"And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging," &c.—Luk_18:35-43.
Christ went up and down doing good, healing divers diseases, and blessing the bodies and souls of men. He was never out of the way of usefulness. At all times and seasons he was at hand to remove the maladies of those who made application to him. He was now journeying to Jericho; and when he was near that city, he came in contact with a poor blind man, who sat by the wayside, to receive alms of the people. The noise of the approaching multitude attracted his attention; and when he understood that Jesus of Nazareth was approaching, "He cried out, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me," &c.
I. The Circumstances and Situation of Bartimeus.
1. He was blind.
Deprived of the invaluable sense of seeing; stranger to the beauties of nature; incapable of enjoying the pleasant light of the sun; deprived of all the pleasures and profits of reading; state of imminent peril.
2. He was poor.
Not able to pursue any worldly calling; dependent on the alms of the passing traveller.
3. His case was, humanly speaking, hopeless.
Let these observations be applied to the natural state of men in their unregenerate condition. Understanding darkened, spiritually poor, and beyond the power of human energy to restore; Eph_2:1-2; Eph_2:11-12.
II. His Application to Christ.
Two indispensable occurrences preceded this:
(1) Christ passed that way. His condition rendered it impossible that he should have sought the Saviour.
(2) He was informed that it was Jesus who now approached, or still the Friend of sinners might have passed on, without his knowledge of that circumstance.
So, in like manner, Christ has passed by us; he has come near to us—become our dear kinsman—sought us out; or we never could have received his salvation. And this event of our dear Redeemer's visit of mercy has been made known to us; his character, offices, and work are all placed before us in the gospel. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth," &c.; Rom_10:8-13; 2Co_6:2.
Having noticed these preliminary circumstances, we observe, that his application to Christ was,
1. An application for mercy.
Not demanded as his right, but sought as mercy. He felt his misery, knew his unworthiness, and therefore sought mercy. It was 2. The application of faith.
He addressed Christ as the Saviour "Jesus." He honored him as the expected Messiah, "Son of David." While rulers and priests proclaimed him as an impostor, and the Pharisees denounced him as a sinner, and attributed his miracles to Satanic agency, this poor man addressed him as Israel's long-expected deliverer, the Saviour of the world, and believed he possessed power to restore his sight: "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me." It was,
3. Ardent and persevering application.
He continued to cry and he ceased not until his cry was heard, and his petition granted. Observe,
III. The Result of this Application.
1. The people endeavored to silence him.
"And they rebuked him, that he should hold his peace." This was cruel. Yet, when sinners are seeking God, they will have many such rebukes: Satan, world, friends, formalists, will all cry, "Hold thy peace." Bartimeus cried the more earnestly. Let seeking sinners imitate him.
2. Jesus stood still.
Prayer arrested him in his course; cry of misery fastened him to the spot.
3. He commanded him to be brought.
Prayer brings the soul near to Christ.
4. He inquired his request.
Not that he was ignorant, but to give him an opportunity of presenting his plea. And he said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." This is what we all need, that our understandings be savingly enlightened, &c.
5. He granted his soul's desire "Receive thy sight." And in a moment his sightless eye-balls were enlightened, and he beheld the beautiful light of day. God says to us, "Arise, shine," &c.; Isa_60:1.
6. He honored his faith.
"Thy faith hath saved thee." Not by any inherent power or meritorious influence, but by bringing the malady to the right physician, by laying hold of the only Saviour. He had honored Christ by his faith, and now Christ honors that faith before the people. Eph_2:8. Observe,
IV. The Course Bartimeus adopted.
1. He followed Christ.
As a monument of his mercy; witness of and for his truth; as grateful for the blessing conferred. Christ expects all his disciples to follow him. To let their light shine, &c.
2. He glorified God.
By acknowledgment, praise, and dedication. And, finally, "the people also gave praise to God."