Episode NT24 – Blind Bartimaeus

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Mark chapter 10 verses 46 to 52

Blind Bartimaeus

On the whole, life was pretty tough for Bartimaeus. Oh, it was ok when Jericho, the city where he lived had a festival or celebration. Then Bartimaeus would have more than enough to eat. But that wasn’t most days. Most days Bartimaeus would be found sitting by the side of the main road that went all the way through Jericho, and on to Jerusalem, with his begging bowl in hand, hoping and praying that somebody would give Him what he needed to make it through the day.

Of course it hadn’t always been like that. There’d been a time when Bartimaeus had worked in the fields and vineyards with everybody else.

But the day had come when the owner of the vineyard had been cross with Bartimaeus. Apparently, he’d left lots of grapes on the vine. And then … it became hard to recognise his friends. And the sun … it didn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to! (PAUSE) The truth was – Bartimaeus was going blind. And it’s not like being blind today where there’s lots a blind person can do. In Bartimaeus’ time the only thing he could do – was become a beggar.

And so each day ended up being pretty much the same. And today, when Bartimaeus woke up, he thought it was going to be a day like any other. (P) As he woke he shivered in the cold morning air and pulled his cloak tightly around his shoulders. And then he reached to find his begging bowl. There was some bread left from yesterday. OK it was a bit stale and hard, but when you’re a beggar you can’t afford to be fussy. (P)

After he’d finished his small breakfast, Bartimaeus reached out his hand to find his stick, and then made his way slowly down to his usual spot by the side of the road, under a big tree that gave him some protection from the hot midday sun. And there he waited.

But today wasn’t going to be like any other day. There was already something different happening. You see when you’re blind, quite often your hearing seems to work much better. And Bartimaeus had learned to recognise the people of Jericho not by what they looked like, but by how they sounded.

Who was that, oh yes, he recognised those fast footsteps. That was young Miriam. But where was she off too? (P) And hang on, who was that? Ah, of course! He recognised that limp and walk with a stick. That was old Caleb! But he hadn’t heard Caleb moving so fast in years! And who were those people he was talking to? In fact, where was everybody going? It seemed as if everyone was leaving the city! He wanted to ask why, but there was nobody to ask! So there he sat, begging bowl in hand – waiting. (PAUSE)

It was quite a lot later that day when he heard it. It was the sound of a large crowd. And they were heading his way. So that’s where everybody had gone. They’d gone to see some really important person who was on their way through Jericho and on to Jerusalem. But Bartimaeus didn’t know who it was. And so as the crowd got closer and the first few people started to filter past, he called out.

‘Hey, hey, excuse me, can you tell me – what’s going on?’

 ‘What?’ said a passer-by, ‘Oh don’t you know? It’s Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth, He’s coming through town on His way to Jerusalem.’

Jesus of Nazareth! Even Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and the incredible things he’d said. People were still talking about them months after he’d said them.

And, there were all those healings! It was said that Jesus had made people who couldn’t walk, walk again! And that He’d made people who couldn’t hear, hear again. It was even said that Jesus made people who couldn’t see, (PAUSE) see again!!!’ Jesus made blind people see!

All of a sudden Bartimaeus knew what he should be doing. Oh, he just hoped he hadn’t missed Jesus. So he called out in a loud voice.

The first few people who heard Bartimaeus calling – told him to shut up! ‘Oh Bartimaeus be quiet will you. Jesus isn’t going to be interested in a blind beggar like you. Be quiet!’

But Bartimaeus wasn’t the giving up kind, and he called even louder. ‘Jesus, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. Son of David, have mercy on me.’     (PAUSE)

There was a man in the crowd, constantly being jostled by the people. Just trying to make His way through Jericho and yet listen to and help the constant stream of people who came to Him. And as He made His way forward, He heard His name being called over and over again. ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.’

As He walked He started to look for the owner of the voice and eventually He saw a scruffy, blind beggar sitting by the side of the road shouting out for all he was worth. So Jesus stopped and said to some of His disciples, ‘Bring him to me.’

The disciples went over to where the blind beggar was still shouting his head off, and tried to quieten him down a little. ‘SSSHHH – It’s OK, you can be quiet now, the Master’s calling for you.’

When Bartimaeus heard this he leapt up, threw off his cloak, and held out his hands.  Jesus’ disciples took him by the arms and led him to Jesus. And when he arrived – he heard a voice asking him, ‘What is it? What do you want me to do for you?’

‘Oh teacher,’ said Bartimaeus. ‘I want to be able to see again.’ (P)

And then he heard Jesus’ voice again. (P) ‘Because you believed that I could make you well – you have been healed.’

At that moment Bartimaeus had to cover his eyes to cope with the light that came streaming in. And the first thing he saw – was the smiling face of Jesus- filled with love. Then Bartimaeus leapt for joy, shouting and singing praise to God, because Jesus had healed him.

And when the crowd realised what Jesus had done they were astonished, and they too started praising God, as Jesus continued, to slowly make His way through Jericho and on to Jerusalem.


