“Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Our online newspaper includes a puzzle showing two drawings that are almost the same. The challenge is to find at least six differences between the two drawings. And to do that, you have to look closely at the details.
In the book of Mark we need to focus on the details of Jesus’ life and how people respond to him. Did you notice, for example, that Bartimaeus is described as “sitting” when Jesus comes walking by?
This may seem unimportant. But it fits beautifully with the crowd’s encouraging words “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” This makes sense because we have been told that Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside.
From the original Greek text we also know that what the crowd is saying here is “Arise!” So Mark is not just giving us an incidental detail. Mark is using the same language that will describe Jesus’ resurrection, when he rises from the dead (see Mark 16:6). This carefully chosen word points to restoration, redemption, and resurrection: “Bartimaeus, cheer up! Arise! Your redemption is here; your salvation is coming!”
Bartimaeus is a man whose condition has knocked him down in life. A blind person would have no standing in the community, but the arrival of Jesus made all the difference in the world to him—just as Jesus’ coming does for us.
Thank you, Jesus, for calling me and giving me the hope and promise that in you all things are being made new. By your mercy toward me, I rise to new life! Amen.