Level 3, Lesson 19
Poor blind Bartimaeus felt very lonely and sad as he sat by the roadside near the city gate of Jericho. All day long he had been there in the heat and dust, calling to passers-by to drop a coin into his wooden bowl.
He had sat there every day for so long that quite a large number of people knew him.
“Pity the blind!” he cried when he heard someone passing. “Spare a coin for the poor blind man.”
But no one seemed to take much notice today. Soon Bartimaeus knew why. He had heard everyone talking about Jesus. “Jesus is in Jericho,” he heard one man say. “He is doing many wonderful things. The people are taking their sick friends to Him to be healed.”
No one wanted to stop and talk to Bartimaeus; they were all hurrying to see Jesus.
How Bartimaeus wished he could go too. Perhaps if he could only speak to Jesus, He would give him his sight. But there was no one to help him to find Jesus.
Bartimaeus sat there feeling very unhappy. Suddenly his sharp ears caught the sound of many feet, as though a great crowd of people were coming towards him. He listened carefully. Yes, he could hear voices, too — many voices all talking together. There must be a very great crowd. What could it mean?
“Why, of course,” thought Bartimaeus suddenly. “It must be Jesus. He is coming this way out of the city. Now is my chance. If only I can speak to Him. I know He will give me my sight.”
The people were quite close now. He heard someone near him. “Who is it?” cried Bartimaeus. “Tell me who is coming.”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” shouted a man as he ran past. There was such a great noise that poor Bartimaeus wondered if he would ever make himself heard.
“Jesus,” he called loudly, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
“Be quiet, be quiet,” said someone roughly. “Jesus doesn’t want to be bothered with you.”
But Bartimaeus shouted louder than ever: “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me! Jesus, Jesus.”
All at once the noisy crowd became quiet. Then Bartimaeus heard a clear kind voice saying, “Bring him to me.”
Someone touched his shoulder, saying, “Be comforted, Bartimaeus. Get up. Jesus is calling you.”
Bartimaeus did not wait for anyone. He jumped up, threw down his coat, and ran forward.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” asked Jesus.
“Lord, that I may receive my sight,” replied Bartimaeus trembling with hope.
Jesus spoke again. “Go your way,” He said quietly. “Your own faith has made you see.”
As Jesus spoke everything became light to Bartimaeus. He could see the blue sky, the sunshine, the crowd of people, and, best of all, the kind face of Jesus bending over him and smiling.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” he cried. “You have given me God’s great gift, the gift of sight.”