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WHAT'S A POOR, BLIND
BEGGAR TO DO?
Intro: Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem. When Jesus arrives there, He will be rejected by the Jews, betrayed into the hands of the Gentiles and crucified on a Roman cross. Jesus is headed to His death at Calvary.
As He moves steadily in that direction, He is surrounded by people who cannot understand just Who He is. The Jews are blind to Who He is, though He tried to tell them and show them on many occasions. The disciples are blind to Who He is, though they have seen Him demonstrate His identity time after time. Those around Him would not recognize just Who Jesus was until after He has died on the cross and rose again.
As Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem, He and His disciples pass through the city of Jericho. The name “Jericho” means “To smell, or A place of fragrance.” It was a city that abounded in many fragrant plants like roses, balsam, and cypress. Honey was found there in abundance as well. Travelers passing through Jericho were surrounded by many fragrant smells. It was a city that lived up to its name.
There would be a fragrance in Jericho on this day that had never been there before. “The Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valleys” was passing through. As He did, He demonstrated the great fragrance of His glory in the city of Jericho.
On this particular day, the roads of the city were jammed with pilgrims. All of Israel was on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover, and the road through Jericho was one of the main routes to the Temple. People crowded along the roads to see Jesus as He passed through. The people might not have known exactly Who He was, but they knew He was someone special and they turned out to see Him as He passed by.
Surely the news had preceded Him! Earlier, when Jesus had entered the city, He encountered one of the richest men in town. A little man named Zacchaeus, who was also a tax collector for Rome, climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He passed by. Jesus stopped and called Zacchaeus down from that tree and saved his soul. Now, all the people are trying to get a glimpse of Jesus as He passes by.
As I said, most people were blind to just Who Jesus was. Only a very few people in that great throng recognized the Son of God as He moved among men. But, there was one man in that crowd that received 20/20 spiritual vision that day. This is his story.
As we observe this encounter between Jesus and a blind man named Bartimaeus, I want you to look into you own heart. Let God speak to you and show you that what He did for this blind man, He can do for everyone who will call on Him by faith. I want to preach on What's A Poor, Blind Beggar To Do? I want you to see Bartimaeus And His Condition; Bartimaeus And His Cry; and Bartimaeus And His Cure.
I. v.46 BARTIMAEUS
AND HIS CONDITION
A. He Was Blind — Bartimaeus was a blind man. Due to disease and poor sanitary conditions, blindness was very common in Israel in Bible times. It still is today! Here is a man who has never seen a sunrise or a sunset. He has never seen the smile on a baby's face. He has never seen the beauty of God's creation. Bartimaeus lived in a very narrow world. He lived in a world of darkness.
B. He Was A Beggar — Bartimaeus was not able to go out and find a job. There were no social programs and no welfare programs to help him survive. He was forced to sit beside the road and beg for his living. When the Bible says that he was “begging”, it means that he constantly begged and asked those passing by to give him money. Bartimaeus lived a life of wretched poverty.
I can imagine him being led to the side of the highway in the morning to spend his day begging for alms. Or many he used a cane to find his way to the place where he begged. He was a pitiful man, with a tragic condition, living in a cruel and heartless world.
(Note: Bartimaeus is a living example of every person who is not in a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Like poor Bartimaeus, every lost sinner spiritually blind, 2 Cor. 4:4.
Bartimaeus had a problem with his optics, the lost sinner has a problem with his soul. Bartimaeus had something wrong with his eyes; the lost sinner has something wrong with his heart. Bartimaeus would have used his eyes if he could have; the lost sinner would not use his spiritual eyes, even if he could, Eph. 4:18; Rom. 3:11.
There are people all around us who see just fine with their physical eyes, but they cannot see with their spiritual eyes. According to the Bible, they are blind!
They cannot see the HORRORS OF SIN. They cannot see what their sinful deeds are doing to them. They cannot see the lost years; the wasted days; the ruined lives; the pain, the sorrow and the sadness. They cannot see that there is a place called Hell at the end of the way. They cannot see that they are headed for death, destruction and damnation, Matt. 7:13-14; 2 Thes. 1:8-9. They cannot see that they abide under wrath, even as they live in this world, John 3:18, 36.
