Jude vs. Bartimaeus

Today we head back to the Biblical quadrant as Jude takes on Bartimaeus. Will Bartimaeus' attempt to dethrone Jude prove to be a lost cause? Or will he see his way to victory? These are the questions of the day.

In yesterday's saintly action, James Solomon Russell easily defeated Evelyn Underhill 66% to 34% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen, where he'll face the winner of Harriet Tubman vs. Julie Billiart.

And if for some shocking reason, you missed yesterday's nominally epic episode of Monday Madness with Tim and Scott, you can watch it here. It involves rivers of purple beverages, among other things.

Now go vote!

Saint JudeJude is listed as one of the twelve apostles and is purported to be the writer of the epistle that bears his name. Tradition says Jude, along with Simon, traveled to Persia, Arabia, and Mesopotamia. Finally, he went to the city of Edessa to meet with King Abgar. Images of Jude often show him holding the Image of Edessa, a holy square of cloth upon which an image of the face of Jesus appeared. The Image of Edessa is considered the first icon of Christ.

This image came to Edessa when King Abgar wrote to Jesus asking him to come and heal him. Jesus replied, saying he would send one of his disciples. So impressed with the king’s faith, Jesus pressed his face into the cloth and gave it to the messenger to assure the king his disciple would visit. Some accounts say the disciple Jude was chosen to travel to Edessa to deliver the sign from Jesus. King Abgar was healed, and all the people under his rule converted to Christianity in response.

Jude is a disciple plagued with an identity crisis. He is distinguished from Judas Iscariot and also noted as Jude of James in Luke/Acts. He is referred to as the brother of Jesus in Matthew and Mark. In the apostolic lists of Matthew and Mark, no Jude appears, but there is a Thaddeus. Some biblical scholars have suggested Jude and Thaddeus are the same person, and Thaddeus was a nickname. Other scholars disagree, stating that Jude and Thaddeus are different people.

Jude is most commonly known as the patron saint for the hopeless and despaired and the patron saint of lost causes. This patronage inspired comedian Danny Thomas to found St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Thomas, awaiting the birth of his first child and struggling with his career, went to Mass and placed his last $7 in the offering plate. He offered prayers to Saint Jude to provide a way forward. Thomas recalls getting a job the next week that paid him enough to pay bills for a while. He then promised Saint Jude a shrine. Years later, Thomas kept that promise by founding the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, which serves as the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the shrine Thomas founded in thanksgiving for Saint Jude.

Collect for Jude
O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Jude; and we pray that, as he was faithful and zealous in his mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Laurie Brock


Bartimaeus, literally “son of Timaeus,” was a blind beggar healed by Jesus in one of his last documented miracles. This miracle is recounted in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) with Jesus healing the blind man as he and his followers are leaving Jericho, just before the Passion.

Bartimaeus is one of the very few people healed by Jesus whose name appears in the gospels. This could be because Bartimaeus served the church after his healing and became a disciple of Jesus.

Bartimaeus is an example of faith. Total, complete, desperate faith. When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is around he starts shouting. He shouts: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” The son of Timaeus is asking the son of David, the Messiah, to have mercy on him. Even after people order Bartimaeus to be quiet, he continues to shout. Even louder. Because he understands who Jesus is. He has heard about him and believes and knows what Jesus has done and can do. Bartimaeus teaches us a prayer for desperate times: Jesus, have mercy on me!

Jesus, Mark tells us, stands still. Luke tells us Jesus stops, and then invites Bartimaeus to approach him. So Bartimaeus throws off his cloak and goes to Jesus—a symbol of giving everything away for a chance to be near Jesus; the action symbolizes his deep faith that he won’t need the cloak anymore. He knows he will be healed.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks. “Let me see again. I want to see,” Bartimaeus asks. With these words, he teaches us, believers and followers of Jesus, that we must ask for what we want when Jesus is near.

“Your faith has made you well. Your faith has healed you.” Bartimaeus’s faith stops Jesus, moves Jesus, and inspires Jesus to heal him.

According to Mark, after being healed, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the Way.

Collect for Bartimaeus
Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Bartimaeus, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with him attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sandra Montes


Jude vs. Bartimaeus

  • Bartimaeus (54%, 4,167 Votes)
  • Jude (46%, 3,584 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,751

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Jude: Statue at cathedral in Aachen, Germany. Jebulon [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://
Bartimaeus: The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus by Fernando Gallego workshop, 1480-1488, oil on panel - University of Arizona Museum of Art - University of Arizona - Tucson, Arizona, USA.


