- Sermon Notes
That the Blind May See
As we continue our study through the book of Luke, Jesus is now heading toward Jerusalem. There, as we know from scripture and from history, the long awaited Messiah will enter into Jerusalem in the fulfilling of prophetic scripture and the culmination of God's purpose since the creation of the earth.
But will Israel receive her King? God had told them in advance through the prophets of old such as Daniel and Isaiah not only the exact time when their Messiah would be presented into Jerusalem, but they were also told the signs that accompany the Messiah that would help them to discern and to know that the One entering Jerusalem that day would be sent by the power and anointing of God.
So the events leading up to Jesus entering into Jerusalem are extremely important because of their prophetic significance; so that their eyes might see that Jesus was sent by God as God's answer to a broken and desperate world.
When we look also at the other Gospels we see that at this point Jesus has already raised Lazarus from the dead, healed ten lepers at one time, cast out demons, forgiven a woman caught in adultery, and confounded every leader who challenged him.
So Israel not only had the prophecies of Daniel to help them discern the exact time the Messiah would come, but they also had the fulfilling of all of these things so they could see and discern the signs of His coming. But they didn't see; maybe it would be more accurate to say that they refused to see. And that brings us to our scriptures today which are all about blindness and the lessons God wants us to understand about the importance of having spiritual eyes that see.
I. Take Hold of the Opportunity to See
- Blindness is the one disability that many people fear most. They would rather lose their hearing or their ability to speak or walk rather than to lose the ability to see because there is something terribly fearful about being cast into darkness.
- One of Helen Keller's most famous quotes gives us even greater insight. She said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
- In other words, from her perspective, those who refuse to see are more blind than those who cannot see.
- There is another saying that captures this truth very powerfully, "There is none so blind as he who refuses to see."
A. Darkness is part of spiritual warfare
- There is physical blindness and spiritual blindness and frankly, spiritual blindness is much more dangerous because it has eternal consequences.
- Remember that Jesus recently had an encounter with a young man who was wealthy and powerful and Jesus was trying to open his eyes so he could see beyond the limitations of his worldly possessions.
- The young man said that he wanted eternal life, but refused to see that he valued the treasures of the earth far more than the treasures of heaven.
- And there is a great insight for all of us because the enemy of our soul would love nothing more than to keep people in spiritual darkness.
Illus – When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out, saying, "Lord, have mercy on me, Son of David!" And many in the crowd spoke to them sternly and told them to be quiet. How did he know Jesus was the Son of David?
- There is something here God wants us to see. Here is the long awaited Messiah offering light and life to the world, but there are so many who refuse to see, even though the evidence is right before their eyes; yet blind Bartimaeus calls Him the Son of David.
Isaiah 35:4-5, Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance… But He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped…”
Isaiah 29:18, On that day the deaf will hear words of the book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
- But there are also other scriptures that talk about the spiritual nature of blindness and the enemy’s desire to keep people blind.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4, And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 John 2:9, 11, The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now… But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Revelation 3:17, "Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…"
B. You have to actually want to see
- When Bartimaeus was sternly corrected and told to be quiet, he cried out all the more, saying, "Son of David! Have mercy on me.”
- Jesus then called for him. From another gospel we know that someone then said to him, "Take courage; arise! He is calling for you." When Bartimaeus was presented Jesus then asked, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
- Now, at first, we might wonder why Jesus is asking such an obvious question. But is it so obvious?
- Some people don't want to be helped. In fact, some will even sabotage any efforts to rescue them. Why? Because they have found safety in their prison and they don't know what it's like to be free.
Illus - If you lived with bitterness all your life, you may not know what it means to live free with the joy of the Lord and the peace that passes understanding.
Illus - There he was on that road that day and at that hour and who should pass by but Jesus on His way to fulfill the culmination of time and history, and it was his opportunity to receive what he had always wanted.
No doubt he would have heard that when the Messiah came He would not only set prisoners free, He would give sight to the blind and Bartimaeus took hold of those words and cherished them in his heart.
