A Lenten Journey: Climbing to Calvary – Day THIRTY-FOUR

Mark 10:46-52, The Kingdom New Testament,
                                a contemporary translation by N.T. Wright

They came to Jericho. As Jesus, his disciples, and a substantial crowd were leaving the town, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the side of the road. When he heard it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out, “Son of David! Jesus! Take pity on me!”

Lots of people told him crossly to be quiet. But he shouted out all the louder, “Son of David – take pity on me.” 

Jesus came to a stop. “Call him,” he said. 

So they called the blind man. 

“Cheer up,” they said, “and get up. He’s calling you.” 

He flung his cloak aside, jumped up and came to Jesus. 

Jesus saw him coming. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 

“Teacher,” the blind man said, “let me see again.” 

“Off you go,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved you.” And immediately he saw again, and he followed him on the way. 


It is a motley crew making its way up the road to Jericho. Very soon, they will be on the very outskirts of Jerusalem.

And we will, too.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the last week of our journey through Lent. 

And I can’t think of a better story to mark this important transition time than the one we’ve got right here, the one about Bartimaeus. 

Who is kind of a hero of mine. I really like this dude. He is bold to the point of pushiness and he definitely knows what he wants and goes for it.

And he wants Jesus. 

He wants Jesus to see him so that he can see Jesus. 

That’s how deep and real his faith is, his belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the one who can rescue him from darkness. 

Even Jesus acknowledges this truth, declaring him ‘saved,’ or healed, without so much as a touch. No mud. No saliva. No special word. Just a declaration, a fait accompli.

Maybe that’s why the early church adapted this man’s prayer and offered it as a balm, an ever-ready invitation into the very presence of God: the Jesus Prayer. 

It is my go-to prayer every single day, usually several times a day. The words are so true, so calming, so immediate. 

And it goes like this:
    Big breath in:    “Lord Jesus Christ”
    Big breath out:  “Son of God”
    Big breath in:     “Have mercy on me”
    Big breath out:   “a sinner.”

Or it can be shortened to the simple words, “Lord, have mercy.” There is something calming and centering about these words, this intentional focus on the Savior and our overwhelming need for mercy. 

Bartimaeus received that and more. His answered prayer changed his life forever; he picked up his beggar’s bowl and threw in his lot with the carpenter-teacher from the north. For he followed him on the way, the scripture tells us. 

He followed him on the way.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. That says it all, Lord, all that I want and need to say today. You are the Lord, I am the sinner, and mercy is what brings us together. Touch my eyes today, and walk with me that I might offer the mercy I have received to all those I meet, in Jesus’ name and for Jesus’ sake. Amen. 

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  1. Glenda Childers says

    He wants Jesus to see him so that he can see Jesus.  … and Lord, have mercy on me.   Thank you for these Lenten truths.

  2. Thank you for coming by, Glenda. You are so faithful to write words of encouragement!

  3. breathing this prayer with you, diana. i still can’t believe we are almost there.

  4. In addition to being Palm Sunday, tomorrow is also a communion service at our church, and during the serving of the elements, quietly in the background, our choir will be singing Owen Alstott’s Good Shepherd Mass, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us (repeated)… grant us peace.” I always hesitate a bit on the last phrase because peace doesn’t seem quite what we should be asking for at this point. Maybe strength to endure with Him, to watch and wait with Him during this coming week. Thanks for your thoughtful reflection today, Diana.

  5. pastordt says

    In one way, I agree with you – it IS hard to believe we’re almost there. But in another way, I would have to say it’s been a long, long climb. A good and rich one for me this year, but still…I’m glad to take a little breather from daily posting. :>) Thanks for stopping by and bringing your sweet spirit with you.

  6. pastordt says

    It will be Communion Sunday for us as well, though we will be with our daughter’s community tomorrow. I don’t know that mass, but it sounds ideal for such a service. And I think maybe peace is a good prayer for this week – along with assurance of forgiveness and strength for the journey. Thanks for your encouragement, Carol. Blessed Holy Week to you!