Jesus at a Stand
“And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side 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 him, 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)
We read in the tenth chapter of Joshua how that he by whom the walls of Jericho fell, commanded the sun to stand still in the midst of heaven. At the command of a man “the sun stood still!” We are told, “There was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man” (Josh. 10:14). But here we have something even more remarkable than that. Here we see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, at a stand. He was stopped dead in His tracks by the cry of a needy sinner for mercy. It is one thing to cause the sun to stand still; but we have before us in this passage a man who caused the God who made the sun to stand still!
As He was coming near Jericho on His way to Jerusalem to redeem His people, our Lord Jesus heard a poor, blind beggar crying for mercy. At the sound of his cry, we are told, “Jesus stood!” What a wonderful, amazing picture we have before us! Here is the omnipotent God stopped in His tracks, held fast by the cry of a needy soul for His mercy.
He was on His way to Jerusalem to accomplish the redemption of His people, to fulfill the will of God. Nothing could stop Him. Nothing could cause Him to pause. Nothing could detour Him from his work. But one, solitary, helpless soul, one blind beggar crying for mercy, looking to Him for help, believing Him, crying to Him stopped the Son of God in His tracks — “Jesus stood!”
Surely, the place whereon we stand is holy ground. Let us put off our shoes of idle curiosity and theological speculation, and turn aside for a little while from such trifles to see this great sight. Surely, there are lessons to be learned here that are of more value than gold.
The one thing that shines forth from this event in our Savior’s earthly life and ministry is this: The Son of God will never ignore the cry or refuse the faith of a sinner seeking mercy, because He “delighteth in mercy!”
Here is a man who believed the testimony he heard from other men about the Lord Jesus in a day when few did. He believed the report of men who told what they knew about the Son of God. There were great multitudes who followed the Lord Jesus as He walked along and taught the people. Some followed Him for loaves and some for love. — Some out of curiosity and some out of conviction. — Some for greed and some for grace. But there were few, very few who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Many, many who saw His miracles yet believed Him not. But here is a blind man, a man who never saw any of our Lord’s miracles. He knew the Master only by hearsay, by the testimony of others. Yet, he believed Him, and believed Him the first time he heard about Him!
This man simply heard other men and women talking about the Savior (vv. 35-38). Blessed gossip is that gossip that is all about Christ! I wonder what this man heard the crowd saying. Perhaps he heard how the Master had healed others, even “as many as had need of healing” (Luke 9:11). Without question, he had heard who this man is. He called the Savior “Jesus,” the “Son of David,” and owned Him as his “Lord.” He acknowledged that Christ is Lord, the One whose prerogative alone it is to give mercy (v. 41). He heard about the Savior’s many mighty miracles of mercy. And he heard that “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.” He knew that the Son of God might never pass his way again!
His simple, confident, immediate faith in Christ causes me to blush. I have books of apologetics, an excellent library of theological works, and numerous good biographies of faithful men, and have read them for over forty years. Yet, how little I know of this childlike confidence and faith in Christ! Even among true believers, simple, confident, unhesitating faith is seldom found where we most reasonably expect it (Luke 18:34). The humble, broken, contrite, and needy soul believes God and walks in peace. The learned, well-read theologian is often harassed with doubts and questions.
If we hope for mercy, we must avail ourselves of every means of good to our souls. I cannot adequately stress the importance of diligence in using the means God gives us. We are told there was “a certain blind man who sat by the wayside begging.” He sought the place where his pitiful condition was most likely to attract attention. He did not sit lazily at home, and wait for relief to come to him. He placed himself by the road-side, so that any who could and would help him might see him and give him help. There, sitting by the wayside, he heard that “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.” Immediately, he began to cry to the Savior for mercy. — “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!” Had he not been where he was, when he was, as the Lord Jesus passed that way, he would not have obtained what he needed.
If you care for your soul, if you desire God’s salvation, remember this blind man. Diligently use the means of grace God has afforded you. Make it your business to be found in the place where the Lord Jesus has promised to be present, in His house, where His saints gather to worship Him and hear His Word (Matthew 18:20). Make it your business to sit by the wayside, where the Word of God is read and the Gospel of Christ is preached, where God’s people assemble together in public worship.
If you expect God to speak to you and give you His grace, if you expect to hear from heaven while you despise the means He has set before you, because you are too lazy to attend His worship, you are crassly presumptuous.
How many there are who get excited about their religious chat rooms on the Internet, or the latest bundle of tapes in the mail, or the preacher on television, and use these things as a substitute for worshipping God in His house, supporting a faithful assembly, and serving the cause of Christ. Such activity may soothe the conscience, but it soothes by searing. I know many who run off to every sovereign grace Bible conference possible, and attend the preaching of a visiting preacher whom they highly esteem, who refuse to hear the pastor God has set in their community and devote themselves to the cause of Christ through the Gospel church where they are. All such religious hypocrites are like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. Your religion is nothing but a deceitful game that will soon carry you to hell.
It is true that “God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.” But it is no less true that He ordinarily has mercy on those who use the means He puts before them. I know very few people who were converted outside the house of God. It is true that Christ is found of those who seek him not. But it is also true that He is always found of those who truly seek Him (Jeremiah 29:11-14). Those who despise the worship of God and the preaching of the Gospel, the fellowship of God’s saints and the praises of His people in Zion despise their own mercies and dig graves for their own souls.