They cannot see THE BEAUTY OF THE SAVIOR. They do not see just how wonderful He is.
I am here today, worshiping Him because I was allowed to see His loveliness one day. Everywhere I look in the world, I see Him and His glory. I look around this room and I see where He has been working. I see the changed lives. I see His power on display and I praise His name for it. The lost person can’t see the beauty of the Savior, because they are blind!
Not only are they blind; they are also beggars! People all around us manage to pay their bills. Some even accumulate saving and others obtain great wealth. They may not have to beg for money, food, clothing or shelter, but in a spiritual sense, they are poverty stricken. Without Jesus, they are morally and spiritually bankrupt! The sinfulness of lost humanity has left them spiritual paupers in the sight of God.
That is what happened in Eden. God made man in His image. God placed man in a beautiful garden where every need was met. Man sinned against God and threw it all away. Sin stripped man of everything spiritual that he had and left him a spiritual pauper. Without Jesus, you have nothing! Your life is like an empty pocket with a hole it. Without Him, you have nothing. No matter what you might accumulate in this life, you will die without Jesus and you will go to Hell and have nothing to show for your life but spiritual blindness and spiritual poverty.)
(Note: Bartimaeus was in a sad condition, but the lost sinner is far worse off than he was.
• The lost sinner is blind, he cannot see God.
• He is deaf, he cannot hear God.
• He is a spiritual cripple, he cannot run after God.
• He has withered hands, he cannot work for God.
• He has a defiled mind, he cannot think of God.
• He has a stammering tongue, he cannot talk to God.
• He has a wounded heart, he cannot live for God.
• He is a Ieper; he is unclean and defiled in the presence of God.
• Worst of all, the lost man is a dead man, Eph. 2:1-3.
• He cannot sense God, feel God, know God, desire God, love God, or come to God on his own.
• The lost sinner is in a tragic condition!)
II. v.47-48 BARTIMAEUS
AND HIS CRY
A. It Was A Passionate Cry — As Bartimaeus sat there begging t-at day, he heard the crowds pass by and he heard the excited voices of the people. Luke 18:36 tells us that “he asked what it meant”, someone told him that it was Jesus and Bartimaeus began to cry out.
Why did he call out to Jesus? suspect that Bartimaeus had been hearing some things about Jesus. He might have heard how Jesus had healed some lepers. He might have heard about the demonics Jesus had delivered. He might have heard about the way Jesus walked on water and multiplied loaves and fishes. He might have heard about how He saved old Zacchaeus. Of course, he might have heard about how Jesus had restored sight to other blind men. (III. You do know that Jesus healed more blindness than He did any other kind of physical ailment.) I think that hope was beginning to build in the heart of Bartimaeus. Maybe he said, “If Jesus can do all the things I have heard about Him, maybe He can heal me too.” So he cried out for healing.
The people tried to stop him, but he cried out even louder. This was his only hope and he knew it. He wasn't taking any chances. He wanted Jesus to help him.
(Note: I guarantee you that Jesus has passed by your heart at some point. It may have been in a song. It may have been in a sermon. It may have been in a personal witness. Somewhere, somehow, Jesus passed by!
I thank God that He does! I praise God for the day He passed by in my life and I knew Who He was for the first time. I couldn’t help but cry out until I got what I needed. Have you ever had that experience? What a blessing that Jesus would pass by the place where poor, dead, sinners sit begging their way through life, but He does, John 1:9; Rom. 1:10!)
B. It Was A Particular Cry – Bartimaeus may have been blind, but he saw some things about Jesus that others with 20/20 vision did not see. Bartimaeus had come to see that Jesus was the Messiah. That is why he called Him the “son of David”. Somehow, Bartimaeus had taken the things he had heard about Jesus and it all came together in his mind. He understood the truth that most people in that day missed. He saw the truth that Jesus was the Messiah! Since he believed that, he believed that Jesus could heal his blindness. Why? One of the signs of the Messiah would be that He would open the eyes of the blind, Isa. 35:4-6; Matt. 11:5.
