This morning’s devotion is taken from Larry Parsley’s book An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark.

…they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52 NIV)

Sometimes, while I’m preaching, I’ll notice it out of the corner of my eye. A preschool worker has quietly slipped into the sanctuary, walked to the end of a pew, and gently signaled for a parent to follow her. We all quickly make our assumptions about the backstory. Likely, the workers have tried everything they could think of to calm a crying child—apple juice, crackers, stuffed animals, and pacifiers. But this kid is not having it. He wants one thing and one thing only—his parents.

Now, it’s not like the Jericho crowd is trying their best to “comfort” Bartimaeus. This blind man, whose day job was begging along the main road, must have heard snatches of conversation from passersby about Jesus coming through. That’s when Bartimaeus cried out the prayer that is at the center of every prayer: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” (vs. 47). The crowd rebuked him. Hush up, Jesus has far more important items on his agenda today than the likes of you. This brings us to one of my favorite phrases in this gospel—“but he shouted all the more…” (vs. 48).

Their attempts to quiet Bartimaeus only stoked the hunger in his soul. He wanted mercy, and he wanted vision, and ultimately he wanted Jesus (as becomes clear as he immediately follows Jesus after Jesus heals his eyes). The one thing Bartimaeus needed was the one thing only Jesus could provide—“have mercy on me.”

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us, too.