Sermon delivered November 17, 2001 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Begging for Light

Mark 10:46-52, Matt 20:29-34, Luke 18:35- 43

What do you do when you see a man standing at the intersection with a cardboard sign: "I am hungry, I will work for food?" and he has his hand out. What do you do? Well, I probably think, "That fellow has made more money today than I have." And I look around to see where he has parked his BMW. Isn't that awful that I do that? Let me tell you about a beggar in the bible. It's found in Mark 10:46.

One eventful morning a ragged street person left his poor hovel and slowly made his way to the roadside. He had repeated this same act almost every day of his adult life, maybe even as a child. His life work was to sit there beside the hot dusty road and beg for coins. He would sit there. He couldn't work because he was disabled. What was his problem? He was totally blind. Blind Bartimaeus.

Mark 10:46 says: Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. He was sitting on the Jericho road. Jesus was just about to leave Jericho. The parallel passage in Luke 18:35 says Jesus was approaching Jericho. This in Mark says He was leaving; Luke says He was approaching Jericho. See how the Bible contradicts itself! Isn't that awful? Can Mark and Luke both be right? I mean, was He leaving or was He approaching? Do those two words mean the same thing? Actually they're both right because there were two Jerichos. Remember that? They were two miles apart from each other. He was in one and was about to approach the other. The Old Testament Jericho was 2 miles north of the New Testament Jericho which was the Capital and winter resort for Herod the Great. Zacchaeus, was a chief tax collector of this warm area. So both Mark and Luke are correct! You can absolutely trust the Bible!

Bartimaeus! Well, I'm going to call him "Tim." He and his friend came to this spot every day and just barely got enough coins to eat. They were just eking out a living and they could not work for a living because they were both totally blind. There were two of them according to Matthew 20:30. Tim was a poor man despite his begging according to what I read in the comments I read in Volume 5 of the Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, p. 1111. His world and his future looked very dark.

This blind man was Handicapped. You know, Heaven doesn't always heal handicapped people. Have you noticed that? We sometimes have ailment and Heaven helps us through them all but doesn't always remove them. So, what were his problems?

1. He was blind. That would be a problem, wouldn't it. If you can't wee anything, the world is black and dark and you can't see anything that your are trying to focus on, you're blind, and you have a problem. Can you imagine being blind? Now, I'm not going to ask everybody to shut their eyes, but that would be horrible. If you had to lose one of your five senses, which would you choose to lose? Sense of touch? Oh, you can't lose that. How about the sense of taste? I mean, which one would you choose to lose? It would be a tough decision, wouldn't it. His eyes were as dull as that of a dead fish which had been sitting in the market all day. He couldn't see.

2. Another handicap: His environment was bad. He lived in a bad place. How do we know that? Remember that Joshua cursed Jericho after its walls fell. This accursed place was Tim's home. Maybe he lived in a hovel of the Old Testament Jericho. I don't know. But please notice that Jesus goes to the accursed place. Jesus goes to places you would not expect Him to go. And He comes there to help. Wherever you are Jesus will come by.

3. What was another handicap? His heredity was bad. How do we know that? Look at the verse. Mark 10:46 calls him Bartimaeus. Bar means "son." He was the son of Timaeus. What does Timaeus mean? Timaeus means, "unclean." So he was the son of a dirty old man. He was the son of a rotten, low-down unclean man.

4. He was poor. All the beggars in Palestine's were poor.

5. Another handicap that he had: He was totally dependant on other people. He was helpless! What could a blind man do for a living? Your choices would not be very large, would they. So he was a beggar. Tim had a lot of strikes against him.

But I want to tell you that

If you are down and out and the future looks dark, don't focus on your adversities. Focus on your assets! Focus on your resources. And I want to focus on what resources blind Tim had. Did he have any resources? Yes he did! He had a lot of resources.

Mark 10:51 Jesus said "What do you want me to do for you?" Why did Jesus ask this question? He was blind. What did Jesus have to ask that for? Why did He ask him that question? Because Jesus wanted him, He wants us to personally ask for our needs to be met. John 16:24 ..."Ask, and you shall receive!"... The blind man said: "Rabbi, I Want to see." He could have asked for money or land or anything. He had the Creator of the world standing right there, the One Who owned it all.

I've heard fairy tales of some starving man on an island finding a bottle and rubbing it and out comes the Genie. The man could ask for anything, but he asked for a newspaper or some trivial thing. Friends, when you are in the presence of Jesus ask for something of eternal value. I think we need to stop praying for a new dishwasher and start praying for a new heart. We need to stop praying for carnal temporal things and start praying for eternal things.

