Jesus is the Son of Man
Jesus heals the Blind Beggar
All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke chapter 18. Of course, if you need a Bible, please let us know and we can help get one of your own for you to be able to read for yourself.
We are continuing our journey through Luke’s Gospel, as Jesus and his disciples are continuing their journey towards Jerusalem. Jesus purpose in getting to Jerusalem is to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and to rise form the grave to defeat death and in both these things, ensure that we see that he is truly human and that he is truly God.
On his way to Jerusalem, he has been preaching truth and performing miracles. He has been showing all those who were around that he had the God given authority and the God granted power to do all those things. And all of those things as well, are to show that he is who he said he was, God incarnate.
And so, as they are traveling to Jerusalem, we pick up Luke’s Gospel in Chapter 18, verses 35 through 43. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to grab your Bible, in your preferred translation and follow along as we read through the Word of God.
Luke 18: 35-43, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reads:
As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.
So, again, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and they come upon Jericho. As they do, there is a blind man begging on the side of the road. The way that the Bible records these things is that there tended to be a number of beggars, the blind, the lame, the sick, the elderly, whomever couldn’t provide for themselves, and they would crowd the sides of the roads at the entrances and the exits to the villages and especially the cities.
They would gather where people would be, and they would beg and ask for alms, money, food and whatever passersby would be willing to give. They had no way to provide for them selves and there was no safety net for them. They were literally at the mercy of those who passing by.
This beggar, who is named Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46, he heard the crowd passing by. He knew there were more people there than normal. There was something happening that he couldn’t tell.
So, he asks the crowd around him, “Hey, what’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” Those that were with him that could see, those who were lame, or sick, they answered. They told him “Jesus of Nazareth is coming.”
And one of the amazing things that we sort of talk a lot about, but I don’t think we really understand the magnitude of, this blind man knew exactly who they were talking about.
I read this week that the travelling distance between Nazareth, where Jesus grew up and started his ministry and Jerusalem, where he would end his earthly ministry and his life. Now, he walked a whole lot more than that of course, but there was a large amount of space that Jesus covered in his ministry and did all these things with no newspapers, no radio, no internet, no Fox News or CNN. And this blind guy, on the edge of Jericho new exactly who Jesus of Nazareth was.
And so, this guy who was blind, seems to have been waiting for this day to happen, waiting for his chance and he is not going to let it pass. He cries out for Jesus, “Jesus! Son of David!”
Now this is not an ordinary title for Jesus. This was a very specifically messianic title. This was just a title of identification. It was not just a title of respect. This was not just a title of authority. This was again, a messianic title.
And so, he cries out, Son of David, Have mercy on me!
BArtimeous knew who Jesus was. Like really knew who he was. And he trusted Jesus, trusted that he could heave mercy on him. AS I said, it does seem as though Bartimaeus was prepared and maybe even waiting for this very opportunity.
The people around him, his fellow beggars, they told him to sit down and be quiet. They didn’t want to hear him yelling for Jesus. This is just conjecture, but I suspect the beggars knew Jesus didn’t have any money, and so couldn’t give them any, so Jesus wasn’t worth begging from.
But Bartimaeus wouldn’t have it. The more they told him to be quiet, the more he cried out. Again, Son of David! Have mercy on me!
They would not silence him. He had faith in Jesus, and they were not going to keep him from expressing it, from crying out to Jesus in his time of need.
Its interesting that this is contrasted with the rich young ruler we looked at recently. In his case, his riches prevented him from seeing who Jesus really was, from doing what he needed to do and from recognizing that he needed Jesus to save him. Bartimaeus on the other hand, had his blindness and poverty emphasize his needs, making them clearer to him and helped him to recognize that Jesus was the only one who could help him.
Now, Jesus, being Jesus, heard him crying out above the din of the rest of the crowds. He heard him despite the people around him trying to quiet him. And Jesus, of course, had Bartimaeus brought to him.
And Jesus questions him. You ask for mercy What is it that you really want from me? You succeeded, you got my attention, now what? What exactly are you asking for? You call me the Son of David? TO what end? For what purpose? Do you know what that actually means?
Now, of course Jesus already knows the answers to these questions. But he is challenging him. Just like the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good, and you don’t believe I’m God…”
Why do you call me Son of David? Do you actually believe that?
BArtimeous responds. What do I want? LORD allow me to see. Give me my sight!
Wednesday morning, during prayer meeting, we were talking. And it was pointed out that Jesus just talked to his disciples, and we saw the spiritual blindness that was at work there and now here, we are dealing with Jesus addressing physical blindness.
While our spiritual blindness is lifted when God opens our eyes to who he is, to who Jesus truly is, we still have a way to go in terms of having our eyes fully opened. The Apostles were still partially blind because they could not see what Jesus was saying. They could not understand what he was supposed to do. There is a progress to our spiritual sight being restored. And it is a conscious choice on our part if make progress in that or not.
