Summary: This message from Luke 18:36-19:10 deals with two amazing events both of which happened in the city of Jericho a short time before Jesus death in Jerusalem. It deals with the healing of Bartimaeus and Jesus' encounter with Zachaeus. One was a physical hea
Bart and Zach
Luke 18:36 – 19:10
CHCC: March 20, 2011
The two miracles we’re going to talk about today happened during the last month of Jesus’ life. For several weeks Jesus and his disciples had been slowly traveling toward Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus told his Apostles clearly that he was going to be executed in Jerusalem. But they just weren’t ready to hear that. They still hoped that Jesus would set himself up as the King of the Jews when he came into Jerusalem.
A growing crowd of people traveled with Jesus. And as they traveled, Jesus was teaching and healing. They were only 15 miles from Jerusalem when Luke 18:35 says, As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:35-38
We know this man’s name was Bartimaeus from the gospel of Mark. Notice that Bart calls Jesus the “Son of David” … which is the title of the Messiah. Bart believed … not just that Jesus was the promised Messiah … but also that Jesus could heal him. He wasn’t shy about calling out to Jesus --- and his enthusiasm annoyed the people around him: Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:39
This was a procession … or a sort of parade … coming into Jericho. And certain officials were leading the way. These leaders wanted Bart to tone it down … they didn’t want the "riff-raff" spoiling the effect.
Have you ever known someone who got “too excited” about Jesus? You’ll find that if you get “too excited” about Jesus, there will always be people around you who want you to calm down. Mike Yaconelli wrote: “Threaten others with a loud and boisterous faith, and you will be politely asked to quiet down; dance your faith instead of sitting still in a pew, and you will be asked to leave; talk about your faith with passion and you will get expressions of concern about the inappropriateness of your emotions.”
When William Wilberforce was a teenager, his family criticized him for hanging around with the Methodists. The established churches back then had a derogatory term for this new Christian group. They called them “enthusiasts.” The British folk of that day had disdain for any show of intense emotion. This carried over into the church. Religion had its proper time and place, but you shouldn’t take it too far. Wilbur’s parents tried to keep him from getting too excited about Jesus. If he’d followed their advice, William Wilberforce would never have led the movement to abolish slavery in England.
Well, if the crowd thought Bart was too excited, they hadn’t seen anything yet! Soon Bart would be doing a lot more than shouting. You see, Jesus stopped the parade and gave blind Bart his sight. And as soon as Bart was healed, he followed Jesus, praising God.
Here’s what strikes me about this miracle. When Bart received his sight, the first thing he saw was the face of Jesus. It makes me think of a hymn-writer named Fanny Crosby. Fanny was quoted as saying this about her blindness: “If I could have one request it would be to remain blind … because when I get to heaven, the first face that will ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”
Fanny Crosby wrote thousands of hymns. One of them contains these words:
When my life-work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him, and redeemed by his side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him, by the print of the nails in His hand.
The first thing Bart ever saw was the smile on Jesus’ face. He responded by becoming one of Jesus’ most enthusiastic followers. It’s likely he followed Jesus all the way to Jerusalem. If that’s the case, then Bart was about to see another miracle. He was about to see a camel go through the eye of a needle. Let me explain…
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. Luke 19:1-3