Summary: Many of us would probably rate our ability to see as our most important sense, but spiritual sight is even more important.
Was Blind But Now I See
1. We all experience countless disappointments in life. Some blogs:
Today, I got a call from a potential employer. They spent five minutes explaining job duties and I listened with anticipation. Then they spent five minutes explaining why I wasn't the right person for the job.
…my girlfriend took my phone and set the ringtone to a bloodcurdling scream. I found this out when I received a call while driving to work and, thinking someone was being murdered in my backseat, I panicked and swerved into a parked car.
2. But when our health, bodies, or marriages are at stake, problems like the above don’t seem quite so serious. Serious car accident. Cancer. Blindness is an example.
3. We have folks in our church who suffer from macular degeneration; you don’t go completely blind with this condition, but it can make you legally blind.
4. This week, a news item broke: they discovered that a drug used to treat Parkinsons’ disease can delay and may even prevent macular degeneration.
5. Blindness is much less common than it used to be.
6. John MacArthur points out two pieces of information that help set the context for today’s narrative.
i. Before modern medicine, many babies would become blind from eye infection. Venereal diseases also cause infants to go blind, which is why perhaps the disciples asked whose fault it is if a person is blind from infancy — his or the parents?
ii. Jericho (where today’s text takes place) was a hub for the blind. A certain balm bush grew there, said to sometimes cure blindness. He suggests there may have been literally hundreds of blind people in that vicinity.
5. Matthew summarizes. He tells us there were two blind men healed. We can conclude that Bartimaeus was the spokesperson and Luke and Mark choose to focus only upon him.
6. Jericho was off the road to Jerusalem, so travellers would have to travel the same road back and forth to enter and leave Jericho. Thus the point where Jesus would leave or enter the city is the same point. [info from ESV Study Bible]
Main Idea: Many of us would probably rate our ability to see as our most important sense, but spiritual sight is even more important.
I. Bartimaeus PURSUED Jesus and Would Not Be Quiet (46-49)
A. His name suggests he was not NATIVE to Israel
1. It is a combination of Aramaic and Greek
2. The fact that he is named suggests that he was later part of the church
3. Generally two reasons to name people: either famous or familiar
B. He kept CRYING OUT for Jesus despite the crowd hushing him
The crowd were other pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem — perhaps accumulating with Jesus for his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.
C. He recognized Jesus for who He is: BEN DAVID (son of David), Messiah
1. This was a confession of faith: Jesus is the Messiah!
2. Bartimaeus couild see spiritually, but could not see physically
3. So many can see physically, but are spiritually blind
4. When former slave trader John Newton became a believer and then a pastor, he penned the words to Amazing Grace and put it to the tune of a love song…
5. “I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.” Bartimaeus saw in the way Newton described
D. He asked for MERCY
1. You don’t ask for mercy unless you believe one is able to relieve the situation
2. By this, many beggars meant money to live; He was asking for much more
E. Jesus SENT for Bartimaeus (49)
1. Jesus did not heal everyone; he healed some
2. Story: thousands of star fish washed on the beach after a storm. One boy was busily throwing them back. Man said, “There’s thousands and thousands washed ashore. How can you make a difference.” Boy says, “You are right.” And he threw a star fish back in. “But it makes a difference to that one.”
3. Somehow we think we have to come up with plans to reach massive numbers or no one at all. How about trying to reach just ONE or TWO people?
II. Jesus CHEERFULLY Helped Bartimaeus (50-52)
A. Bartimaeus SPRANG up and left his cloak behind (50)
1. A cloak was a valuable item — blanket as well
2. He jumped up and hurried to Jesus
3. This was his one and only chance to be healed
B. Why did Jesus ASK Bartimaeus what he wanted?
1. Testing his faith — did he believe Jesus could cure his blindness?
2. To demonstrate that God wants us to ask, even though He knows
3. “You have not because you ask not” James says (James 4:2)