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A Blind Man Meets a Healer

Walking To Cross   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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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.
But Instead of being a professional golfer or a famous musician, this guy was wiped out by life.
Blind and unable 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.
he spent his days sitting by the fairways and highways, just waiting for someone to give him a shekel or a piece of bread.
but before we get to far into let me set the context for you.
Please turn in your Bibles to
Luke 18:31–34 HCSB
Then He took the Twelve aside and told them, “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and He will be mocked, insulted, spit on; and after they flog Him, they will kill Him, and He will rise on the third day.” They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
Luke 18:31–34 NASB95
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
.Here we read that Jesus is walking to the Cross in order to accomplish what He came to do:
Here we read that Jesus is walking to the Cross in order to accomplish what He came to do:
Here we read that Jesus is walking to the Cross in order to accomplish what He came to do:
As they start out Jesus pulls the 12 to the side 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.
Then 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.
Then in they are 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 ]
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.
In order to help us get a better feel for what happened when Blind Bart met Jesus that day in Jericho, I’m going to play a short clip from the Jesus Video, which is based entirely on the Gospel of Luke.
By the way, it now looks like this evangelistic video will be distributed to every home in Pontiac this December instead of during the summer. I’ll keep you posted.
Play Video Clip.
As I try to understand this incredible encounter between Bartimaeus and Jesus, I see four different stages that Bartimaeus goes through.

The four Stages that Bartimaeus went through

The first stage is blindness.
We see this in verse 35: “As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.”
Blindness was a very common problem in Palestine. Generally, one who was blind was never healed. In the city of Lydda, the saying was that everyone was either blind or had only one eye. In Jaffa, there were 500 blind people out of a population of 5,000.
While establishes that God’s people were to care for those who are blind, there was also a cultural and religious stigma against blindness. We see this especially in the account of another man who was healed of his blindness in . There, as Jesus and the disciples are out walking, the disciples ask Jesus a question in : “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
And so, there’s a sense in which those who were blind deserved their blindness. Many people thought this disease was a consequence of sin, either by the individual himself, or because of something the parents did. As a result, blind people were often ignored or even castigated.
Because this man was blind, he was relegated to a life of begging. In the Gospel of Mark we learn that this man was wearing an old garment, which was a sign that he was a beggar.
He’s just sitting there, waiting for something to happen because there was nothing he could do to improve his condition.
This is really a word picture for our spiritual condition, isn’t it?
states that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel…”
We are spiritually blind and there is nothing we can do to change that on our own.
Just as Jesus gives sight to those who are physically blind, so too He grants spiritual insight to those who are in moral darkness.
This man knew he was blind, and so did everyone else.
Now, take a look at verse 36: “When he heard the crowd going by, He asked what was happening.”
Now, take a look at verse 36: “When he heard the crowd going by, He asked what was happening.” This man was smart. He knew that there would be a mass of people in Jericho that day preparing to make the final journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. That’s why he was sitting by the side of the road with his hand out. He couldn’t see what was happening, but he could hear the commotion and excitement. And so he’s curious. He wants to know what was happening. Perhaps he heard some unusual comments about a Healer who was headed to Jerusalem.
This man was smart.
He knew that there would be a mass of people in Jericho that day preparing to make the final journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
That’s why he was sitting by the side of the road with his hand out. He couldn’t see what was happening, but he could hear the commotion and excitement. And so he’s curious. He wants to know what was happening. Perhaps he heard some unusual comments about a Healer who was headed to Jerusalem.
Verse 37 gives us the answer to his question, “…Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Bart’s heart begins to race. Could it be, that the person He had heard of before was right here in front of him? It was almost too good to be true.