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138 comments on “Jude vs. Bartimaeus”

  1. Bartimaeus the beggar made the plea
    “Son of David, please have mercy on me!”
    Drawn to what he deemed right
    In his faith he gained sight;
    May that blind man’s gift of light come to me.

  2. When Bartimaeus "threw off his cloak", he also threw away the coins pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem would have left on his cloak as it lay around him on the ground. He was demonstrating that not only would he never need to beg again because he would be healed by Jesus but that he was willing to give away his earnings from one of the most lucrative days of the year (just before Passover) in thanksgiving for the healing he had not yet received. That's faith. Then he followed Jesus...to Jerusalem and Jesus' crucifixion.

    1. Thank you, Frank - what an inspiring comment. Reinforced my decision to vote for Bartimaeus and left a lovely image with me.

  3. Today is all about miracles of healing, biblical and current day. How could I not support St. Jude? I know several children who’ve been treated at the hospital and are living wonderful, miraculous lives. Blind Bartimaeus is one of my favorite stories of faith and love, but Jude got my vote today.

  4. Saint Jude, totally! My grandmother always prayed to Saint Jude when there was some terrible problem; she had great faith in him. In memory of my Nanny, it's Jude all the way.

  5. St. Jude won my vote because that was my parish for many years and he is the patron of hopeless causes. Also, the children's hospital is named for him and they bring about a good many miracles and hope to families with sick children.

    1. I voted for Jude also because of the great work of S. Jude’s Hospital. My heart of hearts was with Bartimaeus! Tough choices this season.

  6. This is the hardest one yet. However, the difference of this is, both personally interacted with Jesus. Difficult choice, and both deserve to go on. But faith of the blind wins today.

  7. Many years ago, I was taught by the SSJE brothers that meditating on the story of Bartimaeus can be a wonderful opening for conversation with Jesus, if you imagines him asking you, "What do you want me to do for you?" The dialogue that has ensued has been enriching and life-giving more than once over the years for me. Bartimaeus gets my vote today.

    1. Thank you Jack Zamboni for your insightful comment about the value of using this story as a point of departure for having a life-changing conversation with Jesus. Also, thank you for bringing to my attention the existence of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. I'd never of heard of it before, despite the fact that it's located right around the corner from where I went to college.

      FWIW, contemplative prayer centered on the story of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) changed my life 21 years ago. When I placed myself in Bartimaeus' shoes, and Jesus asked me "What do you want to do for you?" my response was "I want to be strong." In my heart of hearts, I meant that I wanted to be as strong as though my parents had never divorced. This tragic event, many years previous, had left me feeling weakened in many ways, mostly in ways that remained invisible to others. I'm happy and very grateful to be able to say that Jesus has answered my prayer for strength many times over in the 2 decades since I contemplated the story of Bartimaeus. With help and guidance from a series of skilled spiritual directors, I have set out to use my strengths to help my fellow children of divorced parents. The ministry I co-founded with my wife, and the Holy Spirit, has now been able to help children of divorced parents in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. I give the glory to God, to our increasingly large contingent of financial donors who generously support our work, and to the skilled staff at the Spiritual Renewal Center in Syracuse, New York, who organized the extended prayer retreat in 1998-1999 during which I contemplated that particular passage from Mark's gospel.

      Also FWIW, the part of the story that speaks loudest to me today is how Bartimaeus refused to listen to those who told him to be quiet. The people who were telling him to shut up enjoyed having the gift of sight; Bartimaeus had lost his. They were not grieving a serious loss; he was. Bartimaeus cried out from the reality of his pain. Though he had lost his sight, he had not lost faith in the validity of his perspective. He believed his perspective was worthy of a hearing even though others disagreed with him. He did not allow the ignorance of others about his reality (what it is like to go blind) to cause him to stop crying out. To paraphrase a popular saying of our day, "Nevertheless, he persisted."

      So, in the spirit of Bartimaeus, let me continue to cry out: "DIVORCE HURTS KIDS!" It causes them pain and suffering, and it puts their physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare at risk. I thank God for the strength to take action to reduce this suffering in some small way, and for the many, many people I have met in the past 20 years who are trying to do something similar.