Bartimaeus was self-aware enough to know that he needed Jesus’ help. And he was going to leave it all on the table in crying out to Jesus. Lord, let me recover my sight!
Good News for Bartimaeus, Jesus healed him both physically and spiritually. Bartimaeus recovered his sight. He was blind but now he could see. A bona fide medical miracle. As I read a multitude of commentaries this week on this passage, each one of them had a different story of a blind person recovering their sight. And I appreciate what they are doing with those stories, showing that God still works miracles today, even through medical means, and to show the responses and the reaction from these people to the ability to see for the first time. But I don’t think any of these stories really gives the weight or the spectacle of what happened to Bartimaeus here.
Jesus was passing by. Bartimaeus cried out to him. Jesus healed him, gave him his sight! Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer who wrote, among hundreds and hundreds of others, Blessed Assurance, was also blind. She praised God for her blindness, famously saying, If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind. Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.
And that awe and wonder of seeing Jesus’ face to face is something that we all, all of us as believers in Christ get to look forward to. Clarence Macartney wrote:
And for you and me too, that will be the greatest of all sights. When we awake from the dream men call life, when we put off the image of the earth and break the bonds of time and mortality, when the scales of time and sense have fallen from our eyes and the garment of corruption has been off and when this mortality has put on immortality and this corruption has put on incorruption and we awaken in the everlasting morning, that will be the sight that will stir us and hold us.
We all get to look forward to that glorious day. As I believe each and every one of us have seen, as believers get closer to death, that upcoming meeting face to face with Jesus is what sustains them and allows them to end the race well, to have a great testimony. It is what allows those great saints who are dying to suffer well and be ready to go home to be with and to be with our glorious savior. Because they are going to see Him, they are able to say goodbye this world.
After he restores his sight, Jesus then he tells him something even greater than that. He says, your faith has made you well. Jesus didn’t just heal him physically, but this man was also brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. He was saved from the wrath of God brought on by the sins he committed. He was forgiven. And Bartimaeus glorified God and seemingly became a dedicated disciple.
And as they saw this, all the people there praised God. That’s something to remember and to look at. Jesus was popular with the people of the day. We are going to see in a few weeks his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. They cried out to him, Hosanna! Hosanna! Jesus was very popular with the people. And Jesus is very popular with people today. The Jesus of their own making anyway. Not the Jesus of the Bible.
The people today, and in that time of course, in every time since then, they love a specific Jesus. They love the Jesus who heals and loves and encourages and lifts up, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who asks nothing of us, which is false.
They love the Jesus who stands up for the oppressed and the poor, those who can’t stand up for themselves, those who are downtrodden and heavy laden, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who doesn’t define or confront sin, which is false.
That Jesus who is our friend, who is our spiritual guru, who is a great moral teacher, who accepts everyone as is, who is one of many different paths to God. That Jesus is popular with the people. That Jesus also doesn’t exist.
Make no mistake, Jesus does those things mentioned earlier. He is our friend. He does accept anyone as they currently are. But he does not accept people to stay as they are. He does not dismiss sin and refuse to define or confront sin. He does not sweep sin under the rug. Jesus thought sin was a big enough deal that he willingly and voluntarily took our place and died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who would believe.
That Jesus is, shall we say, a little less popular.
I’m going to end with a couple of applications for this passage, as listed out by Kent Hughes. First, we need to see and recognize our need. Of course, the most important is that we have a need for Jesus Christ as our savior, but also, our need to see our blind spots, our sins, our apathy and so much more.
Second, we need to recognize Jesus as the one who care take care of our needs. Our salvation, our sanctification, even our repentance and our faith are all given to us by Jesus.
Third, we need to ask or cry out, Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me! James makes it clear in his letter that we don’t have because we don’t ask. That’s not a blank check for whatever we want, but it’s a call to cry out to Jesus and ask for what he has already promised.
And what he has promised is salvation. Eternal life. Forgiveness of sins. Life abundant. If we cry out and ask for it. If we respond to him in faith, by his grace this will be granted to us.
One of the things that Jesus calls us to and he himself modeled to us is, after we are saved, we get baptized. This is not an act that save us but shows those around us that we identify with and follow Jesus. The dunking under water symbolizing death. Jesus died and went into the ground. We die to our sins and go under the water. Jesus rose from the grave, as we celebrated last week. And we come out of the water symbolizing the new creations that we are in Christ.
Today, we get to celebrate a baptism as Randy has expressed his desire to be baptized. Turns out, I found out yesterday that today is National Day of Baptism. So, there are many, many churches celebrating the same thing today that we are doing. It also means that many, many churches are praying for all those being baptized today, which means that they are praying for us and for you Randy as well.
I’m going to close us in prayer and as Dave leads us in our closing song, Randy and I will change and be ready for us to do this.