And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus…
The eye of the body may be out, and we have no name for the result but blindness. The eye of the intellect may be out, and we name the result idiocy. We say the man is a fool. The eye of the soul may be out, and God names the result wickedness. He calls the man a sinner. Think of Bartimeus. He rose this morning, and his wife blessed him, his children climbed his knees and kissed him. They ministered to his wants. They led him a little way by the hand. But he did not see them. He knew of them, but he could not behold them. Their smiles or beauty were nothing to him — he was blind. Think of yourself, O sinner! You rose this morning, and the eye of your heavenly Father looked upon you. His hand led you, His power guarded you, His goodness blessed you. But your soul did not see Him. A vague idea that God had done it all may have occurred to you, but it had no vividness. He was no blessed reality to you. You saw not the lineaments of a father — the loving eye, the benignant smile. You saw nothing — your soul was blind. Think again of Bartimeus. He went abroad, and the rich valley of the Jordan spread out before him. The stately palms rose toward heaven, and waved their feathery tops in the early breeze. The gardens of balsam were clothed in their delicate spring verdure, and Jericho sat in the midst of these vernal glories, deserving its name — Jericho, the place of fragrance, deserving its frequent description among the ancient writers — the City of Palms. And high above all was the blue sky, bending over as if to embrace and bless so much loveliness of earth; and the great sun, filling earth and sky and balmy air with glory. But what was all this to Bartimeus? It might have been narrow and black for aught he could tell. It was an utter blank, a dreadful gloom to him. All was night, black, black night, with no star. Why was it so to him, when to others it was splendour and joy? Ah! he was blind. Unregenerate man, think again of yourself. You went abroad this morning, on an earth once cursed, as of old Jericho had been, but spared and blessed by redeeming mercy, even as Jericho was that day blessed by the presence and healing grace of Jesus. Around you, too, was spread a world of spiritual beauty. The walls and bulwarks and stately palaces of the city of our God were before you. The rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the vine, the palm, the olive, and the fig tree all stood about you in the garden of the Lord. Through them flowed the river of life, reflecting skies more high and clear than the azure of summer mornings ever imagined, and lit to its measureless depth by a sun more glorious than ever poured splendour even upon Eden, in our poor world's ancient prime. You walked forth amid all this beauty, and many saw it — none perfectly, yet some very blessedly — but you saw nothing. You see nothing now. Nay, you cannot see it. Strain your blind soul as you will, you cannot see it. I see a beautiful mother gaze anxiously on her babe. She is trying a fearful experiment. She stretches out her arms to it, beseeches it with loving looks, holds out sparkling jewels to it, and flashes them before its eyes in the very sunshine at the open window. But the little eyes move not, or move aimlessly, and turn vacantly away. And she cries out in anguish, "Oh, my poor child is blind!" And now I understand why even tender children turn away from Christ, seeing no beauty in Him that they should desire Him, and caring nothing for all His smiles or tears, or offers of the rich jewelry of heaven. They see nothing of it all. They are blind, born blind.
(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)
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.