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An Encounter with Christ

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2021 4:00 am

An Encounter with Christ

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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May 21, 2021 4:00 am

What do we need to know to become a Christian? Surprisingly, it can be boiled down to two main things. Find out what they are when you join us on Truth For Life, where Alistair Begg examines an encounter between Jesus and a blind beggar named Bartimaeus.


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Becoming a Christian may seem like it's a complicated matter actually a lot simpler than you might think. Today on Truth for Life.

Alistair Begg turns to the gospel of Luke to explain what the encounter between Jesus and the blind beggar named Bart Emmaus teaches us about how we receive God's mercy. But I do pray that you will be our teacher. As we take these moments, we ask that you will use this sacred time to speak to our waiting hearts that we might hear your voice and understand and obey to the glory of your great name we ask it. Amen. Jesus and his disciples were told hereby Luke are on their way to Jerusalem.

It is now their final journey and it will end in the crucifixion, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and en route they find themselves in Jericho, a small town some 20 miles to the east of Jerusalem was famous for a while for its palm trees for his balsam and it was at least at the time when Josephus wrote a populist place and a flourishing place, it no longer is so today, but at this time, there would've been plenty going on and it is as Jesus makes this journey and as he comes into the environs of Jericho that we encounter. Two men these two men have a divine appointment of which they know nothing, which is to be meeting with the Lord Jesus in what was to be his final journey through this region, the men are marked by different things, but both of them share this in common with one another in that they both had difficulty in seeing Jesus the second of the two individuals, of whom we read in chapter 19 Zacchaeus was wanting to see Jesus were told in verse three, but being a short man he could not because of the crowd that was his difficulty was too small.

The crowd was too large and it was impossible for and from his normal vantage point to see anything of Christ whom he desperately was wanting to see in the case of the other man.

Of course, his ability to see was totally impaired because as Luke records for us as to Matthew incidentally and Mark as well. This man was blind and indeed on top of his blindness.

He also was impaired in his ability to reach Jesus on account of the crowd that was following him and it should be a cause for some concern when the crowds that are following the Lord Jesus Christ are making it difficult for others to meet Jesus to be a dreadful thing to think that the church in its desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ became so enamored with what we were doing and how we were doing and how many of us were doing it that we actually unwittingly began to impede the ability of people to make contact with the very Christ we are following the disciple who impedes the way to his master is surely a contradiction in terms. Our focus is on this blind individual lying people I have noticed and I'm not sure that blind now is a politically correct term. And so I let me just apologize in advance for not knowing what the right term is never seemed to think that there was anything wrong with the straightforward term but nevertheless at those folks who have been unable to see with their eyes usually have heightened listening skills. They are usually very very perceptive of what is going on around. And of course part of this is developed over time because they have to use the rest of their senses as an ability to glean information which others of us are able to take in through Highgate which they themselves are unable to do so. This man as a result of his ability to hear at first of all, Herod the crowd it would have to be to a student to recognize that there was a certain movement through the town and it was recognizable to them that there were large numbers of people who were altogether and they were making their journey through.

He also was able to hear the explanation that was given to him when he inquired as to the nature of the crowd. He would've been able to detect a crowd he wouldn't have known why there was a crowd, and when he asked about it when he asked as Luke says, and 36 what was happening. They told him Jesus of Nazareth is passing by now would appear that he had also been listening to lots of other things that had been said about this Jesus of Nazareth because when he combines all that he is Herod, namely the coming of the crowd with information concerning Jesus of Nazareth and the other information that he had put together over the course of time. All of this causes him to shout out.

Now we know that he was a blind man and also that he was a beggar and so he would not of been unfamiliar with the necessity of calling but it would appear from the way in which he is described particularly in the other Gospels that he was a well-known figure in fact, the phraseology is Bart Emmaus, the blind that he probably was known in the community. As one might expect, and he would've been common knowledge to people they would've passed them without giving them a thought in the way that we would pass routine situations in our days and so, although he would've called and although they would have been familiar with this call.

This showed was going to have to be extraordinary. And that's exactly what it was. He wasn't calling out for cash. He wasn't calling out for them to do anything for him. He began to call out quite dramatically, Jesus son of David, have mercy on me now.

I hope you find it interesting that although when he asked what was going on.

They told him it was Jesus of Nazareth as soon as he begins to shout, he doesn't cry for Jesus of Nazareth, but he cries from Jesus the son of David, is there significance in this site think there is because this designation was a designation which was used by the multitude on the occasion when Jesus made what we refer to as his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and you will recall that on that day the people spread their garments in the way the two palm branches as they waved to them and they cried out with loud voices.

Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. And as Jesus then subsequently goes to the temple and is a group of individual many blind and lame come to him.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area. Hosanna to the son of David, and they were indignant. Their concern was not, first of all, with the dramatic miracles which Christ was performing, but their concern was that was the wound with the fact that the very children were giving him a messianic designation and they said to one another. Do you hear what the children are singing there saying to one another. Hosanna to the son of David. In other words, they are affirming the Messiah ship of this Jesus of Nazareth, and indeed, since no good thing came out of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth was like a contemptuous term in much the same way that when you travel the country.

