The subject of the day, as far as Mark’s gospel is concerned, is spiritual blindness. The healing of “Blind” Bartimaeus—an outcast beggar left at the side of the road—provides Mark’s commentary on the spiritual blindness of so many others. Religious authorities, insiders, and even the disciples were having trouble seeing and understanding Jesus, in essence blind to the nature of his mission. Bartimaeus is crying out for help. The religious authorities have labeled him “sinner.” The disciples want him silenced. But Jesus summons him and asks him the question, “what do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus speaks for the de-churched and the spiritually disenchanted everywhere when he answers “I want to see again.” For there are many in our world whose zeal for the Lord grows cold, whose warm memories of commitments made at youth camps fade, for whom the troubles of the world disenchant and struggles with sin storm their faith-citadels. Whether slowly or suddenly, the spiritual sight that pointed them to faith disappears, and they are left in a spiritual darkness, devoid of God.
Into such darks comes Jesus. Jesus calls. Jesus asks. Jesus asks, “what do you want me to do for you?” Will the spiritually blind be ready with an answer?