Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 30, 1969

Gifts From A Blind Beggar

H. Osby Weaver

If the spiritually blind were as conscious of the darkness in which they grope as the physically blind, they would know that "time is of the essence."

It is usually conceded by most Bible students that Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-49, and Luke 18:35-43, are discussing the same incident in spite of a point of discrepancy. As to how many blind men were involved is not a discrepancy. The fact that Mark and Luke mention only one does not preclude the possibility of the Lord healing many. Matthew mentions two, but the point of difference, if there is one, is in whether Jesus was entering Jericho or leaving Jericho when the cure was administered. We do not perceive this worthy of too much consideration so in our analogy, we shall draw from what is said by all three writers and treat the incident as one, even though it may represent more.

Great multitudes surrounded the Lord wherever he went. He did not have to maintain a press agent nor advertise himself and his accomplishments in order to get a crowd. His works were genuine, and the people flocked to him without having to be urged to do so.

As Jesus drew nigh unto Jericho, the noise of the multitude around him aroused the interest of the blind beggar. He could not see them, but he could hear them. He asked the meaning of the commotion and was told that it was the result of Jesus passing that way.

This man had heard of Jesus, else he would not have known that he was a son of David. Added to this the appellations "Lord" and "Rabboni" and we have an indication of the high esteem in which Christ was held by him. He obviously was acquainted with what the prophets of old had said about Christ and his coming. His interest would be quickened as he remembered Isaiah's words: "The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing" — 35:5. Even though blind, he had kept himself informed and had a correct conception of Christ. Contrast this with those of John 7:40-44 and John 12:34 who had a much better chance to know the identity of Jesus but were deficient in their information and as a result were divided over who he was. This blind man, with all his physical handicap and limited opportunities, was informed regarding the lineage of the Lord and the power which he possessed. Though he was burdened with one of the cruelest blows that fate can strike, he nevertheless used what he had and was about to receive one of this life's greatest gifts as compensation.

He knew that Jesus had the power to heal him — to restore his sight. Perhaps he had often wished for just such an opportunity as this. If he could only meet Jesus, he could be healed! What a glorious thought! But he had to wait for Jesus to come his way.

Those in the darkness of ignorance, superstition, and sin are now living in a highly favored age, for Jesus has come our way, and his provisions are ever ready for distribution. No need to wish for the coming of him who can bring light to our lives.

The blind man not only had to wait for the Lord to come, but he in turn had to come to the Lord. If they would see, the spiritually blind must do the same today, but they are not hindered as the blind man of our lesson. All that would keep the spiritually blind from seeing — from coming to the Lord, is their own disposition in the matter.

The fact that men continue to live normal and prosperous lives apart from the Lord is but an evidence of the longsuffering of Christ (2 Pet. 3:9), but the time will come when his patience will have become exhausted, then it will be too late for those to buy back their souls who have made procrastination a way of life. If the spiritually blind were as conscious of the darkness in which they grope as the physically blind, they would know that "time is of the essence."

The Lord's presence in Jericho provides the beggar with his one great chance. He does not want to miss it. He cannot afford to miss it! The Lord must not pass him by unnoticed, so he resorts to the only method available to him — that of loud crying and beseeching. Can we any less afford to let him pass us by, or pass him by? Would we exert the same effort to accomplish a more important end?

Let us look at some of the other lessons or gifts which this beggar has bequeathed us. First, he had faith. Jesus said, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." However, he was not made whole the moment that faith was conceived. He evidenced the faith while crying to the Lord, but he was still blind. Faith still makes men "whole" but not the moment they believe. The blind man could have believed that Jesus was a son of David, the one sent from God with power to restore sight, and he could have believed that for the rest of his life and remained blind if he had not "cried for mercy and come to the Lord." He was not healed by his own works, but that did not nullify the necessity of his own efforts without which Christ may have passed him by. Hence, his faith was active. It is the faith that works through love that avails — Gal. 5:6.

His faith was persistent. "He cried out the more a great deal." He was determined to have the blessings of Christ. All the efforts of those to quieten him were fruitless. He was not just a rabble-rouser. He had an urgent plan to execute, and it was of such magnitude to him that it would allow for no timidity nor slothfulness on his part. He also knew that the value of what he expected to receive was far above the amount of effort expended. It was too good a deal to pass up. Nothing could deter him. It is no less so today. It is the persistent, stedfast faith that receives the approbation of God — Col 2:5.

His faith could not be intimidated. The multitude rebuked him and told him to keep quiet, but they could not stop him. Their public rebuke would have been sufficient to chill the aspirations of even some of the stout-hearted among us, but not his. The blessings of God meant more to him than anything else, and he willingly suffered the bitter, sarcastic reproaches of the multitude in order to come to Jesus.

We should never be concerned when men rebuke us for doing that which is right — Matt. 5:11. The devil is always using someone or something in an effort to prevent one receiving the blessings of God. He may be using a member of your family — Luke 14:26, a friend — Gal. 1:10, an associate — Acts 13:8, your job or possessions — Luke 14:33, or a desire to have a good time-2 Tim. 3:4. How much do the blessings of God mean to you? How much would you suffer in order to come to Christ?

He readily accepted the Lord's invitation. This is indeed a singular fact in view of the attitude of so many today in this regard. The blind man "cast away his garment;" he got rid of any hindrance that might stand in his way and the A.S.V. says he "sprang up" to go to the Lord.

In spite of this man's great faith plus all other efforts and manifested interest by him, he still had to be brought to the Lord. His faith was the motive but not the medium of transportation. After an evidence of faith, he was still away from the Lord, and Jesus "commanded him to be brought." Jesus still wants men to come to him — Matt. 11:28.

Jesus had compassion on the blind. He can still be touched with the feeling of our infirmities — Heb. 4:15.

The blessings received by this man were adequate and immediate. He did not just gradually get well. This is very much unlike the present day operation of the so-called "healers."

Toward the blind man, the multitude at first expressed contempt. It was "shut up and get out of the way!" The next instance, he was the honored — "Be of good cheer: rise he calleth thee." One moment he was the despised — the next, "don't forget us; we had your interest at heart all along." Humanity may not have grown any worse in this regard, but it hasn't improved much either.

The man did not soon forget his blessings nor the source from whence they come. "He followed Christ, glorifying God." We should be more grateful for what the Lord has done for us. Our appreciation is best seen and perhaps only seen in our following the Lord and glorifying God. One cannot bring glory to God and stay in sin — Rom. 3:23.

All the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. We can also be instruments in the hand of God to lead people to praise God as a result of what we are and what we do — Matt. 5:16. Our influence is felt whether it is good or bad, and people will either be led to praise God or serve the devil because of us — I Cor. 15:33 and I Cor. 5:6.

This blind man's relationship to Christ could be expressed briefly: He heard, he came, he was healed, and thereafter he followed, glorifying God.

— 1838 N. Shaffer, Orange, California; CA-92667