Sermon Notes, Quinquagesima Sunday, 3 March 2019 Anno Domini

Sermon Notes, Quinquagesima Sunday,  3 March 2019 Anno Domini

The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide

 

31 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. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. 37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 39 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. 40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Luke 18:31-43 (KJV)

 

The Sunday called Quinquagesima, or the

Sunday next before Lent.

The Collect.

O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost,

and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoso-ever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

 

The Collect suggests, and the Holy Word affirms, there are no works of man that can merit the reward of salvation and heaven. Those works performed out of the singular motive of love belong to God who works in and through us since He is the grantor of love and the source of it. Those works of charity that we perform are not the source, but the evidence, of our salvation. Love truly is the very bond of peace and all other virtues that are righteous.

Blindness is a terrible affliction that alienates its victim from all society. In days of yore, the disability was far greater since the sufferer had no recourse in living than to beg bread from strangers. But there are various forms of blindness – not just physical. A salient point of today’s text is that blindness which is far worse than physical blindness, and that is the fatal blindness of the spirit.  There are a remarkable series of events that have led up to this meeting of our Lord and Bartimaeus outside the gates of Jericho. Let us review a bit:

We have been on a glorious journey these past days of Lent. Beginning at the Banks of Jordan Waters where Christ was baptized, into the sands of the Wilderness with Him; then along the Temple grounds where we saw a woman ruthlessly arraigned before Christ for adultery. We witnessed His compassion and mercy in forgiving the woman. Then, up the coast of Tyre and Sidon at which place the Syro-Phoenician woman, burdened by the straits of the darling of her soul (her little daughter), begged for the crumbs of the Bread of Life from the Master’s Table and received the whole Bread of Heaven instead. From thence we crossed the Galilean Sea to Capernaum where one with palsy was brought on a stretcher to Christ and carried away his bed. Afterwards, down to Bethany we walked to a tomb of a dead man named Lazarus. When we arrived, Lazarus occupied the tomb. When we left the tomb, so did Lazarus! What a beautiful trip we have had. Now we shall have another amazing experience at Jericho. There is a blind man named Bartimaeus who has been sitting beside the road outside Jericho for a very long time. God saw the man siting there from eternity past in preparation of revealing His greater glory, and the man will see God the moment he leaves his place beside the road.

Please observe the counsel of our Lord to His apostles concerning His coming sacrifice. When we read these words with a historical understanding of them, it seems impossible that the apostles would not have clearly understood; but let us know, out of charity, that this meaning was hidden from their understanding at the time of its delivery. When great spiritual truths cannot be seen by men, it is evidence of that greater blindness of the spirit. Let us read the prologue in today’s text:

31 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. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side beggin.”. Just a coincidental meeting? Never! Christ knew of the appointment of which Bartimaeus had no idea. Bartimaeus had perhaps heard many reports of Christ, but he had no way of searching Him out. But Bartimaeus did not sit at home and pine away his hours – instead he went to a public place at which he could use his remaining senses to learn and to gain a means of self-support. He was at that roadside every day. The modern Christian feels over burdened to attend church only one day out of seven in hearing the Word of God. If we will find Christ, we must be diligent in seeking Him out, even in the busy thoroughfare. One thing is certain: when we seek Christ, He will find us. And Christ found Bartimaeus! He was blind and begging beside the road. But his soul had a clearer vision of the Lord than most present that day. Take no pride, dear friend, in your present salvation. You, too, along with me, shared a place along side the road from Jericho. We, too, were spiritually blind and begging ere we came to Christ.

And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.” During my many years of teaching, the students with whose performance I was most disappointed was those who had no questions.  First of all, we must have an interest in knowing the source of our help, and then we must demonstrate an undying persistence in accessing that source. Once we are abundantly aware of our blindness and realize the source of healing is passing by, we must cry out in earnest lest the opportunity pass.  So does Bartimaeus. He recognizes Christ as the Messiah by referring to Him as “thou Son of David.” Though blind, his cognitive vision was better than many others in the place and, surely, better than those who proudly sat in the Temple of Jerusalem. No one told Bartimaeus that this was the Son of David, he knew instinctively that it was so based on those bits of news he had gathered by the roadside.  A desperate voice cannot, and must not, be stilled. God may not hear the voice of a casual Christian, but one who is desperate and serious in his prayers will be heard as was Peter’s simple three word prayer on the sea: “Lord, save me!”

Once again, we see that those closest to Christ are often the very ones who prevent others from coming to Him. “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.” But the voice of desperate faith cannot be silenced. Any attempt to do so results in a more compelling appeal. Although the entire, rowdy crowd may be against us, Christ is not! “And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?. When man stands still, it may be due to indecision or fear, but when Christ stands still, something wonderful is about to happen. He stood still outside the Tomb of Lazarus. He stood still beneath the sycamore tree in whose branches Zaccheus sat. And now He stands still for the least esteemed of those on the road from Jericho – blind Bartimaeus! When Christ calls the broken heart, or even a dead heart, the call will always be heard. We are told further in Mark that Bartimaeus was told: “Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.”

When Christ calls, we shall rise. There is a time appointed of God for our own names to be called, and we shall answer, and we shall rise.  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. Though we are not told with certainty, I believe this garment cast aside by Bartimaeus was the same he spread upon the ground for men to cast coins upon. Such cloths were used by beggars I have seen while living in the Middle East. If so, Bartimaeus knew he needed the beggar’s cloth no more. When Christ calls for us, we do not hesitate demurely, but arise immediately to the call unlike those we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Matt 8:18-22 (KJV) Who are the dead? Those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2.

 

Do you, for a single second, believe that Christ did not already know the desires of poor Bartimaeus’ heart? Certainly He knew; however, Christ loves for us to voice our prayers for the glory of God and those who may be watching. The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. Please note that Bartimaeus did not make reference to Christ as “Good Master” (or Teacher), but as LORD! His prayer was a simple one: “Lord, that I might receive my sight.”  Moreover, he recognized Jesus as the Son of David – a term reserved in those days for the Messiah. He didn’t ask the Lord if He was able to grant this – Bartimaeus had the sure faith that this prayer could be fulfilled. Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole This is a powerful command! Bartimaeus is now free to go his way (because he can see to find his way), but he is also made whole in every other way including the forgiveness of his sins.  But Bartimaeus did not longer go HIS way. He went the way of Christ: And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Likewise, when we have been made whole and our sins forgiven, we must no longer proceed on OUR blind and plodding way through life, but following Christ in His Way.

Have you had your spiritual eyes examined lately, friends.

 

By |2019-03-04T20:30:06+00:00March 4th, 2019|Sermons|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment