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89: Miracles at Jericho Provide Followers of Jesus

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Luke 18:35-19:10

Harmony Texts:

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

Outline:

  1. Jesus is Called at Jericho Luke 18:35-39
  2. Jesus Answers at Jericho Luke 18:40-41
  3. The People Respond at Jericho Luke 18:42-43
  4. Zacchaeus Comes to Jesus Luke 19:1-4
  5. Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus Luke 19:5-7
  6. The Gospel Comes to Jericho Luke 19:8-10

Context/Discussion/Comments:

These first three passages tell of the same incident but they are quite different. Are they leaving or entering Jericho? Is there one or two blind men? Is this proof the Bible contains errors? The answer to the last question is NO! There are logical explanations. There were two men as recorded in Matthew. Bartimaeus was evidently an extrovert and recognized their opportunity to be healed and, thus, shouted out to Jesus, calling Him the Son of David and asking for His mercy. Concerning whether they are leaving or entering Jericho requires that we consult a map of that era. There are really three areas/Jerichos. There is the main city. To the north is another area [predominately Jewish] and to the west is chiefly a gentile area with Herod’s palace and government buildings. The road Jesus and His disciples were following was most likely the road from the east which would enter the main city and pass through the gentile/west area on to Jerusalem. So the healing of Bartimaeus and his friend most likely occured between the main city and the gentile city at the crossroads with roads from the north. Depending on your perspective, they were either leaving or entering Jericho. Some other commentators offer another explanation and that is Jesus was sought out before entering Jericho but the healing took place upon leaving Jericho. To take this point of view requires that we consider the Luke account to be a mixed bag chronologically. The gospels are not necessarily chronological in nature but they are not mixed either. The best explanation is the 2-3 Jericho areas.

The blind men have the right attitude and say the right words. They acknowledge Jesus as Messiah when they say He is the Son of David. They recognize He has the power to heal them. They have, no doubt, heard of His miracles. They ask generally for the Lord’s mercy. The Lord’s mercy doesn’t have to be healing. It could be as simple as a kind word, money for they were beggars, a hug,, a promise, encouragement, guidance, etc. Mercy comes in many forms but it is always a gift to help someone who has a need.

Jesus asks them specifically what they are asking for. They want their sight. Jesus has given many their sight. He has also raised Lazarus from the dead at Bethany, just a few miles down the road. Jesus grants them their request and acknowledges their faith in Him as Messiah. They, in turn, acknowledge Him, praising God. The crowd who tried to keep them away from Jesus also joins in praise to God. So the blind men follow Jesus. They are now pilgrims, able to walk to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. These two men will definitely be in the crowd shouting Hosanna when Jesus enters Jerusalem in a few days.

So we see that the blind men’s general cry for mercy became a specific request for sight which resulted in a two-fold blessing of physical and spiritual sight. They heard Jesus, they sought Jesus, they acknowledged Jesus, and they followed Jesus.

Jesus continues into Jericho and the crowd is getting larger. They have heard about Lazarus and now they are hearing about the healing of two blind beggars in Jericho. Zacchaeus had heard and wants to see Jesus. Jesus sees him in a tree and invites Himself to dinner. Zacchaeus gladly welcomes Jesus and the Jews are astonished. Either on the way to dinner, during dinner, or after dinner, Zacchaeus stands up and promises half of his wealth for helping the poor and will return four times the amount to anyone he has cheated. This statement is in contrast to the lack of commitment made by the rich young ruler in Lesson 86. Jesus proclaims that Zacchaeus, a gentile, is a true son of Abraham and that salvation is for all men.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Jesus hears our cry for mercy from a busy world and honors it. We should persist and never fear to cry out to the Lord for help.
  2. A good disciple directs a person toward Jesus, not away from Jesus.
  3. Jesus does not pass by anyone who truly seeks Him.
  4. Asking for what you want is a significant step toward getting what you need. The Lords listens to our requests and honors genuine faith.
  5. God’s acts of compassion are heard above the noise of the world.
  6. Praising God is the best way to point others to God.
  7. The Lord’s mercies are great. The end result is seeing Him face to face and praising Him. This is the great miracle in the lives of those who place their faith in Him.
  8. Our actions/deeds are valid praise to God. The size of one’s head is inversely proportional to the size of one’s heart….or stature has nothing to do with heart.

Hear, Seek, Acknowledge, and Follow Jesus.

Eyesight has nothing to do with Insight.

The real handicapped people
are those who do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

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