Notice how willing Jesus was to heal the man. He doesn't hesitate. See how rich in mercy our Savior is. Look at how strong and quick Jesus was to this poor man in need. Jesus ever lives to show compassion and love to us. Jesus is caring.

In the great story of blind Tim, the thing that really grips my heart is the caring, unselfish, tender nature of our wonderful Savior. When we are fallen, when we're down, Jesus comes by and if we will cry out to Him, he will instantly come to help us. Jesus can't be near someone in need and not do something to help that person. Jesus cannot be in the presence of a blind person and not respond.

Let's be like Jesus. Your mission statement in life ought to be helpful to others in their needs. James 1:27 (KJV). Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. That's what Jesus was all about. That's what we need to be all about.

Blind Tim was led to Jesus. Jesus touched him! Where did He touch him? You don';t get that from Mark, but you get that from in the parallel versions. He touch him right on the eyes. Have you ever let somebody touch your eye? That's where He touched him. He was touched by the Creator and he was healed. Permanent blindness is hard to cure. Yet Jesus did cure this man, instantly and totally. Did you know that in the whole Old Testament not one person was ever healed of blindness. None. In the New Testament, no disciple ever healed anyone of life-long blindness. (Only Ananias seemed to heal Saul/Paul from temporary loss of sight) That power was limited to Jesus. The Old Testament predicted this would be a function reserved only for the Messiah. Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7. Only Christ can restore sight to the permanently blind. Why? Because Jesus is the Light of the world. Only Jesus can give spiritual eyesight.

Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."

The gift of eternity and salvation can come by none other than Jesus. That blind man represented all of lost humanity struggling for the true light. Jesus was Tim's only hope. Jesus is the only hope for the world.

Jesus did not say: My Power hath saved you, He said: "Thy Faith hath saved thee" Mark 10:52. Jesus emphasized faith! We live in a strange age. I've always been amazed by what people will believe and what they will not believe. While standing in the line at the Food Store I noticed some Tabloids:

How can people believe this nonsense, how can they refuse the clear evidence of Jesus. We will see more miracles if we have more faith.

Today, where am I in this story of the blind Bartimaeus? I am the blind man! We are the beggar. That's who we are. That's where we fit in this story. Without Jesus we are in deep spiritual darkness. We are all blind. Isaiah 59:10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. We are all beggars. We all need to have the good sense to come to Jesus, come to the Light of the world. And we will be changed when we come to Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:52 (KJV) At the coming of Jesus Christ In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. That's when this takes place. I want to be saved. I want to be changed. I want to be what my Savior wants me to be.

What was Tim's greatest need? To see the light! He begged for light. Jesus is LIGHT! Tim knew how to beg. He utilized his talent to find Jesus. When we as sinners approach Jesus with great desire, and beg and plead for mercy, we will find it and our blind eyes will be renewed that we might see Jesus as our Light, as THE LIGHT of the world. What was the first thing he saw? The face of Jesus!

What ever happened to Blind Tim? Mark 10:52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. From that day he followed the Light. Jesus said, "Go!" And the man came. He followed Jesus. he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. He became a follower of Jesus. He probably became a great leader in the church. I don't know what happened. It says he followed Jesus, and the way I read it, he followed and kept following Jesus. The beggar became a follower. The healed followed the healer. And that can happen to you. You can be healed. You can receive spiritual strength. You can whatever problem you have, Jesus is the answer. Friend, if you keep following Jesus He will lead you along that road that will take you to heaven. Jesus will not lead you astray.

Deuteronomy 27:18 Cursed is the man who leads the blind astray on the road. There In Heaven you will follow Him forever. The beggar became a follower! The healed followed the Healer. Tim undoubtedly became a well-known believer, a Local Church member and a leader of the early church.

One day a blind teenage girl had an operation. The day came when she was able to take the bandages off her eyes and for the first time in her life she could see. The first person she saw was her daddy. For the first time his constant tenderness and care seemed real to her. His every look and motion were watched by those eyes with the keenest delight. If he caressed her or even looked upon her kindly, tears of gladness came to her eyes.

Someday we will get to see the kind face of Jesus. When that man's eyes opened, what was the first thing he saw? He saw Christ. And when we really are changed, we're going to see Jesus in a new light, all of us beggars. Let me just tell you some advice for all of you beggars out there: If you're going to beg, don't beg for new dishwashers, beg for light, beg for the Light of the world and you will never be the same.


Hymn of Praise: #557, Come Ye Thankful People
Scripture: Hevrew 12:1,2
Hymn of Response: #457, I Love to Tell the Story


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