Luke 18:35-43

The Simple Hope of the Gospel
Luke 18:35-43
Intro: What is the greatest promise God made to a person in the OT? Noah – “I will never destroy the earth again by water” or Abraham – “I will make your name great and make you a great nation with innumerable descendants” – no…it is God’s promise to David that he would have a dynasty that would never end; he would rule over Abraham’s uncountable offspring – “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

There would arise a “Son of David,” who would rule in Jerusalem far more than the 40 years both David and Solomon were given.

Luke 18:35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.

“certain blind man” = this story was far from a coincidence; what unfolds is beautiful divine providence. 

Matt 5:23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
Matt 5:24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Here we have a particular man in his regular place getting ready to have an unforgettable day. Nothing is random about this.

Even what appears to be random is specific to God.

illus: How God ordained King Ahab’s death…

1 Kings 21:25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.

Ahab was bored after three years of no bloodshed of war, so he formed an alliance with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to fight the Syrians for control of Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat was war-like but also more careful than Ahab. He asked if there had been any prophetic words suggesting they take Ramoth Gilead. Ahab’s 400 personal prophets all eagerly said God would be with the armies in battle. Jehoshaphat wasn’t convinced, and asked if there was a true prophet of the Lord they could ask. Ahab said there was only one, but he hated the guy because his prophecies were always against Ahab. Jehoshaphat insisted that they ask this prophet whose name was Micaiah. The runner who fetched Micaiah urged him to agree with the previous prophets and “speak encouragement.” Micaiah was indignant – he said, “whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” Keep in mind that Ahab does not trust Micaiah. The prophet of the Lord says, “Go and prosper for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.” Ahab is skeptical of course. He thinks that prophecy must be false since it came from the lips of Micaiah. “Promise that’s what God said?” Micaiah replies, “Not really. What I saw in my vision was all the Israelites scattered on the mountain like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘these no longer have a master.’” Ahab says to Jehoshaphat, “See! I told you he only prophesies negative things about me.” Micaiah tells the kings that God put a lying spirit into the mouths of Ahab’s prophets in order to orchestrate his death. Ahab refuses to listen to Micaiah, and instead has him thrown in prison. He proceeds to war with Syria, and tricks Jehoshaphat into going into battle dressed in royal robes to “protect” him. Instead, it puts a target on his back. Meanwhile, Ahab seeks to escape death by dressing as a soldier to camouflage himself from looking like a V.I.P. As soon as he thinks he has succeeded, we read…

1 Kings 22:34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”

Coincidences do not exist in God’s universe. He governs what we consider insignificant and unimportant.

Matt 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
Matt 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 

He was a blind man. In terms of power and privilege, he would belong to the 5-10% of the population known as “expendables.” 

Society had no need of them.

His physical handicap forced him to live off the charity of others. Since he is begging by a major thoroughfare, we may presume that he has no family to help him or possessions he could trade for necessities. 

His existence would have been an embarrassment to the community.

If the Jews had not placed such a high premium on giving alms to the poor, he likely would have already starved to death or died from exposure. He is bona fide poor.

Luke 18:36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.
Luke 18:37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.

“hearing a multitude” – well-known phenomenon called “sharpened auditory-spatial ability” – the blind often have a heightened sense of hearing…

The crowd was apparently so large that, even with his enhanced hearing, the blind man could not decipher the chatter. 

Blind man: “Hey, what’s going on? Who is everyone here to see?”

Crowd: “It’s Jesus the Nazarene and His helpers.” 

Blind man: “Wait. Jesus of Nazareth…hmmmm…Jesus of Nazareth?!? That’s the Son of David! I can’t believe this!!”

Luke 18:38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

By calling Him, “Son of David,” the blind man joins the ranks of those who have insight far beyond the expected, especially since people in his condition would be so detached from the normal community where this knowledge is gained (no synagogue for him).

Luke established early on that Jesus would receive God’s promise to David.

Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 
Luke 1:33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.

How did the crowd respond when Jesus delivered a demonized man who was both blind and mute?

Matt 12:23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Even some Gentiles had heard of Israel’s promised Deliverer…

Matt 15:22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

The blind man was declaring that Jesus was Israel’s royal king, David’s rightful heir, and God’s holy Messiah.

“have mercy on me” = “show grace to me” (LXX) – by pleading for mercy, he was asking Jesus for more than a physical miracle.

He is certainly not demanding something that is his right but pleading for what he needs in his helplessness.

Luke 18:39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Those who went before” – who might they be?

They lead the processional where Jesus is in the middle of the crowd, and they presume to guard His schedule. Very likely, these are some of the 12 – the same group who in the previous verses did not understand Jesus’ mission.