People say derogatory things about Cleveland or you don't come from there. Do you is there anything good there. It's all it's out of ignorance but nevertheless they do say that.

And so it was true that this Jesus would come from Nazareth when he was referred to as Jesus of Nazareth was often spoken to in a derogatory fashion, but this blind man when he begins to call in him calls to him with this messianic designation and his shouting makes clear to things. First of all that he knows himself to be in need of nursing. In this respect, he is like the man whom Jesus had encountered just very few days before when the tax collector earlier in Luke chapter 18 wouldn't even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said God have mercy on me a sinner. This blind man knew that he was hopeless and he knew that he was helpless. His circumstances were absolutely miserable. He was blind and he was begging and he had absolutely no ability to transform his circumstances, and so he shouts out and he cries for mercy. So he is aware then of his need of mercy, and he is also equally clear concerning Jesus ability to meet his need is not the interesting thing that while you would've found in this crowd. If you could have interviewed them on the streets of Jericho. People who were there for all kinds of reasons. Some who understood and were devoted some good dude just got caught up in the crowd as happens with crowds. Some of them who understood that whoever this man was there was something about him that here this blind man who is unable to see him physically seems to have such a grasp of who he is and in shouting. In this way, he acknowledges the ability of Jesus to provide the mercy that he requires now inherent in the story, of course, is the fact that Jesus great concern is not with the physical blindness of this individual but is with the spiritual blindness not only of this man, but of all men and women in this man in his cry reminds us of what it is necessary to know to become a Christian, and we see this often repetitively and purposefully. What do I need to know to cry out to Christ to have mercy upon me two things.

One that I am a great sinner and to that Christ is a great Savior and this man knows himself to be in great need and he recognizes also that Christ has the ability to meet his need and so he shouts. Now what is to happen.

What is the response to be where is Jesus in this, how will he be responded to what we are told in verse 39 that those who lead the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet now who would be leading the way, do you think who would be out of the head of the queue.

Most likely the disciples themselves. After all, they were the number one through 12 in line to follow Jesus Christ. They were one through 12 in line for takeoff. Is it where if he was going. They were going, and the rest would fall in behind, they would be ready to minister to them to respond to them and to do what they felt was right to do and we can only assume that they felt that it was right for them to turn around and to rebuke the man and to tell and listen Bart Emmaus as he is referred to in the other Gospels. Why don't you just be quiet. Nobody nice, really.

Is it dreadful incongruity when those who are the closest of the Lord Jesus hear people shouting out for Jesus and turn right in and tell the people to shut up shut up and get back to your spot now. What in the world possess them to do this well, who knows, assuming they're okay that you can sit and write a list as long as your sleeve will maybe they were in a hurry to get to Jerusalem and he simply didn't want to be delayed at maybe didn't think that yelling like this was in keeping with the dignity of their master and then like that shouting out lately like a little more decorum on maybe they weren't ready to hear Jesus proclaimed as the son of David. Maybe they had begun to put the pieces together and realize that when Jesus said that he must now go up to Jerusalem and suffer and die at the hands of cruel men and a thing that would set that forward was something they didn't want to see. And since a messianic designation is such a son of David would further antagonize the authorities actually just wanted him to be quiet because of that I think and that would be a little kind to them. Or perhaps it was that as Jesus walked. He taught I'm sure he did, and since he was was walking in teaching this man was just a jolly nuisance because they were listening to what Jesus was saying and they didn't want to be interrupted now.

What then is the man to do as a real Kairos moment is that surreal moment in time you're sitting there as you been sitting for so long in your life you're in a hopeless, helpless, miserable Richard situation a crowd comes by to inquire who it is. They say Jesus of Nazareth. You have had an inkling that this Jesus is the very Messiah of God and so you shout out with all your might. Already, Jesus son of David, have mercy on me and the people should know better turn around and tell you hey, we don't need any of that nonsense. As you sit there and be quiet. We have places to go and people to see now what are you going to do what your interest is simply casual and you just be quiet and wait for the next guru to come along if you're noting is that there will be another like this coming a little later than I need to be concerned of anything or five trains coming I missed this one.

At least I get one of the other four but if this is the last train and the only train that I need to do everything that I possibly can to get on board trains. Probably not a good illustration but an airplane is you see these business souls for frantic souls standing pleading with again Clark you've got to let me on this plate. You don't understand what will happen to be in New York if you don't let me on this plane and unfeeling and disinterested. They stand, apparently seemingly almost enjoying it and say I'm dreadfully sorry sir, but the plane has already pulled back and you can see the jolly thing. Their larger-than-life jammed right up against the terminal wall and some of the things that the men say are not for your scrapbooks. I can assure you, while this man was not going to let this pass were told that he shouted all the more. In other words, he got more frequent and presumably he got a little louder. I quoted often but I think it's a good quote.

