It was a hot day in Jericho. Bartimaeus took his place along the side of the road, hoping that people would be generous today. He was hungry. A few coins would buy a bit of bread.
He settled in, feeling the warmth of the sun on his face, even though he couldn't see the light. He sighed. If only there was something productive a blind man could do. He didn't want to be a lowly beggar, relying on others for everything from his meager meals to his ragged garments.
Bartimaeus could hear people milling around, more people than normal. A crowd seemed to be gathering. That was strange. He listened more closely. There were whispers all around. “Him!” “He's coming!” “Who?” Bartimaeus asked. “Jesus of Nazareth, the miracle worker, the prophet!”
Jesus of Nazareth. Bartimaeus had heard rumors about this Man, how He had healed others, people no one else had been able to help. A glimmer of hope flickered to life within him. Could this Jesus change his life? Could He heal him? Was it even possible?
The crowd grew noisier. Bartimaeus could sense their anticipation. Then, suddenly, silence. He was here.
Bartimaeus didn't stop to think. The hope in his heart welled up and flowed out. “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
Hisses erupted on every side. “Shh...” “Don't speak, beggar.” “Be quiet!”
He couldn't be quiet. He cried out more loudly still. “Son of David, have pity on me!”
Silence again. The moments passed. Then he heard a voice. “Call him here.”
Who, me? Bartimaeus thought. Me?
He could sense people approaching him. “Take courage,” someone said softly. “Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
Bartimaeus hesitated no longer. He sprang up and threw off his cloak. He needed no guidance to get to Jesus. Somehow he knew just where to find Him. His presence was so strong. Standing before Him, Bartimaeus found himself speechless.
Then a gentle voice spoke. “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus' heart nearly burst from his chest. “Master, I want to see!”
The answer came. So calm. So gentle. So loving. “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
And he could see. The world was bright once more. The light flooded his eyes. Color surged around him. But he stared straight ahead...directly at the Man Who had just removed his blindness.
Bartimaeus couldn't express what he was feeling at that moment. He was too overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. But he knew one thing. He would follow Jesus wherever He went...forever.