This blind man was in the place where help was most likely to be obtained. I know that God is sovereign. I know that salvation is of the Lord. I know that every chosen, redeemed sinner shall be saved. I am fully aware of those facts and rejoice in them. Yet, I know that every man is responsible for his own soul. I know that we are responsible to use the means of grace God gives us. When this poor, blind man heard that “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by,” he was found “sitting by the wayside.”
What wisdom he displayed! He took up a hopeful position “by the wayside.” There he would be likely to hear any good news that may be spread. There he was most likely to meet with and be seen by the compassionate. Though he was blind, he was not deaf. And he used what he had for good.
Do not forsake the house of God (Hebrews 10:25). Do not forsake the reading of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15). Do not forsake private prayer. These are God’s ordained means of grace. To despise them is to despise His grace. To neglect them is to neglect His grace. To use them is to be in the path of mercy (Matthew 18:20).
We also have before us a picture of the blessed violence of faith. We learn once more, by the example of this poor blind man, that as “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” so “the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).
We are told that when this blind man heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he “cried, saying, Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” We are also told that when some rebuked him and told him to hold his peace, he would not be silenced. — “But he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” He had a felt, desperate need. His need taught him how to pray, and gave him words to speak, and pressed upon him the urgent necessity for help. He was not about to be stopped by the rebukes of people who knew nothing of his misery. Let them think and say what they might, he was determined to have mercy, if the Lord Jesus was willing to give it. His sense of wretchedness made him go on crying. And his importunity was rewarded with grace bestowed. He found what he sought. That very day he received his sight.
Are you a poor, blind sinner, without faith, without Christ, without life? Your need is far greater than this man’s. The blindness of the heart is far more grievous than the blindness of the eye. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David, is still passing by (Romans 10:6-13). Cry to him for mercy. Let nothing stop your crying.
Why will you die, when life is to be had freely? Why will you perish under the wrath of God, when He “delighteth in mercy”? Why will you rush headlong to hell, when the Door is open in heaven, and God himself bids you, “Come up hither”? Why will you go on carrying the guilt of sin, when the Lord God is a God who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin? Will you die for thirst, with the Water of Life before you? Will you perish for want of bread, with the Bread of Life on the table? Will you be forever lost? If so, there is but one reason. The Son of God declares it to be this: — “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life!” Oh, may God be pleased to save you from yourself, for Christ’s sake!
We see here how compassionate our all-glorious, ever-gracious Christ, the Son of God, is to needy sinners! His compassion is seen in what He did for the man. First, He caused the man to have a need that would put him in this place when He passed by. His blindness was a blessed blindness. It was blindness that worked by Divine arrangement for his eternal salvation. Second, the Savior sent someone to tell this man about Him. Third, He passed by where the man was.
“And Jesus stood” (vv. 40-42). — He came to where the man was, heard his cry, and stood as if to say, “I will wait here to be gracious. I will not make another move until I have bestowed mercy upon this needy soul.” He called the blind man. The Savior commanded that he be brought to Him (Psalm 110:3). He spoke grace to him, effectual, omnipotent, healing grace! — “Immediately, he received his sight.”
He was honored by this man’s faith, and He honored faith with His salvation. — “Thy faith hath saved thee!” Then He went up to Jerusalem and redeemed him.
We are told that when the blind man continued crying for mercy, our Lord stood and commanded him to be brought unto Him. He was going up to Jerusalem to die, and had weighty matters on his mind; but He found time to stop to speak kindly to this poor sufferer. Then Jesus asked the man, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he pleaded, “I want to see!” At once, we are told, “Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee.” His faith may have been weak and mixed with much ignorance. But it had made him cry to the Lord Jesus, and go on crying in spite of rebukes, until the Master answered him. Christ came to him on purpose with grace. He came to Christ on purpose with faith. And the Lord Jesus did not cast him out. He gave him the desire of his heart. Immediately he received sight.
Passages like these are intended specifically to encourage needy sinners to come to Christ. You may be sensible of much infirmity. Your faith may be very feeble. Your sins may be very many and very great. Your prayers may be very poor and stammering. Your motives may be far short of perfection. But if you come to Christ with your sins, if you are willing to forsake all other confidence, and commit your soul to the Christ of God, His word to you is this. — “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). I want you to see and be assured of this fact. Faith always gets what it seeks. — mercy! — “And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.”
Now, let me show you one more thing. Read verse 43, and learn this. Nothing inspires obedience to Christ like gratitude and love. — “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”
When the blind man was given his sight, when he was saved by Christ, he followed the Lord Jesus, glorifying God. His gratitude was deeply felt. His love was spontaneous. And his following of Christ was spontaneous. Pharisees caviled at our Lord. Sadducees sneered at His doctrine. Brilliant lawyers derided Him as a base antinomian. None of that mattered to this new born soul. He had the witness in himself that Christ is a Master worth following. He could say, “I was blind, and now I see” (John 9:25). He was a poor, blind, lost, dead sinner when he left home that morning. He went home saved, rich, full of light, a child of God. Nothing else mattered.
Grace experienced is the source of true obedience. Gratitude is the source of godliness. Love is the rule of devotion. No one will ever take up the cross and confess Christ, not really, who does not feel in the depths of his soul that he is head over heels a debtor to His magnificent, matchless mercy and sovereign, saving grace. We love Him who first loved us and washed away our sins with His own precious blood. Christ has redeemed me. He has healed me. He has saved me. I belong to him. What could be more reasonable?
May God be pleased, for Christ’s sake, to give us grace that we may like this man follow the Lord Jesus, glorifying God all the days of our lives.
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