First Friday of Advent – 12.8 Mark 10:46-52


“They came to Jericho. As [Jesus] and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 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, the blind beggar, had probably been sitting by that roadside for years. We don’t know his story, but we do know that he used to be able to see. Having lost something that was precious to him, he would do whatever it took to regain his sight. As he sat in darkness by the road, he began to hear rumors of a man who could heal the sick and give sight to the blind. It was these rumors that gave a spark of hope that he might one day see again. 

But he could do nothing but wait and imagine what he might say, if he were to ever encounter this mysterious healer. Our reading today records the day when that encounter took place. 

As he sat in darkness, he heard a commotion, and then voices of excitement proclaiming that the healer he had heard of, Jesus of Nazareth, was walking his way. 

Bartimaeus couldn’t see, but he knew that a light was coming, and that this light could rescue him from darkness. So he cried out for help. And then that light stopped, saw him, called Bartimaeus to himself, and asked him a simple question.


“What do you want me to do for you?”


This gospel story is not just about a man who was healed. It is about those of us who find ourselves sitting in darkness. Whether it’s uncertainty, sickness, or loneliness, we’re unable to see what’s around us, and we feel powerless to do something about it. 

We long for a light to set us free. This Advent, the good news is that, just like Bartimaeus, we are hearing rumors that this light is approaching us in our darkness. We hear a voice breaking into that darkness, gently asking,


“What do you want me to do for you?”


  • Are there places in your life where you feel like you’re sitting in darkness?


  • What do you imagine your encounter with the light to look like?


  • How would you answer Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?”