It's either Buddhist or cashiers or cashes the bruise I need to look it up but I know it's in Julius Caesar. There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. This man had the sense here is a moment in my life and I must seize this moment, and although the crowd dissuade me. And although these people try and shut me up. I know this that this son of David can have mercy on me, and if I can only get to them. I believe that he will and now Jesus stopped and he ordered the men to be brought to him you look at that in verse 40 how the disciples must've felt absolutely sheepish howling there smugglers they were saying. I want you just to be quiet. We are moving along. Maybe another occasion when we can talk with Jesus does not have time for your pardon. Jesus, what was that you resent know we were just telling the man Jesus that you you're a busy man and we are off to Jerusalem sorry okay right will will get right at that yes all right, change of plans or cheer up, get on your feet. He's calling.

So Jesus reproves the recruiters for the second time in a remarkably short period of time because these same goons had done the same thing to the mothers who were bringing their babies to have Jesus touch them and they said the same thing. Get the kids out of here. Jesus does not have time to touch her children. The principle is simply this, that these disciples thought they knew best. And so for the second time in a relatively short period of time they themselves are rebuked by Christ actually in in Mark's gospel the way in which it is recorded in Mark chapter 10 is it has a real dynamic to it at the way this little discussion ensues.

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet. As verse 48 but he shouted all the more, son of David, have mercy on me, Jesus stopped and said call him. So they called to the blind man cheer up on your feet.

He's calling you now what was his response to be all now that's very nice, but you just give me a little minute or two. Jesus I'll get over to you as soon as I can. I just had a number of people show up in there they're putting some money in the bag at the moment and that when I get taking care of this. Then I'll be over in that very thing. Hey, thank you. Thank you for stopping all I'll be right with you know what is says throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and he came to Jesus, you get the immediacy of it. He threw it he jumped he came jumped jumped and came just the very expressions made it so clear he's bearing an instant son of David, have mercy on me, shut up me quiet. He's calling you on your feet. Cheer up, income taxes Clover site and is there unable to see.

But bear in his presence. Jesus, knowing all the time the needs of the man says to them, what is it that you want what you want me to do for you. This is Lord, I want to see Jesus said receive your site.

Your faith has healed you.

Now you know your Bibles well enough to know that it was in the men's faith that created his healing but his faith was the means by which he received his healing for the very faith he enjoyed was a gift from God. In the first place.

In verse 43 immediately received his sight and followed Jesus and praising God when all the people saw. They also praise God. Now here's the point. Whoever like the blind man in consciousness of our own sin and blindness and misery is prepared to cry out to Christ wholeheartedly for his mercy will be certainly healed of spiritual blindness through the word of his power is there someone here tonight and this blind man is a classic illustration of you your circumstances, you know to be absolutely hopeless and you feel yourself helpless to rectify. You may even have come to worship tonight in the thought that there will be something here.

Perhaps that would would help you on your journey. Maybe a little lift, maybe a little encouragement just something someone would say.

It may even be that as you've come in. You have been overawed by the group that is around you and you felt somehow or another in the singing that you weren't drawn near, but that you were pushed by more than I want to say to you, cheer up on your feet. He's calling for, and all that you need to admit is the fact of your spiritual blindness and he will, in his mercy, and make you see father open our eyes that we may behold wonderful things out of your work open our hearts to your truth. We pray for Jesus sake.

It's when we admit that we are spiritually blind. Jesus opens our eyes. That's the good news from today's message on Truth for Life with Alister Bragg if you enjoyed learning about this encounter between Jesus and Bart Mayo's from her series titled more jars of clay. You can hear about other men and women in the Bible who God used for his purposes and his glory. These character profiles are told in our current series called more jars of clay also in another volume simply titled jars of Clay all 16 messages in these two studies are available for purchase on a single USB drive for just five dollars plus shipping. You'll find it by going online to Truth for or you can order it by giving us a call at 888-588-7884 teaching God's word is at the heart of all we do these at cost resources we offer are meant to help you grow in your faith, your Truth for Life. We believe God's word is unchanging without error and has the power to transform lives.

Doesn't matter what age you are when you first hear the gospel, even young children can be moved to faith by hearing the word of God. That's one of the reasons we been highly recommending a children's book called the God contest. This is a book that introduces preschool-aged children to the God of the Bible, the book the God contest tells the story of Elijah and his challenge to the prophets of bail to determine who is the one true God. This is a relevant book because the author presents the story as a way to spark a conversation between you and the young child about the reality of God about the truth of the Bible. The book ends by explaining how Jesus earned the ultimate victory in the God contest by saving us from our sin. Don't miss requesting this colorfully illustrated book the God contest today.

You'll find it on our mobile app or a Truth for per call 888588788 if you would prefer to mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 I Bob Lapine hope you have a great weekend.

As you worship together with your local church. Join us again Monday to hear the things the apostle Paul chose to set aside preaching the gospel Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the learning is prolific

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