by Marian O’Brien, MTh
This Complete-A-Project Bible Search activity is for teacher and students (grades 4-6) working together. It is based on Mark 10:46-52.
* The Gospel of Mark is divided into four parts: 1) Jesus’ baptism by John and his time in the desert; 2) Jesus’ ministry in Galilee; 3) Jesus’ final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem with his disciples; and 4) Jesus’ death and Resurrection in Jerusalem. The healing of Bartimaeus takes place at the end of the third section. The distance from Galilee to Jerusalem is about 150 miles. It would take many days of walking to complete the journey.
* Jesus has spent quite a bit of time with his disciples. They’ve heard him teaching and they’ve witnessed many miraculous signs. This section begins with Jesus asking his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Their answers range from John the Baptist to Elijah to the prophets. Then Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Messiah.”
* It seems like the disciples understand, but they don’t. When they confess that Jesus is the Messiah, they’re correct but they don’t realize what kind of a Messiah Jesus is. He won’t be an earthly king who delivers them from political oppression. Jesus is a suffering servant who will die so all of humankind might be saved. All during the long journey, no matter how many times Jesus tries to explain, the disciples remain “blind” to the true meaning of Jesus as Messiah.
* Jesus also uses this journey to explain the meaning of discipleship. Remember, the disciples are still thinking in terms of earthly kingship, and some even posture for a high position in his administration. He asks James and John, “What do you want me to do for you?” This is the same question he will ask Bartimaeus. James and John will get a much different response.
* Then Jesus and his disciples come to the city of Jericho. The blind, lame, elderly, poor, and outcast have been waiting at the gates of Jericho in case someone passing through might take pity on them. It would be unusual for any of them to stand out in the crowd. But Bartimaeus calls out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” By using the term “Son of David,” Bartimaeus indicates his understanding that Jesus is the Messiah.
* In Jesus’ time, people who were sick, disabled, or poor were considered sinners. Their afflictions were punishments for their sins. It was preposterous that a sinner would have the boldness to ask the Messiah for anything! But Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus wants to send a message to those watching: “You can approach me and ask for anything you want in faith.” Jesus replies to Bartimaeus, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus receives his sight because of his faith in Jesus.
Answers: 1. Jericho 2. Bartimaeus 3. “Have pity on me” 4. Two times 5. “Take courage; get up, he is calling you” 6. His cloak 7. “What do you want me to do for you?” 8. “Master, I want to see” 9. “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” 10. Follows Jesus
Copies of the activity sheet [CLICK HERE].
Bibles (The Search is based on the New American Bible.)
Pencils or pens
1. Have a student read aloud the opening of the story of Kristin’s audition. Then ask: What two things are making Kristin nervous? (Answer: whether she’ll have a successful audition and whether Jesus really answers prayers.) What important things has Jesus already given to Kristin that will help her prayer be realized? (Answer: faith and musical talent.)
2. Explain that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to pray for or to know if Jesus will answer our prayers. The most important thing to remember is that we must have faith in Jesus and understand that he wants what’s best for us. This makes it easier to know when Jesus has said “yes” or “no” or when he is asking us to wait.
3. Tell students that this Gospel is about a man who didn’t lead a very happy life. He was blind, and the people of his time thought God was punishing him for something. What he needed was faith in Jesus to heal him, and courage to ask for a miracle. Then read Mark 10:46-52 while the students follow along in their Bibles.
4. Have students close their Bibles and answer the questions on the activity sheet. Read the correct answers and let students see how many they got right.
5. Read or summarize the material from Background.
6. Have one student read the closing to the story about Kristin’s audition. Stress that Jesus loves us, hears us, and wants the best for us. Faith in Jesus means knowing he will answer our prayers in ways that are best for us. Sometimes we have to be patient before we understand how Jesus has answered our prayers.
Copyright 2012, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, September 2012.
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