And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus…
On the roadside near Jericho sat a blind beggar, making his appeals to the pilgrims that passed up to Jerusalem to attend the feast. "A great multitude" accompanied Jesus on his leaving Jericho on his way to the holy city. The tramp of many feet and the hum of many voices caught the quick ear of the sufferer, and "he inquired what this meant." Learning it was "Jesus of Nazareth," he, having evidently some knowledge of the great Healer, cried aloud, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" Thus did the blind sufferer of that day formulate a cry - a prayer for all sufferers and sinners in all subsequent ages; a cry which will ascend to heaven as long as suffering saddens the history of our race. The hindering, self-occupied crowd strove to silence the cry. But the very impediment to his earnestness only gave greater intensity to it, and "he cried out the more a great deal" the same pitiful words. As every earnest, fervent prayer, this entered the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, without whom not one sparrow falleth, and who again and again had laid an emphasis of attention on individual sufferers and sinners. Standing still, for a cry of need arrests him, he silenced their rude, unfriendly words by, "Call ye him." Then the same selfish spirit veers round to the favourite, and they cheer him and bid him rise. Casting aside his loosely flowing garment, he sprang to his feet and came to Jesus." Brief and beautiful is the colloquy, in its sweet and simple haste. "What wilt thou?" "My sight." "Go... thy faith" hath brought it thee. Straightway he receives his sight, and follows in the way. Brief as this narrative is, it holds much teaching.
I. ON THE TRUE METHOD OF PRAYER.
II. OH THE SPIRIT OF HIM TO WHOM PRAYER IS ADDRESSED. Prayer springs from a sense of need, and it must express the sincere desire of him who prays. Words thrown into the form of a petition do not of themselves constitute prayer; without the heart of him who utters them they are dead, being alone. He who asks with his lips only cannot expect him in hear who looketh on the heart. Prayer must needs be offered to One who it is believed is able to answer. Jesus laid down the clear and definite rule in his demand," Believe ye that I am able to do this?" "The prayer of faith" is the true prayer, though the patient Lord will "forgive" even the "unbelief" of timidity. Nevertheless, the Lord declares the immediate cause of the answering cure in this case: "Thy faith hath made thee whole." Prayer must be prepared to push its way through surrounding discouragements and opposition; nor will it exceed propriety if it the more fervently plead by how much it is hindered and impeded. Prayer must, moreover, have respect to proper objects. Here one imperfectness in the life called forth the one petition when the "What wilt thou that I should do?" opened wide the permission to ask many things. Surely to him who came to redeem life, it was a perfectly right subject of petition: "That I may receive my sight." Thus we learn that for the freeing of the life from its incumbent evils, and for whatever will lead that life on to perfectness, we may ask, and ask in the full assurance of faith, in the readiness and ability of the Lord of life to hear and to answer. Happy the man who has learned thus to pray. - G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.