Memphis Belle

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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 18:31-43

 

“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.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  and they shall scourge him, and put him to death:  and the third day he shall rise again.  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 begging:  and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.  And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.  And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  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.  And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him:  and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?  And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.  And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight:  thy faith hath saved thee.  And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God:  and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”

 

“Luke chapter 18, if you want to turn there.  Tim, this sounds kind of dead, I don’t want to scream all night, so, be kind to me, please, you know.  ‘Father we settle our hearts as we continue, and we thank you that we can gather publicly Lord and sing your praises.  We look at the world, we think so many things Father are lined up to where you said they would be, so many things are disintegrating around us, Lord.  There seems to be in many quarters hostility, Lord, towards the things that we have learned to love, Lord, from your Word and from your Spirit.  Lord, we wonder, as we look around, how much time remains until you come.  And Lord we long for you to descend, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and with a shout, to gather us Lord, to your presence.  And Lord we ask that while we’re here, that the love of Christ would be shed abroad in our hearts, Father, that men would know we’re your disciples by the love we have one for another, according to your Word, and Lord that you would give us Lord hearts filled with your Word, Lord, that we might give a proper answer to anyone who asks us of our faith and of our hope.  And Lord we thank you that because of your love to us, because of your granting vision to us, Lord, we can see above and beyond all of the hopelessness of this present world.  As we study your Word this evening, continue to fill our hearts Lord, continue to conform us into the image of your Son.  And Lord we look forward to the day that we see you face to face, we pray, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

For Every Heart That Will Cry Out, He’s There!

 

We said good bye to the rich young ruler last week.  We don’t know if we said good bye permanently or not, it says he went away sad, and I’m hoping that he was sad enough that at some point he did what Jesus said, that he traded away his god of wealth, and began to follow Christ as his Lord and Saviour.  It tells us in Mark that when Jesus talked to him, he beheld him and loved him.  And I hope that we will see this rich young ruler, when we step into God’s Kingdom.  As he left, remember Jesus said how hard it is for those who have great wealth to enter into God’s Kingdom.  The disciples questioning, ‘Well, who then can be saved?’  Because they felt that God blessed with wealth those who had a heart for God and followed him.  And those that were suffering with illness and with poverty, the religious leaders of the day taught those were the people God was dealing with because of sin or some other thing in their lives.  And Jesus was actively dismantling that idea, because he had come for the poor as well as for the rich, the sick as well as for the healthy, for the downtrodden and for the common man.  ‘And he said to them that left their home, or their family, or their wives, or their children to follow him’---now in a Jewish context, many of them were cut off when they owned Christ as Saviour [and many Jews today, becoming Messianic Jews, are cut off by Jewish family, friends and business associates, in a similar manner as back then.  Look up on amazon.com Kidnapped For My Faith, as a used book, written by Ken Levitt.  Shouldn’t cost much.  He was my Messianic Jewish pastor/rabbi for a couple years.  His story is quite revealing.]  We have people in the church here, who come to know Christ, and their wife divorces them.  Their wife was content with them when they were going to Atlantic City gambling and drinking.  But when they accept Jesus, they cut them off, they divorce them, they can’t hack them (you can interpret that however you want).  They can’t put up with them, it’s so remarkable.  And of course there are those who leave behind family often to go into the mission field, for a week or a weekend, for a month, or for a year, we think of Dr. Livingston, Hudson Taylor and those who left behind family, wife, to work and support them as they did God’s Work in different places.  I like the way Matthew says is, he says ‘I tell you, those who follow me, in the regeneration shall in no wise loose their reward.’  Palengenesis, to be born, ‘Those who follow me in the again being born experience, I tell you, they shall in no wise loose their reward.’  I love that.  Well, Jesus now gathers the twelve, in verse 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.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles,”---now that isn’t what they thought he was going to say.  When they hear him say “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished”, they’re thinking ‘Oh great!  He’s going to overthrow Rome, he’s going to set up his government, every man is going to sit beneath his vine and his fig tree, Israel’s going to be the political center of the world.  They were only looking at half of the things that the Old Testament prophets said.  Jesus says---“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles”---Rome held the power---“and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  and they shall scourge him, and put him to death:  and the third day he shall rise again” (verses 31-33).  Now of course, they don’t hear or understand any of this.  Jesus is not going to Jerusalem to be a victim, he is going there as the King, he is himself manipulating all of the circumstances that surround him.  He will say, Peter, in the Book of Acts in preaching will say, ‘You know how it was through the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God, Jesus Christ was offered.’  Jesus said himself, ‘Lo I come, in the volume of the book it’s written of me, to do thy will O God.  Sacrifice and offering thou hast not desired, but a body thou hast prepared for me.’  Isaiah 53 clearly spoke of his coming and suffering, also the end of Isaiah chapter 52, and chapter 50.  So Jesus is moving with his face set towards Jerusalem like a flint, and for the glory that’s set before him, he’s going to endure the cross.  [Comment:  For a comprehensive study which clearly lays out before you “and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished”, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm.  This study clearly shows just who Jesus Christ was and is, and that he is real, and alive today.]  Seeing us here tonight, 2,000 years later on Philmont Avenue, he set his face to go to Jerusalem to die, in our place, for our sin, that we might be saved.  He tells the disciples, ‘Behold, we’re going to Jerusalem for this to be accomplished.’  Look at verse 34, “And they understood none of these things:”---now that’s a bad average, when you figure that---“they understood none of these things:  and the saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  They had no idea what he was talking about.  Now that’s a great encouragement to me, because these were the apostles.  He’s saying, ‘I’m going to go to Jerusalem to be crucified, you know it’s written in the prophets, the Old Testament spoke of this,’ and he looks at them and says ‘Do you understand?’ and they go, ‘Uh-huh’, and it says they don’t have any idea what he’s talking about.  And sometimes I feel like that with the Lord too, I feel like something’s going on in my life, and I look around, and I don’t have any idea what’s going on.  You’ve never experienced that, it’s just me and people from New Jersey, [laughter] but you don’t know what I’m talking about.  And you gripe and you complain, and then when it all rolls out you realize, ‘Oh Lord, I’m sorry, I just…’  They’re headed to Jerusalem. 

