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The story of Bartimeaus and the beggarly cloak. By Jeena Abraham
September 9, 2014

"And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way." (Mark 10:49-52)

I was reading this passage from Mark 10:46-52, a popular and familiar Bible story about Jesus and the blind Bartimeaus recorded in the New Testament.

In those days, begging was recognised as a profession and beggars wore a specific cloak which would identify them as such. We could call it as “Beggar’s “uniform”.  As we all know, a cloak could be very significant to a person. For some people, it may have been their only possession or property. Exodus 22:26-27 talks about how important it is for comfort, security and warmth.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that as Bartimeaus sat on the street begging for alms (money) because of his blindness, his ears were sharpened to the many voices around him that served as daily news. Bartimeaus was not ignorant or kept in the dark; he heard news from all over, from the people passing by as they carried on their conversations. Bartimeaus must have heard about Jesus in the conversations that passed by. He might have heard about his teachings, his miracle power and the mercy which he showed towards people. I’m sure he had a lot of time to ponder over this information and it allowed his faith to grow even before he had a divine intervention from the Master. When the time came for him to be called by Jesus, he did not hesitate or look back nor did it seem he even took a deep breath to calm himself. Scripture says, “he sprang to his feet.” It was like Bartimeaus was rehearsing in his mind the action he would take as his faith in Jesus was growing in leaps and bounds.

Another thing which caught my attention was that as soon as he heard Jesus calling his name, he threw off his cloak and sprang to his feet towards Jesus. It appeared Bartimeaus never for a nano second thought of holding on to his cloak “just in case”. Bartimeaus had come to the conclusion that he is not going to be the same again when the Master called him. It was as if he was role playing this scene over and over again in his mind. It seemed he never had even a shred of doubt that he will not be healed and he had made the decision to follow Jesus.

As humans, we also cling on to our cloak even if not literally. Our beggarly cloak could be anything from a past hurt to false insecurities.Bartimeaus threw aside his cloak making no provisions for “what if’s?” He did not entertain the false security of going back to his miserable past life. Some of us are afraid of the unknown in our lives and may perhaps stay the way we are instead of trusting in Our Saviour.

The other fascinating thing that happened was once Bartimeaus got his sight, he did not go back to his home town to catch up with his friends and  family. He could have easily gone back to enjoy his new sight-filled life. As any other man, he could have easily gotten married and had an average life.  Instead, Bartimeaus followed Jesus. He made a very serious life altering and perhaps for some a “scary decision to follow Jesus and trusted that Jesus would take care of him as Jesus said “He will never leave us nor forsake us”.

We could say that all of us are clinging to a “beggar’s cloak” as we all are needy in some way or other. But the good news is:  we don’t have to stay that way. As the Scripture says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation and old has passed away.”

I would like to share this prayer which I read in an article recently:

“Lord, we thank you for opening our eyes to see all that you want to do for us today. Help us quickly fling aside the beggar’s cloak that hold us to an old lifestyle, binds us with limitation and reminds us of hurts of the past. Help us to move out into a new relationship with you. Let us feel secure in your love. Heal our hurts, let us allow you to change our lives, in Jesus name we pray”. Amen!

Jeena Abraham


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