He Followed Him On The Way!

– Memorial of St Justin, martyr –

“My teacher, let me see again.”

“Go, your faith has made you well.” [Mark 10:51-52]

There is something quite refreshing in this story of the son of Timaeus regaining his sight through this miracle of Jesus. 

In Mark’s gospel, the story follows immediately on from James’ and John’s strange – maybe even ridiculous – request to be able to sit on Jesus’ left and right side in the Kingdom.  The disciples’ lack of understanding and ‘blindness’ of what discipleship is really all about could not be more of a contrast to this story of absolute faith – from the unsolicited messianic exclamation “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” to the faith-filled “My teacher, let me see again.” 

This is a remarkable story of call and response. ‘Call him here’, Jesus says. Bartimaeus throws off his cloak, springs up and comes to Jesus – he comes, he is not led as one who is blind might be led!  He has heard the voice of Jesus and responds without hesitation.  And not only is he ‘made well’, but true to his calling, he follows Jesus immediately ‘on the way’. 

And what is the way?  It is the way of the cross: and that is what true discipleship is about.

It is fitting that this gospel falls on the feast day of St Justin, a 2nd Century philosopher of pagan origins and a prolific writer and apologist.  In a similar sense, his eyes were opened when he encountered what he called the moral beauty and truth of Christianity.  His conversion and faithfulness to Christianity would ultimately lead him to martyrdom. 

For Justin, as for Bartimaeus in the Gospel – as for us – there is no other possible response to faith in Christ.  He is our way.


by Gerry Crooks

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