Lent | 3.31.12
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 10:32-34, 46-52
In today’s reading from Mark, scripture invites us to follow along the road with Jesus and his disciples on their last trip together to Jerusalem. As they begin, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be condemned to die; worse, he will die in a humiliating, painful way. So how do the disciples respond? They begin arguing over who Jesus’ favorite is. This is a strange response after hearing of the gruesome death that awaited their beloved leader. We humans get a little confused sometimes thinking our gifts from God were earned, not given.
As Jesus and his disciples continued on this fateful trip, they attracted a crowd that drew the attention of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus wanted to see. He told that to the disciples, twice. Then the impossible happened. Jesus said “come.” How did Bartimaeus respond? Unlike the debating disciples, he responded with his body, jumping up, shedding his cloak and coming to Jesus.
When Bartimaeus shed his clothing, he stood “naked,” or public before God (Mark 10:50-51). He leaves his old life, his blindness, and enters a new life in which he totally commits to Jesus, traveling with the group going to Jerusalem.
Today’s gospel asks us to consider what we may be blind to—maybe it’s the beauty of what happens in our daily lives, like the crocus that heralds spring. Maybe it’s the gift of simply being with a friend and recognizing it as a holy time.
What do you need to see this Lent? For some, it may be seeing that each of us is a beloved child of God and that’s both the beginning and end of the story. A preacher friend of mind once said at the end of a long career “every sermon I ever preached was trying to say Jesus loves you.” I think Bartimaeus knew that Jesus loved him because of the way he acted. He jumped up and began a new way of living.
Consider in what ways you are like the beggar who waits and then responds to the call with his whole being. Then consider in what ways you are like the disciples who are concerned with their ranking. Mostly, remember that all of those who travel to Jerusalem are also the beloved children of God, just like you.
Professor, English Department
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at: http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf