“And it came to pass that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him. Glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.” – Luke 18: 35-43
In the black community, tonight, there is a tremendous need for sight. There is a great blindness, not only in the black community, but in America as a whole. But I am kind of like Paul. I am concerned about my brethren according to the flesh. I want all people to be saved, but I have a special burden for my people. I feel that God is doing something in the black community of America today. He is calling and raising up men that are taking a stand for the unadulterated Word of God.
Now in this passage, Jesus came near the city of Jericho. This is an interesting city. Anthony had bestowed this city upon Cleopatra as an expression of his devotion. Herod erected an amphitheater in this particular place. And then, this is where the nobles went to spend their vacations. But this scene here shows a beggar sitting by the wayside when Jesus was passing by. This beggar was blind. Now physical blindness is one of the most difficult things that a human can experience. But spiritual blindness is a disease certainly unto death, unless the light of the glorious gospel shine upon a person’s heart and heals them.
There are many today who are blind and searching for the light, but the only light that they can find is second-hand light. This light is bounced and tossed about by the whims of wicked men. And they have done this down through the ages to condemn and to bind men’s souls to hell. However, there are still those who are seeking the true light. They are still by the wayside waiting for the true light to come by and shine on them.
For many people it’s uncomfortable to be in a major crowd. And it is ten times worse to be in a boisterous crowd and not to be able to see what is going on. However, this man became excited when he heard the voices of the crowd and people passing by, nearly stepping on him. As they passed, he asked what was all the excitement about. And when they told him that Jesus was passing by, and he became more excited because he had heard about this Jesus of Nazareth. He had heard about the…
CHARACTER OF JESUS
There is no one who has ever possessed the complete character that Jesus had. Whenever someone met Jesus, they knew that there was something different about Him. It is good to know someone who is different, someone whom you can really trust and believe in. Thank God, Jesus is different from all other men.
THE GREATNESS OF JESUS
Not only had he heard about the character of Jesus, but he had also heard about the greatness of Jesus as well. He had heard that Jesus was full of power. They had told him that Jesus was the one that stood on the deck of a ship that was rocking and reeling in a rough sea, and He had the power to calm the waves by simply saying, “Peace, be still.” He had also heard that this man had healed the sick and raised the dead. He had heard about this man’s greatness.
THE CLAIMS OF JESUS
And then, this poor blind man had heard about the claims of Jesus. He had heard about Jesus being the Son of God, and the Son of David. And as Jesus passed by he said, “O thou Son of David.” He believed what he had heard. And in that faith, he cried out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” God, who made heaven and earth through His Son, and who by Him divided the light from the darkness is both able and willing through Christ to open the blinded eyes and minds of men to illuminate them with the glorious light of Heaven. In Him was life and the life was the light of men.
SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS — A HORRIBLE CONDITION
This man’s condition is representative of all of mankind. All of mankind is in this position before they are saved. We are all poor and blind outside of Jesus Christ. We are utterly destitute without Christ! Each one of us here tonight have been blind before. We didn’t know our way. We were stumbling and crawling in the midst of darkness until someone came and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with us.
I never will forget the time I was in religion; not Christ mind you, but religion. For you know that we can be religious but lost. I was a deacon in a church, but I was blind and on my way to a devil’s hell. And a young man that worked with me on my job said to me one day, “Marshall, it seems as though that you are a Christian, but there seems to be some Galatianism in you.” Now I had never heard that word before. And I began to ponder and study. And I went home and pulled out some literature that I had. For you see, I was a Sunday School teacher, even though I was lost and going to hell. Then after I read my Bible and this literature, I began to see what this man was saying. You see, I was one of those religious people who knew how to say all of the right things, but in my heart believed something totally different. You know how it is when we get a little education under our belt, we try to circumvent a lot of things. We pride ourselves in being able to be diplomatic and side step certain things. Frankly, I thought I had gotten around that man. But I could not get around the Word of God. And the Word of God started pricking my heart and I began to realize for the first time that I was blind and needed Jesus to open my eyes. We were all in that condition once. Blind, Blind, Blind!
AN ANXIOUS INQUIRY
Not only was this man blind, but he had an inquiry. Hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. There are still crowds around today. Anytime there is something real religious going on you will find a crowd. You may not find the truth, but you will find a crowd. For example, you put on a feeding at the church, I dare not say a meal, because many people come to church dinners like animals. Yes, you put on a religious feeding, the people will be there. Since there was a boisterous crowd, the blind man had an anxious inquiry.
THOSE IN THE CROWD
This multitude was around the Lord Jesus Christ. But who was in this crowd? Let me share with you some of the kinds of folk in that religious crowd, and unfortunately many of these people are in the religious crowd today.
There is, first of all, the nominal Christian. They are always following Jesus. They are saved, but they don’t want to sell out. They really do not want that much of Jesus. They want enough to get to Heaven. They want the benefits, but not dedication. They want the crown, but not the cross. They want the gl
ory, but not the suffering. They want to follow, but they want to follow like Peter did when they had taken Jesus to be condemned, i.e. “a far off.” They love following a far off.
What about you tonight? Are you really close to Jesus? Have your eyes been truly opened and has Jesus become glorious in your sight?
Then in this religious crowd one will find what I call the religious bigots. These are they who think they know it all. They think that they have all the answers. Yet they have cold and callous hearts toward Christ and His people. These are they who know the Word of God but they deny the power thereof. They look down their noses at poor souls who are really striving to know the Lord in a real and intimate way. These religious bigots really don’t want to be close to Jesus.
And then in this religious crowd one will find the controversialist. This little group loves to fight. They love to find that which is controversial and cause a ruckus. Thankfully we do not have too much of that in our circles yet. And I hope we never will. Many of this group like to say things like, Oh that should not have been put in the Bible that way. Many of these guys who try to find mistakes in the Bible, usually do not have a genuine concern and burden for the souls of lost people.
And then, one will find in this crowd the ceremonialist. These are they who go to church every time the doors are open so that they may be seen of men. Their faith is not really in the Lord Jesus Christ, but rather in what they do. These, you won’t find in church when the chips are down and when the going gets rough. They will not continue to come unless someone is there to give them a pat on the back. This crowd just does things for show and to be applauded of men, not for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Because of a religious crowd like this, you see why an honest seeker like this blind man has to cry so loud. He had to cry loud enough to get through this largely phony crowd. This man had lost his sight but he had his hearing and he had his tongue. And he used them both. And I believe that is what we all should do. If we were to put to proper use what we have, we would find ourselves perhaps richer than we could imagine.
There are still great multitudes around Jesus Christ today, and somewhere in that crowd, there are a few who are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Jesus Christ. Have you seriously asked what the multitude around Christ meant that day. What does it mean to you today? What does that crowd mean? That crowd means that there are lost souls around Jesus. There are lost souls around churches today. And we that know and have the truth should be seeking to reach these dear people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
CRY OUT LOUDER
There is something that we as Christians can learn from this blind man and that is found in verse 38. This blind man, by faith, knew that Jesus Christ was the Saviour, and inspite of the crowd rebuking him and telling him to be quiet, “He cried out the more.” And that is how we ought to be. The more the devil, the flesh and the world tells us to shut up and hold our peace; we ought to cry out the more so that others who are blind can receive their sight. Jesus is the only one that can give sight! He is the only one that can save us. Jesus is the only one that can set the captive free. The more they rebuked him, the more he cried.
Why did this man cry in the way that he did? Because he was conscious of his desperate need and he was aware that the remedy was at hand — “Jesus of Nazareth passes by.” To this blind man, this was the “accepted time,” and he took full advantage of his present opportunity. You see, the scripture tells us, “Today is the day of salvation.” Unfortunately, a lot of people put it off until later. You don’t know about tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Don’t try and wait for a “convenient season.” Your convenient season is right now. Jesus said it is today. Then He tells us “harden not your hearts” as they did in the wilderness. If you are lost, you need to cry out to Jesus right now. This man cried out to Jesus and he received his sight. You can too.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
Dr. Marshall Robinson is the long-time pastor of the Grace Baptist Tabernacle in Chattanooga, Tennessee.