Day 304: Son of Trash, Son of Treasure (Mark 10:46-51)

46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. Mark 10:46

Through the Bible: Matthew 19, Mark 10

Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-51 both record Jesus healing the blind at Jericho. In Matthew’s account, there are two unnamed blind men. But Mark focuses on just one blind man, a beggar called Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus may have been his given name, or it may have been a nickname. Clearly, Bar is the Hebrew prefix meaning “son of.” But Timaeus could mean one of two things. In Greek, it’s close to a word meaning “highly prized.” But in Hebrew, tame means unclean, or polluted.

So Bar-Timaeus could mean “highly prized son” or “son of trash.” Which was it?

It seems obvious how the people in Jericho saw Bartimaeus. He was sitting by the roadside begging (verse 46). When he called out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” many people rebuked him (verse 48). Most likely, they believed his blindness was God’s punishment for sin (compare John 9:2). So as far as they were concerned, “Son of Trash” seems like the more likely candidate.

But as so often happened, Jesus singled out someone the rest of the world had written off. When the rest of the world told Bartimaeus to shut up, Jesus told him to come closer (v. 49). When most people (myself included) would either ignore him completely or else toss him some money to male themselves feel better, Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (verse 51). Jesus saw his faith and made him well.

Jericho saw a Son of Trash. Jesus saw a Son of Treasure.

Jesus, the Son of David, sees you. He meets you where you are. He doesn’t just offer you a quick fix or some spare change. He offers lasting peace and real change.

You may feel unclean, unworthy, polluted. You may feel anything but “highly prized” by anyone. You may have been told you were a mistake. You may feel unwanted and discarded. Someone may have criticized you for daring to express a need. You may feel like a child of trash.

Jesus always sees a son—and daughter—of treasure.

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