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What do you want me to do for you?

October 28, 2012

What do you want me to do for you?
How many times over our life have we heard today’s lesson in the Gospel from Mark? I remember many times when this story of Jesus’ coming into and then leaving Jericho was the focus of many sermons. For me those sermons focused on people telling Bartimaeus to leave Jesus alone. But have you ever asked who was Bartimaeus (Βαρτιμαιος)? In this text, we can assume that he was “Blind” and the Son of Timaeus. (τιμαιον)
Well let’s start with the latter Bar-timaeus means son of Timaeus. Why is Timaeus (Τιμαιον) so very important that the Gospel writer uses his name? Does any one know who he really is? Some may think he is the Greek historian from the 340 B.C.E. or one of Plato’s character? In researching this I do not think that Mark would have know these stories. But I really believe that here in Markian gospel there are even more layers of understanding for us to look at. Of the four gospels we have in our canon, Mark’s is the simplest Greek. That is to say that Mark’s gospel is the Greek that the common people would have spoken where they could communicate with the travelers new to the area. The name Τιμαιον could, and probably, does refer to humanity, or the children of the world.
Let us ponder this for a moment…
How could humans be blind?
There were three major kinds of blindness in this world. Actual vision, Spiritual vision, and Seeing the kingdom of God breaking forth around them and us. In this passage it seems that all three are going on simultaneously.
In the Roman-Grecko world especially in Israel, for someone to be blind, sick or any other condition either he or she would have, is a result of him or her doing something unpleasing to God or even his or her parents doing something, and in turn that person would be unclean and was shunned from the community. We know how that can be, don’t we? Though out history, humans have often cast out people that did not fit into societal norms. Whoever has the power wants to keep the power and not share it. So, oppression occurs. If the powers that be, then or now take and scapegoat a group of people to make themselves feel better or distract those they rule over from the real issues that is still oppression.
How can children of the earth not really see?
It is easy.
Do we see when others are truly suffering? Do we allow ourselves to become distracted by things in this world that are not…allowing each of us in our daily journey to glorify God in every aspect of our lives? Have any of you watched the debates? This is dualism at its best. Dualism is the world attempt to keep us from living into who and whose we are. Dualism keeps us confused about the truth. God is truth.
What do I mean by dualism? Dualism is humanity’s attempt to live in both realms, the one of God and the one of the world. Yes we try so very hard to live in both. Look around. When we go shopping, do we see Christmas stuff already out? Aren’t the twelve days of Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany? Not during Advent or before that season even begins.
I believe that Jesus was pointing out that we are blinded, as the Pauline writer would say σαρξ, the flesh, our world.
However, do you think that we have allowed ourselves to confuse and exchange the words for flesh and the body. Yes, I know that I maybe be splitting hairs here, but the Greek words σωμα and σαρξ do not mean the same thing. σωμα is a gift from God, our bodies, and when we allow these bodies to glorify the Creator of the world. God looks at us and reflects back to Genesis and knows the body is good just as God proclaimed in the creation story. σαρξ, on the other hand becomes blinded when we live into that dualism I previously mentioned. Blinded by the world in our fallen state.
Wow that is fairly depressing isn’t it? We are the Bartimaeus and the Bahtimaeus‘ of the present time. But we are assisted in our journey away from this dualism, aren’t we? We have the living Christ Jesus. Even though, we may struggle in our own blindness… Jesus heals each and every one of our blindnesses where each of us can get up and walk with Jesus, Just as Bartimaeus did. All we just have to ask for the blessing and strength to follow.
Are we ready to walk with Jesus? That is a question each of us must ask ourselves. No one can answer it, but individually. However, as a community of faithful we can join each other in the journey.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Creator, bless each of us with your grace and courage to live into the vision you have set forth for each of us. May we encourage all those we meet along the way in the path before us. May we help, aid and assist each other in this faith community to regain our sight to stop the oppression and hatred against your people we meet on the journey before us. We ask this in your Son, our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. AMEN.

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