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He Followed Jesus


And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

—Mark 10:52


‘As our Lord went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus (the son of Timeus) sat by the highway-side begging.’ . . .

And what does Bartimeus do when he hears of Jesus? We are told [Mark 10:47], ‘And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out.’ This plainly denotes, that though the eyes of his body were shut, yet the eyes of his mind were in some degree opened, so that he saw perhaps, more than most of the multitude that followed after Jesus. For, as soon as he heard of him, he began to cry out, which he would not have done had he not heard of him before and believed also that he was both able and willing to restore sight to the blind. ‘He began to cry out.’ This implies, that he had a deep sense of his own misery and the need which he had of a cure. His prayers did not freeze as they went out of his lips. He began to cry out that Jesus might hear him, notwithstanding the noise of the throng. And he began to cry out as soon as he heard he was passing by, not knowing whether he might ever enjoy such an opportunity anymore. ‘He began to cry out, ”Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.”’

The people called him Jesus of Nazareth. Bartimeus styles him, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David.’ Thereby evidencing that he believed him to be the Messiah who was to come into the world, unto whom the Lord God was to give the throne of his father David and of whose kingdom there was to be no end. ‘Jesus, thou Son of David’ or, as it is in the parallel place of St. Matthew 20:30, ‘O Lord, thou son of David’ of whom it had been long foretold, Isaiah 35, that when he should come, ‘the eyes of the blind should be opened.’

’Have mercy upon me,’ the natural language of a soul brought to lie down at the feet of a sovereign God. Here is no laying claim to a cure by way of merit. No proud, self-righteous, ‘God I thank thee that I am not as other men are,’ not bringing in a reckoning of performances, nor any doubting of Jesus’ power or willingness to heal him. But out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaketh and in the language of the poor, broken-hearted publican he cries out, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.’ Jesus, thou friend of sinners, thou Saviour, who, though thou be the true God, wast pleased to become the Son of David and to be made man, that thou mightest seek and save those that were lost, have mercy upon me. Let thy bowels yearn [Genesis 43:30] towards a poor, miserable, blind beggar?

. . .

And what treatment did Jesus give him? Did he say, come not nigh me thou impudent noisy beggar? No, ‘he answered and said unto him, “What wilt thou, that I should do unto thee?”’ An odd question this, seemingly. For did not our Lord know what he wanted? Yes, he did. But the Lord Jesus dealt with him as he deals with us. He will make us acknowledge our wants ourselves, that we thereby may confess our dependence upon him and be made more sensible of the need we stand in of his divine assistance.

The blind man immediately replies, ‘Lord (thereby intimating his belief of Christ’s divinity) that I might receive my sight.’ Methinks, I see the poor creature listening to the voice of our Saviour and with looks and gestures bespeaking the inward earnestness of his soul, he cries out, ‘Lord, that I may receive my sight.’ As though he had said, ‘I believe thou are that Messiah who was to come into the world. I have heard of thy fame, O Jesus! And hearing the long-wished-for glad tidings of thy coming this way, I cry unto thee, asking not for silver and gold but what thou, thou alone canst give me, Lord, that I might receive my sight.’

No sooner does he ask but he receives. For, verse 52, ‘Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.” And immediately he received his sight.’ With the word there went a power. And he that spake light out of darkness saying, ‘Let there be light and there was light,’ commanded light into this poor blind beggar’s eyes and behold there was light. The miracle was instantaneous. ‘Immediately he received his sight.’ . . . O! happy Bartimeus! Thy eyes are now opened and the very first object thou dost behold is the ever-loving, altogether-lovely Jesus. Methinks I see thee transported with wonder and admiration and all the disciples and the multitude, gazing around thee!

And now, having received thy sight, why dost thou not obey the Lord’s command and go thy way? Why doest thou not haste to fetch thy garment, that thou just now in a hurry didst cast away? No, no! with his bodily eyes, I believe he received also a fresh addition of spiritual sight and though others saw no form or comeliness in the blessed Jesus, that they should desire him, yet he by an eye of faith discovered such transcendent excellencies in his royal person and felt at the same time such a divine attraction towards his all-bountiful benefactor, that instead of going his way to fetch his garment, ‘he followed Jesus in the way’ and by his actions, says with faithful, honest-hearted Ruth, ‘entreat me not to leave thee. For whither thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people. And thy God, my God.’ He followed Jesus in the way, the narrow way, the way of the cross. And I doubt not but long since he has followed him to his crown and is at this time sitting with him at the right hand of his Father.

—George Whitefield, “Blind Bartimeus” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:456–458, 462–463.

Posted 2019·01·30 by David Kjos
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Posted in: George Whitefield · The Sermons of George Whitefield

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