 

Blind Bartemeus Receives His Sight and Salvation

 

Let me read down to verse 43, and we’ll back up and look at this together.  “And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:  And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.  And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.  And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  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.  And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him:  and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?  And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.  And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight:  thy faith hath saved thee.  And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God:  and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”  This picture of Blind Bartemeus, we find out from Mark that is his name, son of Timotheus.  So if you’ve been here with us, just indulge me, humor me, I love this passage, we’ll go through it.  Hopefully, like Bartemeus, our eyes will always be open to see something that we hadn’t seen in a familiar passage before.  As we look at this, for those of you who are familiar with the territory, some of you are going to say ‘Well, one Gospel says Jesus is coming out of Jericho, and another Gospel says Jesus is going into Jericho’, in our studies on Sunday as we finish Deuteronomy and are coming into Joshua, we’ll see Jericho there destroyed, and God placing a ban upon it, saying ‘It’s never to be rebuilt.’  The Jews did rebuild it one time, it was destroyed again, then they rebuilt a city next to it, because it’s down by the Dead Sea, there’s beautiful foliage, there’s a spring there, Jericho means the City of Palms, they rebuilt the city off the original site.  And because there was such animosity between the Jews and the Romans, they built it away from the Roman Jericho, where Herod has a palace, and you can see the remains of it today.  So even in Jesus day there were two Jericho’s, there’s kind of a third Jericho today, or a fourth Jericho today, which is modern Jericho, which kind of overlaps over both ancient Jericho and the Jericho of Jesus’ day.  But the truth is, he was coming out of Jericho and going into Jericho.  He was coming out of Jewish Jericho, there’s so many Jericho’s there, you had to be coming out of a Jericho there and going into a Jericho.  But for the Bible critics, he was evidently leaving the Jewish Jericho, and going into the Roman Jericho, on the ascent to Jerusalem, and the road is still there, that goes up to Jerusalem.  That’s where Bartemeus was.  He’s blind, and he’s sitting there, and he’s begging.  Now, this was good pickin’ for beggars.  These were religious pilgrims, they’re going up to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The one’s that were rejoicing, those are good people to beg from, when people are in a happy mood, they give.  Those who were religious and thinking about the Passover, and they’re going up to Jerusalem, and they’re thankful for their deliverance, those are good people to beg from, these were good days for beggars.  And you know there were people in the crowd going up to Jerusalem to slaughter a lamb, thinking ‘Oh man, I hope God don’t kill me when I get up there.  I’ve been backslidden, compromised, Oh, there’s a blind guy, that’ll give me some stars on the refrigerator before I get up there to Jerusalem.’  You know people like that, looking for someone to give to, trying to buy their way in, and it don’t work.  So this is a good place for a beggar to be.  And he was, no doubt, amongst many beggars.  He was dependant, he was brought there and sat down by someone, and would spread out his garment in front of him, and cry for alms.  And the people as they went by would throw the money onto his garment.  Now it says there, ‘Hearing these people as they pass by, he asks what is going on’, because that was his sensory organ, his hearing.  He was blind.  And people that are blind hear much better.  They see things with their ears.  They understand things much better by hearing them.  And Bartemeus knew the kind of crowd that was just going to Jerusalem, noisy, everybody on their way, everybody talking, nobody paying attention.  And Bartemeus knew the difference, when the crowd was a little bit hushed because somebody very important was going through, and there was a lot of kind of ‘You see him, he’s over there…’ you heard a lot of that, and he knew something different was going on.  And he had that ability just to interpret things by what he heard.  Like what’s this? Clip-clop, clip-clop, bang, bang, clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop.  That’s an Amish drive-by shooting.  [laughter]  Now you would never recognize that, but Bartemeus, he’d have known that right away.  See, people in that position listen differently.  We just lighten up as we move along here.  And he’s a great rebuke to the religious leaders of the day and this religious parade that’s going by.  And I’m not sure what he feels like, because the religious leaders of the day had told him that God was judging him, and that’s why he was blind. 