- When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he called out to Him by another name, "Lord, have mercy on me, Son of David!" That was the title of the Messiah, the One that would heal blindness and he knew it and so when Jesus asked what he wanted, he knew the answer. "Lord, I want my eyes to be opened."
C. God sees not as man sees
- Part of the wonder and glory of the story is that Jesus saw him from God's perspective. He saw not as man sees, but as God sees.
Illus – When I was young I remember sitting in church watching a young man with chains and leather, shaved head and spiked mohawk. I didn't see him with spiritual eyes, but then the youth pastor came and prayed over him…
- The people in that time would have looked at these blind men and concluded that the cause of their blindness was sin; either their own or their parents.
John 9:1-34 Who really is blind in this story?
- Jesus simply looked at him with a heart of compassion. Even though he was blind, he could see what others could not see.
II. Live by Faith and not by Sight
- The first thing Bartimaeus saw when he was healed of his blindness was the face of Jesus.
- The first thing he did was to immediately follow Him. These things are wonderful examples for our own spiritual life.
A. Open the eyes of your heart
- Paul wrote a prayer in his letter to the Ephesians that captured this point exactly.
Ephesians 1:18, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
- When the eyes of your heart are opened, your perspective will change and the first thing that needs to be changed is our perspective on God.
- How do you see Him? Many people see Him as an angry lawgiver who is constantly disappointed in our constant failures. But is that true?
Ephesians 3:14-19 May we comprehend the greatness of God's love.
Romans 8:39, Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
B. By faith we see things differently
- When the eyes of our heart are opened it changes how we see everything.
Illus – Imagine what it would be like to be blind and then receive sight. Everything would be new and colorful and bright and filled with glory.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 May we have the mind of Christ and spiritually appraise all things through him…
- Imagine the glory of seeing from God's perspective. It changes our perspective on so many things.
Illus - It changes our perspective on church. Many people look at church and say, "It's just full of hypocrites." Of course that's just an excuse and a smokescreen for rejecting God. Actually, the church is the bride of Christ. Yes, they are sinners, but saved by grace, and being changed by the Spirit of the living God.
Illus - The Word of God is also changed when the eyes of our heart are opened. Someone recently told me that when they first came to the church they didn't get it, they didn't like it, and couldn't understand what was being said. But then something changed; it was her heart that changed and the Word of God became living and active in her life.
Illus- Our view of death itself also changes in Christ. For those who have no hope, it's a defeat, the end. But in Christ, our perspective is completely changed; it's now our victory, our graduation, our coronation.
I mentioned that my dad came to Christ when he was 75 years old. His death four years later was completely changed, his funeral service was changed, and his destination was changed.
Illus - When the eyes of our hearts are open, even our perspective on ourselves will change. Instead of trying to make everything about "me," I can come to realize that as God’s adopted son or daughter, our life is now hidden in Christ and I can trust that He will do that which is best for my life.
Illus - when the eyes of your heart are opened, your perspective on others will also change. Now we understand that God has given us a completely different paradigm for how to relate to others.
We give grace because we have received grace, we give forgiveness because we have received forgiveness, we give patience because we have received patience.
- In other words, if the eyes of our heart are open, we are no longer blind, but can see from God's perspective and everything changes according to the glory of God.
Illus - There was a man in his eighties who had been a vice-president for McGraw-Hill, one of the great publishing firms of our land. He was a brilliant businessman. He was a senior vestryman in the Episcopal Church, on the city council where he lived, respected, and loved by all. One weekend, he went off to a Christian conference with a bunch of lay people who began praying with him and talking about Jesus. This man came home transformed and said to his neighbors and friends, "I met Jesus." "What happened to you?" they asked. "I don't know,” he says, “I fell in love." "He's always been a good man," his friends said, "but now he's a new man."
Luke 18:35-43 NASB
35 As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he called out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39 Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 41 "What do you want Me to do for you?" And he said, "Lord, I want to regain my sight!" 42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." 43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.