted at last.
Jesus the teacher, prophet and healer. Jesus, I had heard of Him – His reputation was going before Him – that was for sure.
I knew I wanted to talk with Him. Maybe He could heal me, I had thought optimistically.
I shouted too, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd laughed at me and told me to keep quiet, not to bother the teacher. Why would He want to talk to you anyway, they said. I shouted louder, “Jesus, pity me!”
Suddenly, someone was whispering in my ear and helping me to my feet. “Hush, He is calling you.” I stopped, His hand touched my shoulder and He asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
What a dumb question, I thought, but it wasn’t. He knew what He was saying, and He wanted to know that I had weighed up my answer.
I paused. “I want to see,” I said.
“Then go,” He told me, “Wash in the stream and see, your faith has healed you.”
So I went, and washed, and just as He said I would, I could see. A whole inquisition followed, questions from priests and the crowd alike.
Questions for me, my parents and my whole family. Questions, for most of which I didn’t know the answer. All I could tell them was that I was blind, Jesus touched me, and now I can see.
With many peaceful blessings