Those who follow the pericopes (balanced diet of lessons from the Bible) are aware of the possible disconnect with the rest of Scripture. Pastor Andy from Our Savior Lutheran Church of Gatlinburg bridged that lack recently as he bridged the texts from two consecutive Sundays.
The first was an insider request by two of Jesus’ disciples to sit on his right and left hand when Jesus establishes His kingdom. They understood His kingdom to be an earthly one which would remove the Romans from “standing on the necks” of the Jew. Sometimes “insiders” don’t understand the message clearly.
Then Pastor Andy yoked an outsider blind beggar Bartimaeus son of Timaeus with his view of Jesus. He calls Jesus Son of David clearly pointing to the Messianic tradition. Then he uses the personal expression “my teacher” as he asks to see again.
Two requests “What can I do for you?” Two different responses. One a request to receive a place of power and position by the insider and the other a request for healing of sight. Do we insiders sometimes miss the mark of what we should be asking of Jesus? Are we shortsighted and want only something for ourselves? Do we lose sight of the fact that Jesus gave only two commandments: love and tell as ways to spread the good news? Who are the least of these that we are to serve in Jesus’ name? Interesting that our eyes as insiders are closed to the most needy. Are our eyes open wide enough to see the need for dignity by moving from generosity to justice?
Please join Bartimaeus the outsider who truly knows the gifts Jesus wants to share and ask to see clearly in front of us and beyond our arms those who are the least of these. Pray the Holy Spirit will share a piercing gaze at us and reveal our undersized faith. May that same Spirit reveal our hypocrisy as He reveals our plank-eyed blind spots. May we have eyes to see that whatever our theology or Biblical understandings might be that they meet the test: they make us more loving!