Episode NT23 – Zacchaeus

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Luke chapter 19 verses 1 to 10


Zacchaeus was a short man, short in height and short of friends! To say he was unpopular would be an understatement because most people hated Zacchaeus. You see Zacchaeus was a tax collector – he had paid the Romans to get the job of collecting taxes from his own people, the Jews. He then gave those taxes to the Romans who used them to stay in charge!

What’s more, as Zacchaeus had paid for the job of collecting taxes and the Romans didn’t pay him anything to do the job, he had to collect extra taxes from all the people so that he had enough to live on himself – and in fact, over the years, he’d grown quite rich!

If they had any choice in the matter, no ordinary Jew would have anything to do with the likes of tax collectors unless they absolutely had to! You see, because they worked for the Romans, tax collectors were considered to be traitors!

Oh, Zacchaeus did have some friends, but they were either tax collectors like himself or else one of the many other outcasts there were in Israel at that time. (P) But even among this group of outcasts the stories about Jesus had started to circulate. Some were saying that Jesus was the friend of tax collectors! Zacchaeus listened to these stories with great interest and decided that, should Jesus come to Jericho, the city where he lived, he’d make sure to see him.

One day sometime later, Zacchaeus heard an excited voice shouting outside. Stopping what he was doing, he listened.

‘Hey, David!’ said the voice, ‘Have you heard? Jesus is heading into town. We’re just off to see him. Why don’t you come with us?’ After that, the voice lowered and Zacchaeus heard hurried footsteps as they rushed off to see Jesus.

This was his chance! As quickly as he could, Zacchaeus got up and hurried off to see Jesus. But as he came closer to where Jesus was, he found a massive crowd of people, all wanting to see Jesus for themselves! Jesus was surrounded by 100’s and 100’s of people! (PAUSE)

Zacchaeus didn’t even bother to try and push his way through the crowd. He knew that when the people realised it was him trying to push past them, they’d never let him through. But he wasn’t going to be put off. He’d promised himself he’d see Jesus and he was determined to make it happen!

As he stood there wondering what to do, suddenly a thought sprang into Zacchaeus’ mind. There was only one road through the city and Jesus would be travelling along it, so Zacchaeus ran ahead to see if there was some place he could stand that would give him a good view of Jesus. But there was nothing! What was he going to do?

Resting by a large sycamore tree, Zacchaeus thought through his options. He couldn’t push his way through to Jesus; the people wouldn’t stand for that, and, there was nowhere along the road where he could get a good view. Zacchaeus banged the back of head softly against the tree as he tried to work out what he could do, then he stopped, and looked up. The tree! Jesus would be passing right under this very tree!

As quickly as he could, for he hadn’t done this since he was a lad; Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree hoping the leafy branches would shield him from disapproving eyes. And then he waited as the crowd slowly made its way along the road.

As the massive crowd started to pass under the tree, they didn’t notice the little man hidden in the branches looking down. (P) There was no mistaking Jesus, Zacchaeus could tell exactly who He was – right in the middle of the crowd with people coming up to Him to talk or just look at Him!

It wasn’t the perfect way to see Jesus, but it was the best Zacchaeus could manage. Then, as Jesus moved directly underneath where he was hiding, to his surprise, Jesus stopped! Zacchaeus hadn’t expected this. Then suddenly, Jesus looked right up to where he was hiding and shouted, ‘Zacchaeus!’ Zacchaeus nearly fell out of the tree with shock! ‘Zacchaeus,’ Jesus continued. ‘Quickly, come down because I must stay in your home today.’

Jesus wanted to stay in his home? Zacchaeus couldn’t believe it – Jesus wanted to meet him! No one like Jesus had ever come to his house before. As quickly as he could, ignoring the disapproving stares from the crowd, Zacchaeus scrambled down from the sycamore tree and, with great excitement, took Jesus to his home!

However, the crowd weren’t so happy! ‘Doesn’t Jesus know who He’s dealing with?’ some of them grumbled. ‘That’s Zacchaeus – the tax collector! What possible reason could Jesus have for wanting to meet with that horrible little man?’

But something happened to Zacchaeus as he met with Jesus because as they sat in his house Zacchaeus suddenly stood up in front of Jesus and said, ‘Lord, I will give half of my wealth to the poor. And Lord, if I’ve overcharged anyone on their taxes, then I will pay them back four times as much as I’ve overcharged!’

Jesus smiled at Zacchaeus and looking round the room He said, ‘Today, salvation has come to this house, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. You see, that’s why I, the Son of Man, have come, to seek out and save those who are lost.’

The story of Jesus and Zacchaeus

When someone goes out of their way to find out more about Jesus it is a sign that God is at work in their life as the Bible tells us the no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them to Him … So, when Jesus saw a despised member of Jericho going out of his way to see Jesus, somehow Jesus knew His Father was at work and joined Him in what He was doing in Zacchaeus’ life.

Written and told by Andrew Devis