Luke 18:35-43 (NASB)
As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, I want to regain my sight!” And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.
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This text is remarkable for several reasons, but the primary one is that it is the only place in the Bible where it is said, Jesus stood still (v. 40, KJV). The NAS translates it “stopped,” but I like the language, “Jesus stood still.” We are told that Jesus went about doing good and that He was constantly on the move. In fact, earlier in this chapter (v. 31), Jesus said to His disciples, “We are going to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be beaten and killed.” The Messiah says, “I set my face like a flint toward Jerusalem (Isaiah 50:7). As Jesus follows the road to Jerusalem from Jericho we find a blind beggar waits for Him outside the city.
“Son of David, have mercy on me.”
- Jesus stood still...
This stand at attention reminds me of a father who hears his child’s voice call out. It is the posture of someone whose attention has been transfixed by a voice or a phrase. In Joshua’s day ‘the sun stood still... in the middle of the day’ (Joshua 10:13), but surely there is no greater miracle than the Son standing still on His way to Jerusalem to die. The King of Kings stops at the call of a blind man.
- Jesus called out...
We are not sure what Jesus said. The NIV says Jesus said, “Call him," but those words are not in the original. We don’t know if He called Bartimaeus by name or if He simply called out for the man to come. We do know that the call was very personal because everyone told Bartimaeus to go, because “He calls for you” (Mark 10:49). There is no greater honor than the Son of God to call your name.
- Jesus reached forth...
He reached forth to the blind man and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v. 51). We can fathom a king beckoning a servant to do his bidding, but it is a rare thing for a king, much less the King of Kings, to ask a blind beggar what He can do for him. The million-dollar question for us this morning:
Will Jesus Christ ever do the same thing for me?
- When I pray like Bartimaeus - “Son of David, have mercy on me! (vs. 38, 39).
Jesus will walk right past the inn of merit . . . but He takes up residence in the inn of mercy. Mercy --- “relieving one’s misery with the understanding that the misery is deserved.” “The tree of mercy will not drop its fruits unless shaken by the hand of mercy” (Thomas Watson). Do you plead for mercy or merit?
- When I persevere like Bartimaeus - “They told him to be quiet, but he cried all the more” (v. 39).
This prayer for God’s mercy is like the parable of the persistent widow. The blind man did not let his limitations, his friends or his past stop him. He needed a touch from the Savior, and he refused to stop until he found it.
- When I am persuaded like Bartimaeus - “Throwing aside his cloak, he came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50).
Mark’s account uses a strong word (ekballon) to describe how he “cast off’ or “threw” his outer cloak. Blind people don’t cast things off unless they are convinced they can find them again. This story illustrates for us what it means to come to God for forgiveness, peace, or purpose. Call to Him today.