Jesus performed many miracles during his three-year ministry, from turning water into wine at the beginning to the second miraculous catch of fish towards the end. He also healed people, lots of people, with approximately two-thirds of his recorded miracles involving healing, and that doesn’t include casting out evil spirits or raising from the dead.
So, healing people was important to Jesus, important enough for him to give two-thirds of his supernatural, miraculous, transforming energy to it. But time and time again he used the opportunity to heal someone as a practical way of teaching us something else. Something that is as equally relevant for us today as it was 2,000 years ago.
Reference/read: Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10: 46-52, Luke 18:35-43
Key word/phrase: “Son of David”
Surprise: Jesus asked Bartimaeus a question, rather than assuming what he wanted and deciding on his behalf.
Key teaching verse: v51 (Mark’s Gospel)
‘“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.’
Jesus had walked the road to Jericho many times, he must have passed where Bartimaeus begged at the side of the road before, but on this occasion Bartimaeus called out to him “Son of David (recognising Jesus’ title) have mercy on me!”. What happened next for Bartimaeus happens today to so many disabled people, he was told to be quiet, not to be a bother, but Jesus heard him and asked for him to be brought to him. Now as a man, Jesus knew that Bartimaeus was blind; as God made flesh he knew what he wanted from him, but did he act on the assumption and just heal him? No, he did something really important first, he asked him a question… “What do you want me to do for you?”
The gathered crowd must have been incredulous, but by asking the question Jesus gave Bartimaeus dignity and respect and allowed him to express what was on his heart… “Rabbi, I want to see.” We could do a lot worse that to follow Jesus’ lead when we meet someone with a disability, asking what we could do for them rather than assuming that we know.
- Do we tell disabled people to be quiet?
- Why is it better to ask disabled people what we can do for them than to assume?
- What can we learn by asking?
Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director for Urban Saints’ pioneering additional needs ministry, including training, consultancy, conference speaking and resourcing. Find out more and help support this ministry here.
Find out more:
Read Mark’s blog post, ‘Accessible Jesus: Modelling Inclusion’ to further unpack this story.
You can also watch the video of a talk given by Mark at Frinton Free Church that shares more about this teaching.
You can read more of Mark’s blog posts by visiting https://theadditionalneedsblogfather.com/