Essay on Discipleship through Radical Faith
The account healing of blind Bartimaeus is utilized in the gospels of Mark, Mathew and Luke to make a spiritual point. These passages point out that the healing itself is not the emphasis; rather it is the pre and post-performance of the miracle that are significant. Even though a miracle is vividly performed by Jesus, this miracle is discordant. Often, Jesus would pronounce a dramatic word or undertake a gesture that accompanies the miracle. Moreover, there is usually the mention of astonishment by the people who witnessed the miracle being performed by Jesus. Nonetheless, none of these things take place in the account of healing of blind Bartimaeus. As such, the emphasis is on Bartimaeus and his radical faith before the occurrence of the miracle, as well as, his actions after receiving his healing and not the miracle itself. It is because of this reason that Steinhauser (1986, p. 115) labels it as a “call” rather than a miracle. The radical faith held by Bartimaeus enabled him to receive immediate or instantaneous healing or miracle akin to the bleeding woman who touched the cloak of Jesus. Stein (2008, p. 115) is of the opinion that the miracle of healing of blind Bartimaeus by Jesus portrays a picture of discipleship brought about by radical faith since Bartimaeus follows Jesus after his healing. Therefore, this account of healing of blind Bartimaeus emphasizes the notion that true discipleship emanates from radical faith.Essay on Discipleship through Radical Faith
There are harbingers in the gospels that various accounts have been stitched together. For instance, in the account of the healing of blind Bartimaeus, Jesus arrives in Jericho and leaves shortly in the next sentence. It is because of this reason that modern or contemporary depictions of the healing of blind Bartimaeus normally treat the miracle as a videotape replay of an event rather than according it the prominence it deserves. The healing of blind Bartimaeus by Jesus carries a heavy theological freight that is often lost in modern depictions of the story in films (Meier, 1994). In addition, this story points towards a vital tradition of discipleship; a message that is diluted in delivery when modern films of Jesus’ accounts treat is as an insignificant event. In as much as modern theology emphasizes salvation through faith, radical faith is not mentioned in most contemporary teachings. Radical faith such as the one held by Abraham who ready to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice and the bleeding woman who touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed are rarely emphasized in modern theology; a phenomenon that has resulted in the loss of the message of true discipleship brought about by radical faith.
The account of healing of blind Bartimaeus is addressed to unbelievers. The purpose of the succinct narration of the story of Bartimaeus in the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke is to make unbelievers look at the miracle performed by Jesus and see that He is Christ and rid themselves of their radical doubt by having radical faith. Most people are not physically blind, but spiritually blind. It is this spiritual blindness that the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus aims to help unbelievers surmount by having radical faith. The account of healing of blind Bartimaeus is also addressed to believers seeking true discipleship. In the same way that Bartimaeus was rebuked by people who demanded he remain silent, believers face rebuke and rejection by people in their endeavors to be true disciples and spread the word of God. Bartimaeus’ call was deemed as a disturbance by people who were listening to the theological teachings of Jesus. However, it is his radical faith that stopped Jesus amidst all the hustle and bustle around him. Thus, unbelievers and believers seeking salvation, healing and true discipleship can only attain them through radical faith.Essay on Discipleship through Radical Faith
Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew. 2nd ed., Doubleday, 1994.
Stein, Robert H. “Mark: The Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament”. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008, https://www.wtsbooks.com/common/pdf_links/Excerpt_9780801026829.pdf. Accessed 24 Apr 2018.
Steinhauser, Michael G. “The Form Of The Bartimaeus Narrative (Mark 10.46-52)”. New Testament Studies, vol 32, no. 04, 1986, pp. 583-595. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1017/s0028688500014223.