Summary: A message to encourage men to use what they have to the glory of God.
THE BLIND MAN
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
Guilt they can’t gash
Assignments they can’t accomplish
Spouses they can’t satisfy
Children they can’t contain
Bills they can’t beat
Money they can’t make
Habits they can’t handle
Challenges they can’t conquer
Scenarios they can’t subdue
Mistakes they can’t manage
Thoughts they can’t thwart
Ambitions they can’t achieve
Dreams they can’t divert
Bartimeus has the right equipment but he doesn’t have the empowerment! He has eyes but he can’t see! Our world is filled with men who have the right compartments but lack capability. They have potential but no power. They have muscle but no might. They have the equipment but not the empowerment! This is so often the story of the Gospel.
• Man with palsy in Mark 2:1-12
• Jairus in Mark 5
• Man of Gad-a-renes with the unclean spirit in Mark 5
• The deaf and mute man in Mark 7
• Father of the boy with a dumb and deaf spirit in Mark 9
God gave you the equipment and He must give you the empowerment! He gave you the equipment to be a man! He gave you the equipment to be a Husband and a father. He gave you the equipment to live a good life.
Perhaps the reason so many men are sitting by the roadside of life is because they lack empowerment. What’s missing in your life is not a personal trainer. You don’t necessarily need more protein. Your primary need is not external power but rather internal power! You will have mountains in your life that muscles can’t move. You will have problems in your life that arms can’t lift and legs can’t bear. Some problems demand a spiritual empowerment rather than a physical empowerment!