Here, they regard this blind beggar to be outside the boundaries of God’s grace. They insist that he quiet down. He must cease his cries for help. There would be no pauses in Jericho – their Master is going to Jerusalem even though they don’t understand why.

Luke 18:31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.
Luke 18:32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.
Luke 18:33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
Luke 18:34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken. 

It is the very same sentiment as earlier in this chapter when the disciples rebuked those who were bringing infants to Jesus (v.15).

“Like yesterday, you don’t matter today, especially to someone as important as Jesus.”

But just like the widow earlier in ch.18 would not be deterred by an uncaring judge, this blind man refuses to act according to his role. He’s supposed to fade into the background. He is not to be noticed. He must not make a scene.

But this man was desperate, and he was discerning. His eyes don’t see, but his heart and his reason do.

He correctly understood the significance of the arrival of Jesus. This may be his only chance to receive mercy from the Son of David.

Luke 18:40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,
Luke 18:41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

Consider the hundreds of needs represented in the crowd. How many needed help? How many were following the parade hoping that Jesus would look at them? 

So, what made Him stop and call the blind man? We can only surmise what we know from other Scripture.

Immediately after Jesus visited the makeshift “hospital” called the “pool of Bethesda” where the sick gathered hoping to be the first one in the waters after the angel stirred them, Jesus left them all of them in their infirmities except one.

He asked a paralyzed man, who could not physically make it into the water even if he tried, if he wanted to get well. It seems like an obvious question, and it may even sound a little patronizing to our modern, western ears. 

Jesus tells him to “rise, take up your bed and walk,” and then “sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.”

How did Jesus determine that this particular crippled man would receive the grace of healing that day? The answer is…that is who His Father directed him to…

John 5:19 Then Jesus…said to them, “…the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

Christ Jesus looked at the paralyzed man at the pool knew he was God’s target.

The same is true for the blind beggar at Jericho. Jesus stopped and called for him because God said to Jesus’ spirit, “him.”

What do you want Me to do for you?

The blind man’s need is obvious. But for Jesus the blind man is not a problem to be solved, he’s a person to be honored. Jesus’s question humanizes this forgotten soul.

Luke 18:42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”

This the only narrative account of Jesus actually proclaiming recovery of sight to a blind person.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has…sent Me…to proclaim…recovery of sight to the blind”

The blind man made two requests of the Lord Jesus:
(1)    “have mercy on me”
(2)    “that I may receive my sight”

Faith = knowledge, assent, love commitment, hope (notitia, assensus, fiducia, spes)

Martin Luther explained that there is a difference between “faith that believes what is said of God to be true” and “faith that throws itself on God.”

What does it mean to trust in God by faith?

illus: John Paton, pioneer missionary to the New Hebrides islands (Scottish name for band of islands in South Pacific now known as Vanuatu), found that natives with whom he was working had no written language. He began to learn their language and develop an alphabet so that he could translate the Bible for them. Soon he discovered that they had no word for “faith,” which presented a major barrier in translating the Bible! How can you translate the Scriptures without a word for that most important concept? One day he went on a hunt with some of the natives, and they killed a large deer. After the initial emotion of the kill wore off, they were faced with carrying this large animal back down the mountain. They tied its legs together and supported it with a pole, but the journey was still taxing and quite difficult. When they finally reached the veranda at the missionary’s house, they secured the deer and one of the native men flopped down onto one of the deck chairs exhausted from the trek. “Man, it is good to stretch yourself out here and rest,” he declared. Paton immediately jumped to his feet to find a pen/paper to record the phrase, “stretch yourself out here and rest.” In his final translation of the NT, this was the phrase he used to translate the idea of faith – because exercising faith is nothing more than stretching out and resting on the Lord Jesus.

“your faith has made you well” = “your faith has saved you”

Luke 7:50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 18:43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

What does it mean that this blind man was now saved?
1.    entered God’s kingdom (new destiny)
2.    identifies with and participates in the faith community (new family)
3.    reversal of his station in life (new existence)

Three consecutive actions that encapsulate the Christian life:
(a)    received
(b)    followed
(c)    glorified

Once the blind man was saved, he began to fulfill the purpose for which he was made – to glorify God.


Insights to help us apply this message:
1.    God’s mercy often arrives in the most unexpected places
2.    We need the mercy of the Son of David more than anything else in life
3.    Let nothing stop you from receiving God’s mercy

1. I am confident that Jesus, the Son of David, knows me (saved)
2. I need the mercy of the Son of David today (ready to become a Christian)
3. I am not sure and would like to talk to a spiritual leader soon (please tell me more)
4. I am not interested at this time