And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus…
I. Observe HOW SINGULARLY IS THE PROVIDENTIAL GOODNESS OF GOD DISPLAYED IN THE DIRECTION OF THE EVENTS LEADING TO THIS INTERVIEW. The blind man takes his place by the roadside, not to meet with Jesus or anyone else whom might restore his sight, but merely to procure from the uncertain compassion of travellers a small pittance that should serve to prolong his weary existence. Just at this juncture Jesus, having left Jericho on His way to Jerusalem, passes that way. Many travellers came and returned, but he knew them not. In this instance the rush of a multitude attracts his notice. That God who has denied him the use of sight can convey His blessings through another organ. It is affecting to think on what a trifle appear to hinge the most important relations and destinies of our existence.
II. THE NOTICE BARTIMEUS TAKES OF THE INFORMATION CONVEYED TO HIM. It is with him no idle speculation. He did not fix on mere circumstantials, or on a topic of interest to others; he contemplated the matter in direct and prompt reference to his own case. Go at once to Christ, and cry so as to be heard through the crowd. The petition of Bartimeus deserves notice not less for the terms in which it is expressed than for the urgency with which it is preferred — "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." It contains a full and prompt confession of Christ in that character, in which of all others He demanded the recognition of mankind, and of that age and nation in particular, and in which He was most obnoxious to the malice of His enemies. Nor is this testimony to Christ as the Son of David less valuable as an indication of great faith in the covenant mercies of God as set forth in prophecy (Isaiah 55:3; Psalm 72:12).
III. THE COLD AND CHILLING REPULSE WHICH HE MET WITH, not from Jesus but from the bystanders, perhaps even the disciples, for they had not yet learnt much of the spirit of the Master. Some undervalue accessions to the kingdom of Christ from the ranks of the poor. Indifference and suspicion often hinder religious inquiry.
IV. THE CONDUCT OF BARTIMEUS. When thwarted in your approach to the Saviour how has it operated? it has grieved you; but has it driven you back? Like the tide pent up, which bursting every barrier, rushes with accumulated force, Bartimeus is prompted by this ungracious repulse to cry so much the more. Go thou and do likewise.
V. JESUS STOOD STILL AND COMMANDED HIM TO BE BROUGHT. Of what importance is it, in the career of the great mass of individuals, when they move along or when they stop? There are men whose movements are eyed with anxious care. The steps of a Caesar, an Alexander, or a Napoleon, have borne hope or dread with them; the incidental halting of such characters has been identified with the fate of a city or a province. It is only of such as preach the gospel of peace that we can say, "How beautiful are their feet upon the mountains." The cry of one poor man was of sufficient importance to arrest Christ in His progress.
VI. THE COMMANDS ARE OBEYED WITH ALACRITY.
VII. THE SAME PROMPTITUDE AND DETERMINATION WHICH BARTIMEUS BEFORE MANIFESTED GUIDES HIM IN THIS NEW ASPECT OF AFFAIRS. His tattered cloak is cast away as a hindrance. He has an all-absorbing object before him. The sinner rejects as idle encumbrances his self-righteousness and self-indulgence, which have clung to him as his second self, and rushes alone into the arms of a compassionate Saviour.
VIII. The scene now increases in interest. THE MAN IS HEALED IN THE WAY OF INQUIRY, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? "This is the way disconsolate sinners are encouraged to tell their own tale.
IX. WHAT REPLY IS MADE TO THIS INQUIRY? "Lord, that I might receive my sight." He came by the shortest step to the matter in hand; in prayer we should have a specific object in view.
X. HOW IT SUCCEEDED IN THE CASE BEFORE US? "Go thy way."
(A. G. Fuller.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.