Lord's Day Evening Meditations May
"And Jesus Stood Still"
In this chapter the Lord Jesus was traveling towards
Jerusalem, and He told His disciples that there, "The
Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto
the scribes." What was He to receive, a crown and a
throne? That is what He should have received as the rightful Messiah
of Israel. But no, at Jerusalem (the beloved city), "They
shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him,
and shall kill Him." v. 34. They gave Him a crown of
thorns and a cross. However, at the end of this chapter, there
is an incident on His journey towards Jerusalem that helps us
to see a wonderful side of the Lord Jesus. Matthew and Luke record
the same incident with some different details.
He was going to Jerusalem, knowing what awaited
Him there. He was coming to the end of His public ministry of
3 ½ years of going about doing good, doing His Father's will;
the ultimate work that He did being the work of the cross. In
this setting we see "blind Bartimæus" who
"sat by the highway side begging." What would
be the life style of a blind beggar in that country at that time?
He would have no life to speak of. Blind, and therefore unable
to work, he sat by the road with nothing but his garment (v. 50)
which may have been only a large blanket which he wrapped himself
in in the daytime and which was his bed at night. The crowd around
would have no use for him and only push him away, as we see when
he started to cry out after the Lord.
When he heard the commotion of a crowd going by
he asked what it was all about and they told him that "it
was Jesus of Nazareth" Who was passing by. "Jesus
of Nazareth." Nazareth was a despised city and so we
can see that the crowd had very little estimation of Him, seeing
they gave Him that name. That crowd was probably a curious lot,
seeking their own interests; but, there were some who felt their
need of Him, like the line we sang that says (no. 21 app.),
All who their sin and their wretchedness feel.
Bartimæus was one of those who felt his sin and
his wretchedness. Besides, we are told that Bartimæus had faith
- the Lord said to him, "Thy faith hath made thee
whole." v. 52. The Lord was more to him than Jesus
of Nazareth. "He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, Thou
Son of David, have mercy on me." This was a
high title that Bartimæus gave Him. The Jews should have recognized
it; they should have received Him as Son of David, that is, as
their rightful King, but they would not acknowledge Him for Who
He really was. They had no faith, but Bartimæus did, and he turned
to Him because he knew He could help him. "He came unto
His own, and His own received Him not." That was the
Jewish leaders, but the blind beggar received Him: "As
many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons
of God, even to them that believe on His name." John
1:11, 12. Has everyone here tonight received Him?
In John 20:27 we read about Thomas who refused
to believe in the Lord's resurrection unless he actually saw and
felt the marks in His hands and side. There were those with good
natural eyes who couldn't see, whereas Bartimæus who was blind
could see who the Lord really was. "Blessed are they
that have not seen, and yet have believed." That was
the portion of Bartimæus who believed before he could see.
What I find so amazing is verse 49 - "And
Jesus stood still." The Lord was traveling to
Jerusalem; He was a very busy and active Man. John wrote, "And
there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if
they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books that should be written."
John 21:25. People have such busy lives that they don't have time
for many things. How busy the Lord must have been, if all the
things He did would fill so many books, yet He could still take
time for Bartimæus! "Jesus stood still." With
all that He had to do, and all that He had on His mind, especially
what was before Him at Jerusalem, He could still take time to
stand still for this poor blind beggar whom the world couldn't
be bothered with.
"And many charged him that he should
hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of
David, have mercy on me!" He had a need and he knew
Who to turn to in his need. Are there any unsaved ones here tonight?
The Lord Jesus will take time to stand still for you to come to
Him. The gospel is still going out throughout the world to the
lost, and the Lord still has time to stand still and wait for
lost sinners to be brought to Him. "And Jesus stood still,
and commanded him to be called." What do we find as
a response to that call? "And he, casting away his garment,
rose, and came to Jesus." He got rid of anything that
would be a hindrance, or that he wouldn't need any more, in order
to get to the Lord as quickly as he could.
The Lord still has time for His people, young or
old, to come to Him with all their needs, whether it be schoolwork,
needs on the job, problems, etc. He is still willing to "stand
still" and help His own who will call on Him.
Now in the glory He waits to impart
Peace to the conscience and joy to the heart.
It is wonderful that He still waits for sinners
to come to Him. It is wonderful that He still waits for His own
who feel their need of Him. Do we only need Him for salvation
and then not need Him any more?
In verses 51 and 52 the Lord asked Bartimæus, "What
wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto
Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight," and he received
what he had asked for, what the Lord gave him so graciously and
Thousands have fled to His spear-piercèd side,
Welcome they all have been, none are denied;
Weary and laden, they all have been blest,
Joyfully now in the Saviour they rest.
"And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way;
thy faith hath made thee whole." What had been Bartimæus'
"way" before he met the Lord? Was it something
that he would want to go back to? No, he certainly wouldn't want
to go back to that. However, the Lord set him free; He wouldn't
force Bartimæus to follow Him. What is the response of our hearts
when we, as we have sung,
Weary and laden, they all have been blest,
are blessed with eternal life? Bartimæus' response
was that "He received his sight, and followed Jesus in
the way." How grateful he was for what the Lord had
done for him! He threw away the hindrances and abandoned his old
way of life in order to follow the Lord. Those of us who are the
Lord's, do we have any hindrances in our lives that prevent us
from getting nearer to Him? Bartimæus received his sight; he heard
those words, "Thy faith hath saved thee,"
and immediately he "followed Jesus in the way."
"The way" is the path that the Lord reveals to
us in His Word. "There is a way which seemeth right unto
a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Prov. 14:12. The Lord's way leads to joy, peace, and comfort,
and this is what he is willing and able to offer to each one of
Peter wrote, "Whom having not seen, ye
love." 1 Pet. 1:8. Before Bartimæus saw the Lord with
his natural eyes he saw Him by faith and believed. Thomas believed
only when he saw Him, but Bartimæus got the blessing of believing
by faith alone: "Blessed are they that have not seen,
and yet have believed … and that believing ye might have life
through His name." May it be that we realize and value
more and more the preciousness that is in Christ. May it be that
more and more we enjoy all that He has to offer as we follow Him
"in the way." He is still ready to "stand
still" for the salvation of any lost soul who will call
out to Him and come to Him. He is still ready to "stand
still" for any of His own who will call on Him for any
need. He has grace, He has peace, He has blessing, He has an answer
for every need, for every one of His own. The wonderful thing
is that this glorious Person will still "stand still"
for us today. D.F.