THE GARMENT OF BARTIMAEUS
Bartimaeus was a wealthy young man with 20/20 vision. He purchased a beautiful garment of the richest hues of purple and accent of gold. He loved the garment and wore it often as he entertained friends and family in his opulent home. In fact he wore it so often that people began to identify him by it. They would say to one another –“Here comes Bartimaeus! It’s party time!!
But one day he awoke, after a night of partying, and opened his eyes only to see darkness. A flicker of panic rose in his chest but he quieted it. Surely it was still night and the candle had gone out, he thought, as he jumped from his bed and then stumbled over a chair. Picking himself up; he felt his way to the door and flung it open. He could hear the hustle and bustle of daily life. He could feel the sun warming his face but he couldn’t see!! He was terrified! How could this be? It was a tragedy beyond belief to the viral young man. He went frantically from physician to physician spending all of his wealth only to hear the words. “No hope.”
Years passed in darkness for Bartimaeus. He measured his days by the rooster’s crow in the morning and by his nephew’s hand pulling him up to trudge home at the end of another day of begging on the Jericho Road with only a few pennies jingling in his cup. He often went to bed hungry and dreamed of the banquets he used to feast upon only to awake to gnawing hunger barely relieved by a stale piece of bread from his cupboard.
The one possession he still owned was his beautiful garment. He clutched it to his fragile frame each day and huddled in its warmth on his bed at night. The garment became his identity now in his poverty as it once had in his wealth.
As time went by the hard toiling footsteps of life imprinted dust among its folds; often in his hurry to fill his empty stomach, he would accidentally spill food and drink upon its purple expanse. There were times when he arrived at his spot along the city wall and had stumbled down into something filthy and rank.. Once in a while a scoffer would pass by and spit upon him.
But Barimaeus was blind and he couldn’t see the fate that had befallen his most treasured possession. He still perceived it in his mind’s eye to be bright and beautiful. He clasped it like a drowning man grasping a lifesaver. It was the one thing he could cling to. It was his security against the ravages of time that swept all but his breath away.
Slowly , though, he began to notice the wear and tear as he caressed its fabric and found yet another hole. His fingers felt the threadbare character of its fabric. There were even times when an old friend or two would pass by and remark on how disgusting it had become.
Little by little he began to realize it was no longer as he remembered it. It was old and used and ugly just as he was; but still he clung to its smelly rags. His plight seemed hopeless.
But then one day he sensed an excitement in the air. There was an almost palpable feeling of change. What could it be? He wondered as he turned his head towards the sound of excited voices and rushing feet that were coming up the Jericho Road.
“Jesus is coming!” was borne on the air.
“Jesus!” When Jesus passed by the blind received their sight, and sinners were changed! He cried out in a loud voice—“Jesus, have mercy on me!”
People around him tried to hush his fervent cries but he would not be stopped. “Jesus, Master, have mercy on me!”
The he heard the most beautiful voice speak to him. Someone nearby touched him gently and said, ‘Listen Bartimaeus he calls for you.”
“And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus..” Leaving behind his sin and shame.he heard Jesus say “go thy way thy faith hath made thee whole.” Immediately light flooded his eyes and his soul. He could feel new life coursing through his veins. The filthy garment was forgotten as someone reached out and placed a clean one on his shoulders.
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