Jericho was the location of three memorable events.
The first is recorded in the Book of Joshua. You remember... the Israelites faithfully followed God’s direction to march around the great walled city. On the seventh day, after marching around the impenetrable walls seven times, a great miracle occurred. The walls crumbled. The Hebrew’s victory was epic!
The second event that occurred in Jericho was Jesus’ encounter with a Chief Tax Collector named Zacchaeus. “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he...” Did you sing that when you were a kid? “He climbed up into a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see!” You can read the story in Luke’s nineteenth chapter. Jesus said, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10, ESV). Jesus came to Jericho that day for a divine appointment with a lost man, a rich and powerful man, a man hated by his countrymen. Zacchaeus was miraculously transformed that day by God’s matchless grace!
The third event that occurred in Jericho is the subject of this morning’s blog. Blind Bartimaeus, a beggar, met Jesus just outside the city of Jericho.
A little context will be helpful. Jesus had come south from Galilee and at Jericho he had turned west, heading up the hill toward Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, the Sinless Son of God would be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed. Jesus, the All-Knowing One, must have been pondering what lay ahead. He knew that He would suffer at the hands of evil men. More importantly, He knew that He would “become sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), that He would be “forsaken” by His Father (Matthew 27:46), and endure His Father’s wrath. Yet, on this most import journey, Jesus made time to visit the blind son of Timaeus.
As Jesus’ entourage was moving past, the blind beggar bellowed, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47, ESV). The crowd tried to hush him, but he hollered louder, with more urgency, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He was blind, but with eyes of faith, he could see that mercy was his best hope. And his only hope was Jesus, the Promised One, the One to sit upon David’s throne. He was blind, but he could see better that most other Hebrews.
The beggar begged, and the Master answered with a life-changing miracle of miracles. “Immediately he recovered his sight” (Mark 10:52, ESV). The first thing that Bartimaeus saw was the face of Jesus.
Bartimaeus, the man who had always sat beside the road, is last pictured following Jesus.
We were once blind. By the Master’s mercy, our lives were transformed, from rejected beggar to King’s kid. Our response needs to be the same as Bartimaeus. We must lay aside our old ways, and faithfully, thankfully, follow Jesus!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor