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By Cleavon Matthews
The significant city of Jerusalem is the destination. On the pathway to this pericope of passion is the historic ‘city of Palm trees’ Jericho. This is not the original city of the Old Testament. It is two miles south of the original built by horrendous Herod the Great and home for his winter palace. Jericho is approximately five miles west of the Jordan River, six miles north of the Dead Sea, and twenty-one miles Northeast of Jerusalem.
Traveling with the Lord is a constricting crowd. In the midst twelve men closely follow him: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. The Lord previously called these men to be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons (3:14-15).
In Mark this event is the final healing miracle of Christ. Jericho is a Judean city. It is also home to over twenty thousand priests and Levites when they are not on Temple duty. This setting is ironic because the ‘Light of the World’ had come to town and the religious majority is still in darkness! Bartimeus has a physical blindness, which is symbolic of their spiritual blindness. John said, “In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (1:4-5).
I.THE DISABLING PROBLEM
Mark 10:46 “Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.”
Bartimeus is sitting by the roadside begging because he has a problem he can’t solve. Like so many men he had a disabling problem. Men are not exempt from the plaguing problems of life. His problem was blindness. Blindness was not an uncommon problem at this time. So disabling was this problem it reduced him to a life of begging on the streets of Jericho! He had no other healthy alternative. No other options. It was either beg or be hungry. Beg or starve. Beg or be thirsty. Beg or die. No social security check. No disability funds. No unemployment. No trust fund. No wealthy benefactor. Bartimeus was sitting by the roadside in Jericho. Blindness was a awful burden to carry.
• No blind descendant of Aaron could serve as a priest in offering sacrifice to God (Lev 21:16-24).
• Not even blind animals could be offered as sacrifices (Lev. 22:22).
• No stumbling block was to be placed in the way of the blind (Lev 19:14).
• Anyone who misled a blind person was cursed (Deut 21:18).
We needed to do this series of Muscles, Money, and Maidens: A contemporary biblical look at men because our world and our church have men with problems. Typically our problems are related to either or muscle or power, money, and women. We need some help. We need some guidance. We need to be delivered. We need to stop faking and start finding because men have problems too…
Tempers they can’t taper
Anger they can’t assail
Lusts they can’t leave
Addictions they can’t abandon
Pasts they can’t pardon
Relationships they can’t reconcile
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