Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was blind in a time and place where it was exceedingly hard to be blind. He was reduced to begging on the side of the road because society at the time had no way of accommodating those who couldn't work and labor on their own behalf. Imagine what it must have been like to be blind in this world - in a world that doesn't want you, doesn't help you, doesn't care about whether you live or die. Imagine the desperation he must have felt.
And then he hears the rumors about this Jesus of Nazareth, a man going around preaching the word of God and healing people with demons, people with skin afflictions, people like himself, who were blind. Imagine the spark of hope that might have glowed brightly even for a man who had never known anything but darkness. When Jesus comes by, Bartimaeus yells out for his attention. The people around him tell him to shut up, but he doesn't care (I imagine as a beggar he has become used to not caring what those around him think of him).
When Jesus finally turns to him and asks him what he wants - Bartimaeus simply says, "Me teacher, let me see again." Jesus tells him his faith has made him well, immediately Bartimaeus regains his sight, and follows Jesus on the way. This is a powerful example of what happens when we encounter Jesus - he is capable of opening our eyes and showing us things we have not seen in a long time, or never seen before.
For those of us who are sighted, we may not need Jesus to restore our physical vision. But I imagine there are things we need Jesus to open our eyes to see. Perhaps we have spent too much time blind to those around us who are need, blind to the violence and racism that still takes place in our country, blind to the ways we hurt those around us. May we each have our own encounter with Jesus where, like Bartimaeus, our eyes are opened, and we are able to better follow Jesus on the way.
God who sees all, I know that my eyes are closed to things around me that I may not wish to see. I ask that Jesus will help me to see again - help me to open my eyes to all that is around me that I might be more equipped to do your work in this world. Amen.