His Belief

The first stage is Bart’s blindness.
The second stage is his belief.
Notice how Bart addresses Jesus in verse 38: “…Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”
The crowd referred to the earthly heritage of Jesus ­ He was from Nazareth.
Bart expresses His messianic heritage. He is the Son of David, the one who the Old Testament has been pointing to as the Savior of the World. This blind man can see that Jesus is more than just a man from a small town in the north; He’s the God-man, sent from Heaven to be the Savior of the world.
That’s like someone saying that I’m from Wisconsin. That tells you a lot -- I like brats, cheddar cheese and the Wisconsin Badgers -- but it doesn’t tell you everything about me.
Instead of calling on Jesus as the guy from Nazareth, Bart expresses His messianic heritage. He is the Son of David, the one who the Old Testament has been pointing to as the Savior of the World. This blind man can see that Jesus is more than just a man from a small town in the north; He’s the God-man, sent from Heaven to be the Savior of the world.
Related to this, I wonder if Bart was aware of what the Son of David had accomplished in the lives of other people?
Maybe he had heard of Jesus giving sight to other blind people.
Perhaps he heard what Jesus said in , when He stood up in the temple and read from the book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind…”
When Bart called out for the Son of David to have mercy on him, he was expressing his belief that Jesus was the Messiah, and that He could heal his blindness.
He knew who Jesus was and He also knew what Jesus could do for him.
Do you know who Jesus is?
If He can restore sight to the blind, He can grant you the deepest longing of your heart. We need to cry out for mercy just like Bart did.
Do you know who Jesus is? He’s much more than just a good teacher. He is the promised one, the Messiah, the Savior of the World. If you are just beginning to get to know Him, I encourage you to join us each week as we walk together with Him to the cross. Our journey will culminate on Easter Sunday morning as our choir presents, “At the Name of Jesus,” which will be a wonderful way to end this series. This cantata does a masterful job of communicating who Jesus really is ­ you won’t want your friends and family members to miss it!
He’s much more than just a good teacher.
He is the promised one, the Messiah, the Savior of the World.
Bartimaeus was aware of his blindness, and his belief in Jesus was right on. But, he did more than just believe ­ He acted on what He knew to be true by his boldness.
Our journey will culminate on Easter Sunday morning as our choir presents, “At the Name of Jesus,” which will be a wonderful way to end this series.
Bart was aware of his blindness, and his belief in Jesus was right on. But, he did more than just believe ­ He acted on what He knew to be true by his boldness.
Bart was aware of his blindness, and his belief in Jesus was right on. But, he did more than just believe ­ He acted on what He knew to be true by his boldness.

His Boldness

The third stage is his Boldness.
Bartimaeus knew that he needed mercy because there was nothing he could do on his own.
And so, he called out to Jesus, the Son of David, for mercy in verse 38. In the first part of verse 39 we see that the crowd of people is bothered by the blind and believing Bartimaeus: “Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet…”
The people who were leading the way may have been important city officials in Jericho. They wanted Jesus and his followers to see how beautiful their community was. They were probably embarrassed and even irritated when they heard Bartimaeus cry out for mercy. They wanted to shut him up and so they told him to knock it off and to be quiet.
It reminds me of what the city of Atlanta did when they hosted the summer Olympics. Before the games began, they removed all the homeless people who lived under an overpass because they didn’t want their city to look bad. These officials from Jericho probably wished they had done the same.
I love the second half of verse 39: “…but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” This guy was really bold and courageous! He chose to not listen to the crowd and shouted out even louder than the first time. He broke all the cultural rules of etiquette. He didn’t want Jesus to get away. This was his chance to receive some mercy and perhaps his sight.
I wonder if you and I have this same kind of boldness and courage when it comes to calling out for divine help. Maybe we don’t because we don’t really understand our condition of blindness. Or maybe we don’t because we don’t believe Jesus can really do anything about it.
What about you?
If you saw yourself in the dark and in need of mercy, and if you saw Jesus as Bartimaeus did, you too would shout out for Jesus to change you.
, in the King James Version, tells us to “…come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.”
Friend, don’t hold back or be afraid to give yourself to Jesus.
Come to Him boldly and with confidence.
Let Him know what you need.
That’s what He’s waiting for ­ and He’ll reward you with mercy and grace to help in your time of need.
As a result of Bartimaeus boldness, verse 40 says that, “Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him…” tells us that Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside and jumped to his feet.
Can you imagine how the crowd must have felt, especially those who had rebuked Bartimaeus?
I picture everything getting real quiet. People are looking at Bartimaeus and then at Jesus. Jesus orders some guys (maybe the same ones who rebuked Bartimaeus) to help him walk through the crowd so that he is face-to-face with the Messiah.
The question Jesus then asks Bartimaeus is very interesting.
Look at verse 41: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Isn’t it obvious what Bartimaeus needed?
Jesus knew what Bartimaeus wanted but He asked the question for Bartimaeus sake ­ and for the crowd of people who had gathered around.
He wanted Bartimaeus to verbalize what it was that He wanted.
I love Bartimaeus answer: “Lord, I want to see.”
What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Have you ever put into words the cry of your heart?
Have you ever verbalized your deepest needs?
Have you ever shouted out for mercy to have Jesus save you from your sins? If not, Jesus is waiting for you to exhibit some boldness and to ask Him for what you need.
says that we have not because we ask not.
f not, Jesus is waiting for you to exhibit some boldness and to ask Him for what you need. says that we have not because we ask not. Just as Oscar Lopez told us that he has been asking God for a BMW, maybe you and I are not asking God for enough. At the very least, my guess is that some of you have never asked Jesus to demonstrate His mercy to you by saving you from your sins.
my guess is that some of you have never asked Jesus to demonstrate His mercy to you by saving you from your sins.
This ties in to the last point from the passage.
Once we admit our blindness, and place our belief in Jesus as our only Savior and Lord, we can then be bold in our requests.
That then leads to the fourth thing that happens: we receive a blessing.