  8. To tell the truth, I had a tough time with this one. Neither Bartimaeus nor Jude really appealed to me. Jude is too ephemeral; another James the Less. Bartimaeus' faith is impressive, and worthy of admiration, but is that all it takes? It may get you into heaven, but the golden halo?? Then I got to the bottom of St. Jude's bio. When I was a kid I loved "Make Room for Daddy." Growing up in the then-rural Pacific Northwest, I loved the idea of living in fancy apartment in New York City with all these colorful characters coming to visit. Danny was a little hot-tempered, but he always exuded love of his family. He was my TV daddy. Recently a friend of mine lost her 10year-old grandson to cancer; I became a regular sponsor to St. Jude Hospital as a result. So for Danny Thomas and "Ray Ray" I cast my vote for St. Jude.

  9. "alleged" or "did". I go with Did and Bartimaeou. Oh, that we can always have such blind faith!

  10. This is a hard one today, but I had to go with Jude in honor of the hospital. Send some good vibes his way and to all the kids in his hospital

  11. In making my decisions I had put a lot of stock into what was factual and what was legend. Today I'm thinking that it can often be the great legends that inspire us to do great things. St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

  12. The collect for Bartimaeus was what clinched it for me. At this time when we are coping with the realities of coronavirus we need that hope, and that assurance that Jesus wants to know our worries and concerns, and will walk with us towards healing in whatever form healing takes.
    (I do not have corona virus but I’m referring to all the lifestyle changes and fears we have including financial concerns).

    1. How true -
      I chose St. Jude because my great aunt Mae was very devoted to him, and because Danny Thmas built a wonderful shrine in thanks, but the story of Bartimaeus is truly a stirring expression of faith - MBB

  13. The prayer of Bartimaeus won me over, as I hope it will be the last words I utter on my death bed and will win me over to the other side at last. Go, Barti, go!

  14. Looks like I'm seven to three... but those three losses could be a disaster, especially Joseph.... who knew? I thought he was buried in the front flower bed of my old house! What? You buried him too?

  15. Both my husband and I worked at St Jude Children's Research Hospital for several years. It's an amazing place with a terrific mission--all children are treated regardless of ability to pay (that's what ALSAC raises funds for). St Jude's patients, physicians, and researchers are from all around the world.

  16. When I was in my 20's, my mom let me know she had given my name to some group that prayed daily to St. Jude. At the time I felt a little insulted -- so she thought I was a lost cause? But thanks, Mom! I needed those prayers. For Mom and for Danny Thomas/"Make Room for Daddy," my vote is with Jude this morning.

  17. Since I am presently writing an icon of the Mandylion, the first image of Jesus, I have to vote for Jude. I am a bit troubled by the forced conversion of an entire community, even though I know such things are rife in history ("cuius regio, eius religio"). I like the word "zealous" and wish for all to have life circumstances and prospects they can face with eagerness and enthusiasm. And may we remember the plight of Syrians and all refugees and remember that a nation cannot be a light unto the world if its borders are closed and it is surrounded by a wall.

  18. It would be interesting to hear about how the art works that depict the daily saints are located and how reprint permissions are obtained. They add lovely highlights to the profiles.

  19. Blind bart could not see far
    to read, write, or drive in a car
    he wished he was able to see
    and cried, "lord hare mercy on me!"
    Jesus didn't assume that he knew
    but asked, "what do you want me to do?"
    Bart said, "let me see"
    Jesus said, "let it be"
    and the rest we all know's history!

    1. Just Jude does not wish to be rude
      but he thinks your vote was a bit crude.
      He thinks you're really voting for Paul McCartney
      succumbing to an ear worm of "let it be."
      He wishes to remind you that in ancient Syria
      the good news was, "He loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah."

    2. Loved seeing your poem on Lent Madness this morning Team Miller-Mutia . "Let it Be" Theology that you can sing with the Beatles.

  20. Is the image of Edessa the first recorded instance of someone writing fan mail to a celebrity and getting a head shot in return?

  21. My Pastor's oldest child is named after Thaddeus (who she believes is Jude) - and she has remarked on Jude being the Saint of lost causes when she is in a difficult place with this child, an autistic son. She loves him dearly, but some days are tough. The connection between her son and Jude's patronage of lost causes both brings a smile to her face and reignites in her the hope that she knows exists for her son. While I deeply love the image of my Lord asking me "What do you want me to do for you?" - I must vote for the hope of St. Jude.

  22. I identify, having portrayed Bartimaeus in "Methodist Actors Serving the Church" (MASC) with despirate blind faith. However I vote Saint Jude as most significant , mostly because of his influence on (almost saint) Danny and Marlo Thomas.