Blind to Blessed
April 11, 2021 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Faith Verse: Luke 18:35–18:43
Theme: God’s mercy extends to all who come to Jesus by faith.
I. The Request of Faith – 18:35-39
A. The Misery of Spiritual Disability – vv. 35-37
- Jesus had fixed His eyes on going to Jerusalem in order to provide what was needed for sinners to be saved – something that was hopelessly impossible without God’s action.
- Luke highlights in the previous section the narrative Jesus provides to the disciples that would enable them to believe once Jesus had been raised from the dead.
- Now “As Jesus was approaching Jericho …” on His way up to Jerusalem, an event occurs that provides an object lesson of what His sacrifice would accomplish – the deliverance of sinners from their lost & blind condition.
- “… a blind man was sitting by the road begging.” - the plight of physical blindness is used in Scripture as illustrative of the spiritual inability to see truth – something that results from a variety of causes:
- A natural state of darkness into which all men are born, disabling them from seeing truth – 1 John 2:11; Colossians 1:13-14.
- A state of deception caused by Satan – 2 Corinthians 4:4.
- A state of hardness of heart whereby the sinner hardens his heart – John 3:19-20.
- The terrible debilitation of being blind caused this man to have no ability to help himself – he was relegated to “… sitting by the road begging” [ἐπαιτέω] - lit. “to ask for more.”
- As Jesus was passing by, the man heard the commotion of the entourage – “Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.”
- Blindness was considered to be a judgment by God upon either the man because of his own sins or by some egregious sin by his parents whereby they were punished by their child’s blindness – cp. John 9:1-2.
B. The Motivation in Spiritual Desperation – vv. 38-39
- As soon as this man heard that it was “Jesus of Nazareth [that] was passing by … he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”
- We are given this man’s name in Mark 10:46 as Bartimaeus.
- Several insights are important in this verse:
- “he called out” [βοάω] – indicating that he “used his voice at maximum volume” – an emotionally charged pleading or an anguished call for help.
- This term is used to describe the roar of a lion.
- By addressing Jesus as “Son of David,” he affirmed his faith in Him as the Messiah – cp. Matthew 22:41-42.
- He sees that Jesus is the Messiah for which he had waited and essentially confesses His need for mercy for not just his blindness, but because of his sin – “… have mercy on me!”
- This was the anguished call by a penitent heart that knowing that salvation comes only through God’s grace and mercy.
- He was confronted by those around him to stop – “Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet” – “sternly” [ἐπιτιμάω] – to censure or reprimand; cp. Luke 18:15.
- But all this did was cause him to become all the more intense – “… but he kept crying out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’”
- There was nothing that was going to stand between this man and the Messiah – he would relentlessly pursue Christ, not just for his physical eyesight, but for the mercy he needed spiritually.
Consider the misery of people who are spiritually blind – what are some ways you can be helpful to help them know what they don’t know?
How does a spirit of desperation evidence the power God’s Holy Spirit?
II. The Response to Faith – 18:40-43a
A. The Regard for Those with Faith – vv. 40-41a
- We are told that “Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him …”
- Jesus countermanded the efforts of those who were attempting to thwart Bartimaeus’ desire to be reconciled to the Messiah – John 5:39-40; 6:37, 44.
- We are told that hearing this blind man’s plea, Jesus actually calls for the man – cp. Mark 10:49-50.
- Jesus then opens the door for the man for “when he came near, He questioned him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’”
- Jesus offered to this man the resources of heaven – the infinite storehouse of mercy and grace accessible to no one except the Son of God who even has the power to forgive sin.
B. The Remedy for Those with Faith – vv. 41b-43a
- The man, with absolute faith in Jesus as the Messiah calls upon Him as God to heal him – “And he said, ‘Lord, to regain my sight!’”
- With the affirmation of the deity of Jesus through the use of the term “Lord,” he asks for healing.
- To “regain my sight” [ἀναβλέπω] suggests that this man had lost his sight through disease or accident as he had at one time been able to see.
- Without effort, fanfare or contrivance, Jesus’ heart is moved for this man – cp. Matthew 20:34.
- He magnificently, yet simply, grants his request – “And Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.’”
- The term “made you well” [σῴζω] (perf. act. Ind.) is the term for deliverance or salvation most commonly translated “saved” – cp. Luke 5:20-24.
- Luke tells us that “immediately he regained his sight” – a clear act of redemption indicated by the restoration of his vision.
How does Jesus’ response to the blind man comfort you in your spiritual need?
What difference in your life has the spiritual sight given you by God made?
III. The Reveling in Faith – 18:43
A. The Fervency of Faith
- This man’s entire life had gone from being a judged outcast from society to a cleansed, forgiven man on whom the mercy of God had performed a radical transformation.
- His response is the only appropriate response that such persons have – “Immediately he … began following Him, glorifying God …”
- Two characteristics common to all believers are immediately seen here:
- Obedience: “following” [ἀκολουθέω] – to follow or accompany as a disciple; and can also mean to comply with someone or to obey them – Matthew 9:9; Luke 18:22.
- Worship: “glorifying” [δοξάζω] – refers to the attempt to influence others’ opinion about another – Bartimaeus was pointing out the worthiness of Jesus for all to see
- This man did not have to “warm-up” before he was willing to bow before the Lordship of Christ, it was immediate, complete, and public.
B. The Fruitfulness of Faith
- The fruitfulness of this faith is seen in the fact that everyone who heard about it joined in the exaltation of Christ – “… and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.”
- This miracle likely fueled the euphoria that lingered for several days until the Triumphal Entry and the ascriptions that were given to Christ – cp. Matthew 21:9.
- His obedience and worship was so intense that the population of people around him were influenced to look at the worthiness of Jesus as well.
What does the fact that the blind man immediately began following Jesus tell us about what ought to be true of those who receive God’s mercy?
Do others have the ability to bring glory to God because of the difference Jesus has made in your life?
We all depend on God to open our spiritual eyes so that we might see the glory of Christ and believe.
When we cry out to God for mercy, He is moved with compassion and exerts Himself on our behalf.
The experience of God’s mercy is not an end in itself, but the means by which we become avid, passionate devotees to Jesus.
What Jesus did for these blind eyes He desires to do for blind souls as sinners are turned to Him by faith through the grace of God.