(Note: Before a lost person can call out to the Lord for salvation, they must first understand just Who He is. They must see Him as their only hope. They must understand that He alone can save their souls and forgive their sins. They must see that Jesus is more than a teacher or some poor fellow Who got Himself killed on a cross. They must come to understand that He is the Son God. They must see that He died for their sins. They must see that He rose again from the dead. That is what the Bible teaches, Rom. 10:9.
How can the lost man come to see all that? It's in the Bible but he probably won't understand it when he does, 2 Cor. 2:14. They can hear it from a preacher, but they probably won't understand it, 1 Cor. 1:18.
If a lost sinner is going to see Jesus and understand Who He is and what He can do for them, the Holy Ghost is,
going to have to show them. That is why Jesus said what He did in John 6:44. It takes the Spirit of God touching the sinner's dead heart and causing them to comprehend the truth, Eph. 2:1. When that happens, they will call on Jesus. At least, that was my experience. How about you?)
C. It Was A Personal Cry — Bartimaeus cries to Jesus and says, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Did you notice that Bartimaeus did not try to demand his “rights”? Bartimaeus knows that he is no position to demand anything. He is seeking “mercy”. The word means “to bring help to the wretched.” Bartimaeus knew that he needed something he could not provide and had no right to demand. He cried out to Jesus asking for help for his wretched condition!
(Note: We have women's rights, civil rights, children's rights, gay rights, and every other kind of right imaginable. When it comes to spiritual things, I do not want my “rights”. I want “mercy” and I want “grace.” If I got what I deserved, and if I got what was coming to me, I would be in Hell today. And so would you! We have no right to Heaven. We have no right to Jesus. We have no right to salvation. We have the right to live a lost, wretched life and we have right to an eternity in Hell. l do not want my rights! I want mercy and I want grace!
You and I need mercy and I praise the Lord that mercy in one thing our God is rich in, Eph. 2:4. It is His mercy that brings salvation to our lives, Titus 3:5.)
(Ill. I read about a lady who went to a photographer on day and had her picture made. When he showed her the proofs, she was very unhappy and she said, “Well, I don’t like that! Those proofs don’t do me justice.”
He said, “Ma’am, what you need is not justice. What you need is mercy!” Me too!)
D. It Was A Persistent Cry – Bartimaeus is calling out to Jesus and he is raising a ruckus. He is causing an uproar. The people try to silence him. Jesus has come to Jericho and here this blind man is creating a scene. They tell him to shut up. The word “charge” means to “rebuke sharply.” They threatened him and said, “You better shut your mouth blind man! Don't bother Jesus! He's too busy for the likes of you!”
But, Bartimaeus just kept on calling out to Jesus. He believed Jesus could help him and he wasn't doing to allow Jesus to pass by without getting that help.
(Note: I remember just how he felt. The day I got saved, I knew what I needed to do. I knew Who I needed to go to. At that moment, I could have cared less who else was in the place. I had to get to Jesus and nothing was going to stop me.
If Jesus is passing by your heart today, you do not need to wait. Get to Him while He is near, He may never pass this way again Isa. 55:6. Don't worry about who is here. Don't worry about what they might think. Don’t worry about waiting for the invitation. Get to Jesus and don’t let anything stop you.
Get to Jesus and get to Him while He is calling. That is the only time you can come. Don’t delay, one day it will be too late. It may be too late today.)
III. v.49-52 BARTIMAEUS
AND HIS CURE
A. v. 49-50 A Personal Cure - Jesus heard the cry, of poor, blind Bartimaeus and He stopped in His tracks(He is on the way to the cross but He still takes time for one blind sinner! What a Savior!
