Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, and He passes through Jericho. The time of Passover is nearing, and people are beginning to make their way up to Jerusalem. When I think of Jericho, I think about that great walled city in the time of Joshua, and how those walls came crumbling down by the power of God. It is a city that has some interesting attributes. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world. It lies 800’ below sea level. Jerusalem is about 15 miles away, and it is at 2500’ above sea level. It receives about one inch of rain per year, but the land sustains vegetation because there are numerous springs below the surface. It is also an area that has many caves, and these became a popular hiding place for thieves and bandits. Because the area was known to be dangerous, people often traveled in large groups. That coupled with the fact that pilgrims were headed to Jerusalem for the Passover explains some of the background of our text. Bartimaeus was one of six blind men that Jesus healed during His time on the earth. Blindness seemed to be a prevalent affliction in the Bible, and it is first mentioned in Genesis 19. The men of Sodom were trying to get at two visitors that had stopped at Lot’s house. Lot did what he could to hold the mob back, and the men were finally struck with blindness. This a physical ailment that gives us a picture of a spiritual condition. You will be hard pressed to find a more wicked bunch than the citizens of Sodom. In the physical sense, I believe most in the room have their sight, but in the spiritual realm, all of us were born blind.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: That is the legacy that mankind passes down from generation to generation, and I think we understand that spiritual blindness, sin, needs to be cured.
Bartimaeus means son of honor, but he was involves in a most dishonorable activity. He found himself among the dregs of society as he would spend each day, begging for a little help. But don’t be too down on the poor guy, he was doing all that he could. My first experience with the blind in the workplace was in a museum snack shop. Then there is an organization that employs the blind to make household products. How about last week? Brother Elliot is being used of the Lord to preach the Word. But Bartimaeus lived in a day where all he could do was simply beg, and hope that his fellow man would have compassion on him.
Notice as Jesus comes his way, this blind beggar begins to cry out. “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” People tried to quiet him down, which caused him to cry out with more fervency. Jesus stopped, and asked that they bring him to Jesus. Now the same crowd that was trying to hush the embarrassing beggar picks him up and says that the master wants to see you. People can be fickle. Be careful about following the crowd, because even though they are the majority, that does not mean they know where they are going. I want you to see an important point in this story. The beggar had been crying out for mercy, but Jesus still asked him what he wanted. He wanted to see again. Here is the point. Crying out is not enough. I think people in desperation will cry out for help or deliverance, but they never get it, because they tend to leave out confession. They know they need help, but are not willing to admit why they need it.
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. After the confession, Jesus says, “Thy faith hath made the whole.” I want you to see something else in our text this morning. The beggar started out by the highway, and ended up in the way. Once his change came, and he threw off the old garments, he was able to follow Jesus in the way. This story is a great picture of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Anyone here who has been saved and in church for any length of time understands that there is extreme opposition to this message ever getting out.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. We could say from that text, that Satan desires for the lost to remain lost, or the blind to remain blind. As we close this morning, I want to mention another kind of blindness. We are all warned about certain things that could hurt our eyes when we were growing up. Don’t look directly into the sun. at a solar eclipse, or at an arc welder. Most of us realize that doing that greatly increase the risk of damaging our sight. I believe the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, has put a certain gleam on his system and his ways. So the Devil can take a blood bought believer and show him the gleam and glimmer of the world and see him led astray. I do not understand the details of this man called Demas, but I know he forsook the Apostle Paul and left him because he loved this present world.
That is why John had to warn us not to be in love with the world.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Do you see what this means? One who has been in the way could find himself by the way, having dropped out of the Christian race. Still saved, still heaven bound, but caught up with the cares of this world, and regressing back to a life of begging and shame. I can’t imagine Bartimaeus going back to pick up those old garments and going back to his old ways, but Christians do it all of the time. Here is a major reason why that is---they haven’t learned to walk by faith, they are still walking by sight. When we are led by our eyes, we may see greener grass on the other side, we may be attracted to the broad way, and leave the narrow way behind. Why don’t we learn to be sheep that trust our Shepherd?
Psalms 23:1-3 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Are you saved this morning?
Do you need to get back in the way?