Mark is full of references to "seeing," and healings of sight are one instance of Mark's more-than-literal meanings.
How's that for an on-topic sentence? :)
DH and I had a friend in college (that's when he was just DB "dearest boyfriend") who was prone to coming up with bizarre slang phrases - some of which became popular with other and others remained his trademark expressions. One of my favorite of these sayings was, "I see... said the blind man, with the patch over one eye." I think it meant something like I hear what you're saying, but I doubt you're telling the whole truth. To truly hear the humor in this, you should imagine it spoken with a thick South Carolina accent. We are still friends with this person, so if he happens across this post, please know that I'm writing with affection and respect.
Anyway, as I was listening to this scripture read in church yesterday, this quote from my friend popped into my mind - 'I see said the blind man.' In Mark's Gospel, it is Bartimaeus who does see, much more than the disciples. Here's the story:
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with the disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, begot of Timaeus, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, "Heir of David, Jesus, have pity on me."
Many people scolded him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, "Heir of David, have pity on me!"
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here."
So they called the blind man. "Don't be afraid," they said. "Get up; Jesus is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and went to Jesus.
Then Jesus said, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Rabbuni," the blind man said, "I want to see."
Jesus replied, "Go, your faith has saved you." And immediately Bartimaeus received the gift of sight and began to follow Jesus along the way. (Mark 10: 46-52, emphasis in the last sentence is mine)
Immediately before this episode, Jesus has scolded James and John for seeking glory for themselves through their association with Jesus. They obviously don't "get it." They are blind to the truth of what following Jesus really means. The story of Bartimaeus also happens at the end of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem - the next chapter is Palm Sunday. Since Baritmaeus follows Jesus after being healed, was he in the crowds as Jesus enters Jerusalem? The cloak that he threw off - did he spread it on the road in front of Jesus? Did he cried out with the others, "Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of Our God!"? I believe Bartimaeus was there. He SAW, so FOLLOWING was the natural result.
Of course, we are not told what happens to Bartimaeus. It was a scary week to be a follower of Jesus.
I've often prayed for wisdom, for discernment, for the ability to SEE things as they really are. I'm surely not the only person who's uttered this kind of prayer, but I wonder what I would do if I could really see? What would change?