His Blessing

The fourth stage is his blessing.
In verse 42, we read, “Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’”
Here’s a spiritual principle that you should never forget: Jesus always responds to faith.
Because Bart believed and put his faith in Jesus, he received his sight back.
Jesus is looking for more Bartimaeus today ­ people who will exhibit some faith, no matter how small it is, and cry out for mercy.
Jesus loves to answer prayers like that by healing us from the inside out, granting us spiritual insight as he moves us out of darkness.
Verse 43 tells us that, “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”
When Bartimaeus got his sight back, he couldn’t help but break out into praise.
He was thrilled!
and Those who saw what took place also were led into a time of praise.
Now we don’t know if Bart had any grandkids or even if he was interested in looking in a mirror, but here’s what happened: Bart received, then he followed, and then he praised. Those who saw what took place also were led into a time of praise. Let me put it into different terms to help us see how this applies today: Conversion leads to Discipleship, which leads to Worship, which spills over into Evangelism. Bart went from darkness to the light, from begging to following, and from crying to praising. His blessing then led to the blessing of others as they were led into worship. This is exactly what Oscar Lopez taught us last week from : We are blessed in order to bless others so that all the nations will worship God.

Let me put it into different terms to help us see how this applies today:

Conversion leads to Discipleship
Discipleship leads to Worship
Worship leads to Evangelism
Bartimaeus went from darkness to the light, from begging to following, and from crying to praising.
His blessing then led to the blessing of others as they were led into worship.
: We are blessed in order to bless others so that all the nations will worship God.
Bartimaeus the blind man became Bartimaeus the believer.
He recognized his blindness, exhibited his belief by crying out with boldness and then received a blessing, which spilled over into others’ lives.

Bartimaeus experienced four things:

A change of focus: from darkness to the light ­ that’s conversion
A change of direction: from sitting to following ­ that’s discipleship
A change of purpose: from begging to praising ­ that’s worship
A change of scope: Bartimaeus was blessed in order to bless others ­ that’s evangelism
Friends, God wants us to recognize our blindness and beef up our belief in who Jesus is.
He then wants us to exhibit some boldness by asking Him for mercy so that we can receive a blessing that can be passed on to others.
From Darkness to the Light
Have you experienced that same kind of joy and are you sharing it with others?
One night however, I woke up and got out of bed in order to use the bathroom. But, without realizing it, I had gotten out of the wrong side of the bed. Instead of finding the door, I was on the other end of my room, frantically searching for the light switch or the door. I was starting to panic. I couldn’t figure out who moved the door on me ­ it must have been one of my sisters! The more I searched the more upset I became. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I started screaming at the top of my lungs for my mom and dad. Eventually they came running down the stairs, opened my door and turned the light on. I’ll never forget how glad I was to see them!
I was in the dark and I knew it ­ I was blind. I couldn’t get out on my own. Do you recognize that you’re in the dark and trapped in a room full of sin with no way out?
I knew I needed some help and I knew my parents could help me ­ I had belief. Do you know you need some help? Do you believe that Jesus can help you? Do you have faith in who He is and in what He can do for you?
Are you praising God with your walk and with your talk so that others are drawn to Jesus?
I knew I had to scream and shout in order to get some help ­ I was bold. Are you willing to boldly ask Jesus for the help you so desperately need? Are you ready to go against the crowd, and against your peers in order to find what you’ve been searching for?
Are you using your blessing to bless others?
I experienced the joy of finally being able to see and hugged my mom and dad profusely ­ I was blessed. Have you experienced that same kind of joy and are you sharing it with others? Are you praising God with your walk and with your talk so that others are drawn to Jesus? Are you using your blessing to bless others?
The blind man seized the moment. Jesus is passing by right now in our lives.
This is the moment! If you don’t take it, you’ll miss something extraordinary and your spiritual blindness will continue.
Just as the crowds tried to keep Bart from Jesus, so too the crowds in your life are trying to keep you from Him.
Don’t listen to them. Stand up. Be bold. Go against the grain. Cry out for mercy and healing. Boldly express your belief in Jesus by recognizing your blindness so that you can receive a blessing that will spill over to others.
Communion
As we get ready to meet Jesus at the table this morning, which stage are you at? What do you need to do next?
Blindness
Belief
Boldness
Blessing
Jesus is asking you a question this morning: “What do you want me to do for you?”
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