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(Overheard near the outskirts of Jericho.)

“What’s going on up there?”

“It’s a mob coming this way—a bunch of people I don’t recognize.”

“It’s a big mob. Some of them have passed through here before.”

“Following around that upstart rabbi, I think. The one who makes outrageous claims.”

“You mean who’s got the synagogue leaders all worked up? He would draw a crowd. With the size of that mob, you could be right.”

“Is that him there, in the middle?”

“Yeah, that could be him.”

“Hey! Who are you guys talking about?”

“Shoot. It’s the beggar again, always butting in and making demands.”

“He makes no sense. And it’s no wonder—he can’t see a thing. Ignore the idiot.”

“Are you guys talking about Jesus?”

“Huh. Stick Man might actually be right. I think that is what they call him, Jesus.”

“Mercy! Have mercy! Son of David, is that you?”

“Hey! Pipe down! This isn’t about you.”

“Who told him?”

“I don’t know. Who would tell a useless stick anything?”

“Son of David! Mercy! Have mercy of me, Son of David!”

“Why can’t you be invisible for once!”

“The guy spoils every parade that comes through here. Always begging, making everything about him.”

“Insists on making a scene.”

“Worse than a dog that won’t stop barking.”

“Mercy! Have mercy!”

“Garbage belongs in the dump!”

“Doesn’t matter if they’re nuts or lame, blind or runts, lepers, deaf.…They’re a drain on everybody. Worthless trash.”

“Here he comes. Look!”

“Son of David! Mercy! Have mercy of me, Son of David!”

“Hey! Enough already!”

“Shut! Up!”

“Please, help me! Son of David! I need you! Have mercy of me, Son of David!”

“Somebody stuff a rag in his mouth so he can’t speak or see.”

“Son of David! Mercy! Have mercy on me, Son of David!”

“Out of the way.”

“Now they’re moving this way. Wonder why?”

“What? What did you just say?”

“Come here, sir. Come to me.”

“He’s calling for somebody. Says he wants to see him.”

“Hey, Stick Man! He’s calling for you.”

“Come on, come on! Get over here. He wants to see you for some reason. Hurry up!”

“Move aside. Make way for the beggar. Let him through.”

“Over here. He’s over here.”

“Numbskull left all his stuff behind.”

“He’ll never see that again.”

“Good one! He’ll never ‘see’ it again regardless, even if no one walks off with it.”

“Son, this way. Here I am. I am the one you were calling for. What do you want?”

“Oh, Rabbi! Thank you for acknowledging me. Thank you for hearing my cry for help! No one ever listens to me.”

“I’m listening. What is it that do you want?”

“I need help. I have nothing. I’m alone, I get ridiculed all day long. No one thinks I belong here. I’m spit at, pushed aside. I can’t see. I have to depend on others, but I’m treated like crap. No one talks to me. They won’t come near me, like I’m contagious or something.”

“I am sorry. What do you want, Son? I’m listening.”

“Rabbi, I want my life back. I can be part of this town. I want to be understood. I want to be known as more than a nuisance or a piece of trash. I want to live again.”

“Bartimaeus, I see you, and my Father sees you. You are loved. What is it that you want from me?”

“Thank you, holy man of God! I want to see again. It’s the only chance I have of being accepted. Son of David, I know you can do this for me.”

“What incredible faith you have. Indeed, it saves you in every way. You are bold, and assertive, and persistent. Bartimaeus, your sight is restored. Be at peace with yourself and be at peace with others.”

“Oh, my. Light! It’s so bright! I need to shield my eyes. I can’t believe it. All praise to you, Son of David. You are unlike any other! Thank you for lifting my darkness and giving light to my eyes. Rabbi, I want to stay close to you. I want to join you and learn from you.”

—Adapted from Mark 10:46-52



Terry DeYoung

Terry DeYoung is a longtime disability advocate and promoter of accessible, anti-ableist communities that welcome and benefit from the gifts and experiences of all people. A Chicago native, he left a career in sportswriting to pursue ordination in the Reformed Church in America, serving as a pastor, magazine editor, and denominational staff member in Disability Concerns until his retirement in 2023.

Terry is married to Cindi Veldheer DeYoung, a hospital chaplain and advocate for living donor transplantation. They share their home in Holland Michigan with Dexter, a lively Brittany Spaniel. Among other things, they enjoy traveling, boating, baseball, craft beer, and all things Chicago.


  • RZ says:

    “What incredible faith you have. Indeed it ‘saves’ you in every way.” A powerful paraphrase, and an accurate one, I believe. How much of life and of the gospel do we miss with a shallow and self-centered concept of “getting saved.” This is a thoughtful and helpful exploration of the text.

  • Mark S. Hiskes says:

    Thanks, Terry, for bringing to life so powerfully this man’s story of faith.

  • James C Dekker says:

    Thank you for reminding us we need more light and Light every morning in these very dark times. This meditation gave me a lump in the throat.

  • Mark Stephenson says:

    Terry, well done. Thank you. You bring home the point nicely that the man was ostracized from his community, and Jesus provided him with the opportunity to be restored into community. The opposite sadly is true too. Years ago, I taught a group about ableism, and one of the participants told his story. He had been sighted, and was an active participant in his community and his family until he lost his sight. Then his community and his family excluded him. He gave the example that the family had to make decisions about what to do about caring for their aging parents. But they refused this man’s thoughts and contributions to this conversation, because he was blind. In fact, they wouldn’t allow him to be in the room with them while they had this discussion. I suspect he would have said the same as Bartimaeus in your paraphrase, “Thank you, holy man of God! I want to see again. It’s the only chance I have of being accepted. Son of David, I know you can do this for me.”

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