Summary: As Jesus heads into Jericho, He meets a blind man named Bartimaeus we know that’s his name from Mark’s account of the story. His experience with Jesus changed him forever.
A Blind Man Meets a Healer
Stevie Wonder (the singer) and Jack Nicklaus (the golfer) are sitting around the pool talking. Inevitably the conversation turns to golf and Nicklaus is surprised to find out that Stevie Wonder, who is blind, has been playing golf for years.
The golf pro can’t believe it. He wants some details so Stevie Wonder explains how he does it: “My caddy stands out in the middle of the fairway and calls out to me. I listen for the sound of his voice and play the ball towards him. Then when I get to where the ball lands, the caddy moves further down the green, shouts out and I hit the ball again.
Nicklaus is obviously impressed but then asks, “But how do you putt?” The famous singer replies: “Well, I get my caddy to lean down in front of the hole and call to me with his head on the ground and his mouth just over the cup. I just play the ball towards his voice.”
Nicklaus finds all this very amazing and then asks Wonder if they can play a round sometime. Stevie agrees but says that because people don’t take him very seriously he only plays for money and he never plays for less than $10,000 a hole. Nicklaus thinks about it for a minute and then says, “OK, that’s serious money, but I’m up for it. When do we play?”
To which Steve Wonder answers, “You name the night.”
This morning I want to talk about another blind man. Instead of being a professional golfer or a famous musician, this guy was wiped out by life. Because he was not able to see, he spent his days sitting by the fairways and highways, just waiting for someone to give him a shekel or a piece of bread.
Before we meet this blind man, I want to first set the context for you. Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 18:31-34. Here we read that Jesus is walking to the Cross in order to accomplish what He came to do:
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.
This is the third time in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus predicted His impending death. And, each time He told them about what was to come, He got more explicit. If you were to read through the Gospel of Luke, you would notice that beginning in chapter 9, there is a major shift in Jesus’ orientation. We’re introduced to a “travel motif” that permeates the remainder of the book.
9:51: “As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” We see here that His approaching goal is not only His death and resurrection, but also His ascension. The phrase, “resolutely set” out for Jerusalem means that He “set His face towards” the place where He was going to die as the final sacrifice. And so, He begins His walk to the Cross.
10:38: “As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village…”
13:22: “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem.”
13:33: “In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”
17:11: “Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.”
18:31: “…we are going up to Jerusalem.”
Without a doubt, Jesus is on a mission. He’s headed to Jerusalem. And the caravan of people that are following Him is growing at each rest stop. We see in Luke 18:35 that Jesus is now approaching the city of Jericho, which is about 15 miles from his final destination.
Since it is about 800 feet below sea level, Jericho has a climate that is tropical and at times very hot. The town is known as an oasis because of its fresh water spring and is called, “the city of palm trees.” In fact, I’m told that Yassar Arafat is building a summer home in Jericho. It was in Jericho that the pilgrims gathered to make the final leg of the journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual Passover feast.
Let me show you on a map where Jesus is as we come to our text this morning. [ Show PowerPoint Slide ]