Jesus stops and calls for the people to bring Bartimaeus to Him. Imagine how Bartimaeus must have felt. Day after day he sat by this road. The people pass by and most of them simply ignore him. Every now and then some kind soul will cast a coin in his basket. But today, he has caught the attention of the Lord of Glory! Just as surely as Jesus “must needs go through Samaria”, He also had an appointment in Jericho with a blind man named Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus gets up and throws aside his outer garment. After all, he is blind and that garment might have tripped him up. He got rid of the things that could have hindered him and he came to Jesus.
(Note: Well, I bless the day Jesus stopped by where I was! I bless the day that I had the attention of Heaven! I praise His name that He stopped where I was and called for me to come to Him. That is the only way sinners ever come to Jesus. When He calls, they will come, John 6:37!
When you come to Him, you have to do like old Bartimaeus did. You have to turn your back on the things that to hinder you from coming to God. What things? Sin! Fornication, adultery, beer, liquor, drugs, cussing, meanness, anything that stands between you and Him, must all be repented of, Luke 13:3. If you are going to come to Jesus, you have to come to Him His way. His way is for you to turn away from your sins.)
(III. A little boy got his hand caught in a vase one day and try as they could they could not get that little boy's hand out of that vase. They pulled and they tried, and they pulled and they tried, and they couldn't get it out. So finally they had to break the vase to get the little boy's hand loose and when they broke the vase they found a little fist balled up like that. They opened up his little fist and there was a nickel in his hand. Some of you today, you're holding on to that little old nickel of sin!)
B. v. 51-52 A Powerful Cure – When Bartimaeus comes to Jesus, Jesus asks him what he wants. Bartimaeus responds in faith and asks for healing. He wants to see.
(Note: the same is true for the lost sinner. A simple prayer of faith is sufficient to save the soul, John 3:16; Rom. 10:13. When the lost sinner calls on Jesus, it does not take all day for salvation to happen. It is instantaneous and it is powerful. That was my experience and that was the experience of many people in the New Testament!)
C. v. 52 A Permanent Cure — Bartimaeus never did go blind again. How do I know that? It says so right there in verse 52. The word “whole” is in the “perfect tense”. That means that Bartimaeus was made “whole” and he stayed in a “whole” condition. The word “received” is in a tense that refers to “a onetime action that provides lasting results.” In other words, Bartimaeus started seeing and he never stopped! He just kept on having sight!
(Note: When Jesus saves a soul He doesn't just do it for a few days or until the saved person sins again. When Jesus saves a soul, He does it forever. He gives those who believe in Him “everlasting life”, John 3:16; John
6:47; John 10:28; 1 Pet. 1:5. Once you are made alive in Jesus, you are alive in Him forever! Salvation provides eternal security to everyone who receives it.)
D. v. 52 A Profound Cure — As soon as Bartimaeus is healed, he starts to follow Jesus. He just begins to go after the Lord. Luke tells us that he, “followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, pave praise unto God,” Luke 18:43. Bartimaeus received his sight, fell in love with Jesus, began to praise the Lord and became a witness all in a few moments of time. That is profound, if you ask me!
(Note: That's what Jesus does when He saves a soul too. He takes that old sinner, washes his sins away and puts the Holy Ghost in him. That child of God begins to walk a new path through life. He wants to follow Jesus. He wants to tell others what the Lord has done for Him. He can't help but brag on Jesus for His grace and His blessings. He is a new creature and everyone who sees him knows that he is different. That is the power of our Savior, 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; Psa. 51:10. God doesn't care about your religion. He doesn't care about your good works. He doesn't care who you are or what you've done. All God cares about is this: Do you know Jesus? Are, you saved by His grace? (III. Gal. 6:15; 1 John 5:12.)
Conc: So, what's a poor, blind beggar to do? Exactly what Bartimaeus did. Call on Jesus today and trust Him to save your soul. Trust Him to wash away your sins. Trust Him to give you eternal life and to carry you to Heaven some day. Trust Him to change your life.
Is He passing by your heart today? Is He calling you to come to Him? He has been, hasn't He? Today is your day friend! Today is the day when Jesus is near. Today is the day of your salvation. Come to Him and come now!