We all know that faith is a powerful force. Faith in one’s own ability contributes toward success in any field of endeavour. If passengers have faith in their driver they will be relaxed, but if they do not have faith in the driver they will either refuse to travel with him or her or will be anxious and fearful throughout the trip. The effect of a placebo taken instead of some prescribed medicine also reminds us of the powerful effect that faith has. Faith healers can be found all around the world relying on this power of faith to heal the sick without recourse to medical science. Even with mainline medicine the patient’s faith in the doctor contributes to the effectiveness of the treatment. So, when Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “Go; your faith has made you well”, was he simply affirming the power of human faith? Was Jesus just another faith healer? The blind man’s faith certainly came into it, but it was whom he was placing his faith in that made the difference. In crying out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” it is clear that Bartimaeus put his faith in Jesus as the God-sent messianic healer of the world’s troubles. It was not just his faith that healed him: it was the one in whom he placed his faith. When he regained his sight, he followed Jesus on the way and, it could be, that the man’s name was given special mention by Mark in his gospel because he was known to people in the early Church as one who belonged to them. The story in Mark 10 can become a call to us to place our faith in God for the healing of our own blindness – our blindness to God’s presence and power in the world, our blindness to the needs of others, our blindness to the saving grace of God. By faith in God made known by Jesus we are enabled to see without the usual distortions of our materialistic and ego-centric society. Like Bartimaeus, we then follow Jesus on the way.
- Who are some of the people that you place your faith in in everyday life?
- If Jesus said to you, as he said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” what would you say?
- Faith in God makes us see the world differently. How differently?
- How can we follow Jesus on the way?