Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story

6616515375 aaf259785f Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story

Penny for the blind © by Cjames Fotografia

My Sunday School lesson for this week is about the story of Jesus and Bartimaeus.  My class is first and second grade.

The background for this story comes from Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43.

For those who may not be familiar with the story, it describes the day that a blind beggar, named Bartimaeus, was sitting beside the road.  He never knew that today would be any different than any other day.  But it was.

Even without his sight, Bartimaeus began to hear sounds and scuffles and sense that something was up with the crowd.  As he started to ask around to find out what was going on, he found out that Jesus was passing by.

Although we don’t know how long, Bartimaeus has been sitting here, we can assume that it has probably been a long time.  The people in the crowd seem to be familiar with him — possibly even annoyed by his begging.

Bartimaeus begins to do the only thing that he knows to do.  He calls out for Jesus.  The people in the crowd know that Jesus has much more important work than to be bothered by a common beggar; so, they scold Bartimaeus and tell him to be quiet.

Instead of being putting off by the crowd, it says that their shushes incited him. He cried out even louder — possibly to be heard over the very crowd that was trying to silence him.

When Jesus heard Bartimaeus, Jesus responded as he always does to someone who is in need and has faith.  He called Bartimaeus over.  When Bartimaeus came to Jesus, his request was simple — I want to see again.

There was no hesitation — no prescription of how to earn his healing — Jesus heard the words and healed him instantly.  The rest of the crowd now became Bartimaeus’ biggest fans, as they joined him in the street, praising God.

Some have used this story as a admonition to press on.  Bartimeaus could have given up; but he didn’t.  He kept pressing forward, even though everyone else told him to stop.  If he had given up, he would have never been healed.

Some use this story as a simple booster of faith.  Jesus healed Bartimaeus and he can heal us.

My Sunday School curriculum urges us to use this story as an illustration of kindness.  To the crowd, Bartimaeus was annoying.  They wanted to just leave him alone and they wanted him to be quiet.  He was loud.  He got in their way.  He couldn’t participate in anything with them.  He wasn’t popular.

But, jesus saw Bartimaeus differently.  Jesus saw him as someone who needed to experience kindness; so Jesus gave him the ultimate kindness — healing.  We need to recognize the Bartimaeuses in our lives and reach out to them with kindness, just like Jesus did.

The problem is that my Sunday School curriculum ignores its own objective.  Instead of focusing on the kindness that Jesus extended, every activity focuses on eyes, sight, blindness, etc.  Yes, the healing is a good story.  However, I feel that this curriculum never gets the point across to the students.

My goal for this week is to develop a lesson plan that will use the story of Jesus and Bartimaeus to illustrate how we should emulate the kindness that Jesus showed to Bartimaeus, even when the crowd says differently.

Be sure to check back for other posts this week as I continue to develop this lesson for Sunday.  And, in the meantime, if you have ideas for activities, object lessons, etc., be sure to post those in the comments.


 Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story

Michelle Rogers

Michelle holds a graduate degree in Curriculum and Technology as well as an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. Having been in the Assembly of God affiliation of churches for her entire life, she easily incorporates the knowledge of how kids learn into the way churches should be showing the gospel to kids. Her work experience includes elementary school teacher, preschool teacher, day care director, children's pastor, Missionettes coordinator, Sunday School teacher, and online college instructor. On the side, she blogs, reads and creates new web applications with PHP, mySQL, JavaScript and more.
 Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story
 Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story

3 thoughts on “Background for Jesus and Bartimaeus Story

  1. This is such a great passage. And I can really identify, because I myself am blind, and can relate to those very same feelings that you discuss above.

    I love how you bring out the hidden parts of a passage, though. I have never thought of it in this way. This is yet another example of the kindness Jesus extended to sinners, to beggars, to the unwanted and outcasts in society.
    And those with pride, who thought themselves better, wanted no part of it. No part of the blind, the deaf, the sick, the sinners, the tax collectors, etc. And Jesus constantly rebuked them for being this way, saying that these lowly people would really be first in the Kingdom, not last as they were in the world.

    How beautiful His message!

  2. I know this post dates back to October, but I couldn’t help comment here on perserverance. Dealing with students every day, the one thing I can do for them above all others is encourage them not to give up. Try, try and try again. If an adult praises and encourages a child in the right way and at the right time, the student will continue to try and eventually succeed at whatever task is at hand. Bartimaeus didn’t give up and he succeeded in getting back his sight. This a great lesson not only in kindess but in perserverance as well.

    • I think all of us tend to give up too quickly with God, too. We pray once then decide, “oh well, this isn’t working”. Then, we get in trouble when we start trying to work things out for ourselves.

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