Daily Archives: March 5, 2014

Numbers 34-36, Mark 10:32-52

Jesus unveils his painful death.

James and John try to make a power play for glory and are denied.

Bartimaeus humbles himself and is exalted.

After Jesus’ straight told talk of his torture and execution, the brothers must have looked right at each other without batting and eye and said, “Yeah, we can do that.” We’ve got what it takes. The point was completely lost on them.

They approach Jesus full of self-assurance.

“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

He asks if they can partake in his baptism, if they can join in his suffering. When the heat is off, when it’s just the inner circle, when lip service is as strong as steel, they respond, “We can do that.”

Jesus obliges their confidence, for surely their fate is similar to his in the end, but says the places of honor they have requested he cannot give.

Their request makes the other disciples indignant. Their act of self-importance isolates them from the group. What makes them think they’re so special? That they’re better than us?

Enter Bartimaeus.

He knows he is no one. He knows he is nothing, like the world has told him. Those maimed by a disease must have sinned or received the sin of their parents. In a pre-PC society, there were no “people with visual impairments.” Just blind guys.

Here is how he addresses Jesus:

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

People try to hold him back, dissuade him from talking to a Teacher. He will not be denied. He pushes back. When Jesus hears his cries, he runs to his Savior. He has full confidence in His ability and throws himself at Jesus’ mercy.

The magnitude of their requests aside, the key difference between James and John and Bartimaeus is the position they take before Jesus based on their perception of self.

So who had the more accurate view of them self?

The one who exalts Jesus.

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