Then he took to him the twelve, and said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem…
Having spoken to the disciples about recompense, he balances his consolation by giving them fair warning of his own approaching humiliation and death. But they were so infatuated about the honours that they were totally blind to the humiliation. Christ's words were no better than idle tales to them. It suggests -
I. THE ONE-SIDED WAY IN WHICH PEOPLE MAY READ THE BIBLE. (Ver. 31.) What was about to happen to Jesus was prophesied ages before. The Old Testament presented a suffering as well as an exalted Messiah. But the Jews totally overlooked the humiliating aspect. And in the very same way people go still to God's Word, and find there only what they want to find. It needs great trials oftentimes to expound some passages of the Divine Word to us. We are partial students; we do not enter into the wide meaning of the Word as God would have us!
II. GREAT TRIALS ARE NEEDED TO OPEN OUR EYES TO THE OVERLOOKED REALITIES. (Vers. 32-34.) It is plain that they did not take in Christ's meaning until he was actually taken from them and crucified. In the terrible suffering which seemed to extinguish all their fond hopes, the overwhelmed men got the spiritual vision, and were enabled to see a suffering as well as an exalted Messiah revealed in the Divine Word. And do we not often, when crushed and broken by trial, come to appropriate passages of God's Word which formerly were blank to us? We ought to bless God for the opened eye, even though the process of opening it be painful.
III. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST MADE AMENDS FOR ALL THE PREVIOUS SUFFERING. (Ver. 33.) For resurrection was exaltation; it was glory which could only be reached through the tomb. No possibility was there of Jesus being raised if he had never died. It is an experience cheaply purchased, perhaps, through death and the grave.
IV. LET US CONTRAST WITH THIS THE CURE OF BLIND BARTIMAEUS. (Vers. 35-43.) From blind disciples - mentally blind - Luke proceeds to speak of the blind beggar and his physical cure. Jesus was proceeding to Jerusalem to enter it as King. It was a royal progress. Here was one of the splendid accompaniments of it.
1. The condition of the poor blind beggar. He was blind, and, as he could not keep himself by work, he had to beg. He was thus perfectly helpless and dependent. And he knew his deficiencies. There was no unconsciousness of them or indifference to them.
2. The knowledge he possessed of Jesus. He had heard of Christ's miracles, how he had cured several blind men previously. He knew he was the Son of David, and regarded him as true Messiah. Hence his knowledge of Christ was sufficient to lead him to throw himself upon his mercy as soon as he had the chance.
3. The visit of Jesus to his neighbourhood. Jesus was passing on, and the crowd surged mightily around him. The noise fell upon the blind man's acute ear, and led him to ask what it all meant. Then, as soon as he learned that Jesus was passing by, he began to cry, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" Noble example! Should not all who feel their need of mercy cry as Bartimaeus did?
4. Discouragement only intensifies Ms eagerness for blessing. The crowd rebuked him, but Bartimaeus persevered. The more discouragement, the more importunity. So let it be with us in our seasons of discouragement.
5. The call of Jesus. The importunate one is summoned to the Saviour's presence. Those who once discouraged him now urge him forward.
6. The inquiry of Jesus. Bartimaeus is asked what mercy he desires; and his whole soul goes forth in the words, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" It is surely well when we clearly know our need and desire its supply.
7. The cure conferred and its consequences. Bartimaeus is thrown upon his faith; according to this is his cure. But his faith was strong enough for the occasion, He consequently sees plainly, and his fresh sight is used to guide him after Jesus. So is it with us if we receive from Jesus our spiritual healing. Then we see the Saviour plainly, and we learn and are proud to follow him. The people, too, in seeing us follow Christ, will learn to glorify the God of grace who has enabled us to do so. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.