 

Religion and Physical Things Can’t Fill That Empty Void In Us---Religion Never Did Anybody Any Good

 

Remember in John chapter 9, they saw a man sitting blind, and Jesus’ disciples said to him, ‘Lord, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’  Because that was the teaching of the day, if you were born blind it was because of sin.  So this is a man who has had to wrestle for years with this concept of God, ‘Who is this God that I’m hearing about from the religious leaders, he’s left me blind, he hasn’t done me any good.’   And I lived in a world like that, and so did many of you.  You know, it’s interesting when we look at polls of our nation today, we hear that.  I just heard a prominent psychiatrist had done this poll of 3,000 people, 94 percent of them when they were asked what they were living for, said, they were living for something in the future, they were living to attain this, or they were living to get this, or they were living to arrive at this point, or they were living for retirement.  94 percent of them, what they were admitting is, ‘There is an emptiness inside of me, it is knawing at me, and presently I am not satisfied.’  [Tell me, honestly, who isn’t in that boat in one way or another, even for a believer.  It’s a normal emotion, but it is a human emotion.]  Very interesting to hear John Rockefeller say that his millions had brought him no joy, and that how he wished he were sitting back as a clerk on a stool making $3 a week again, because of the joy he had then.  Or to hear Carnegie say, “Millionaires rarely smile.”  To see the suicide rate amongst teenagers in our nation today, to look at this mass of people, and nothing is reaching out to them.  This religious parade is going by, and not doing anything for Bartemeus.  The religious leaders of the day and the religious system had done nothing for him, and he’s sitting there feeling like the world is passing him by.  That’s what he lives like, he can hear it day in and day out. And as he begs somewhere, he cries for alms, and as he does that, because he’s not distracted visually by so many other things, he’s listening and he’s thinking and he wondering, ‘Why is it, Lord, if you’re really there, what sin have I ever done that you’ve struck me blind?’.  And like the world is just passing by him, and he’s partaking of none of it.  And he faces this knawing in his own spirit. 

 

Jesus Is Big News Amongst the Afflicted---Bartemeus, You’ve Got To Find This Jesus!

 

And yet somehow, he had heard the voices of those Old Testament prophets that spoke of Jesus, and Jesus said, ‘All things that are written are going to be fulfilled.’  Those Old Testament prophets also said ‘That when he comes, the Messiah, he will open the eyes of the blind, he’ll heal the lame, he’ll preach good news to those who are in captivity.’  So Jesus was big news amongst the afflicted.  Now I remember my dad saying that, when I first got saved, ‘Well, yea, you know, people that you know, they got problems, druggies, people you hang around with, they need a crutch!’  And I thought, he doesn’t understand, Jesus is big news amongst the afflicted.  But the thing is, we all end up afflicted at some point.  Whether it’s Carnegie, or Rockefeller, or some religious person like Nicodemus that’s afflicted with his emptiness, we all come to terms with the fact that when we don’t know Christ, we go from one drug, or one thing to the next, and there is that knawing emptiness, and we’re never able to fill it.  And the truth is, I think about how honest we’re going to be.  This man had heard, and that had made an impression on his heart.  The Bible talks about the power of the spoken word.  It’s interesting, I was with Chuck Smith a little while ago, and talked to him, and he said “We spend very little money on television, because all through the Scripture the Bible talks about the power of the spoken word, we believe radio is a much more powerful tool for God.”  Because visually, you’re almost distracted sometimes, especially if you’re watching certain of them---you know what I mean?  [laughter].  Wondering ‘If I hit that hairdo with a hammer will it shatter and fall on the floor?’, I think all of those things.  In fact, sometimes I just turn the sound off and watch them, because, I remember the one guy, I was looking at him and thinking, ‘He should have been the Joker in the Batman movie, because without makeup he…I won’t tell you who he is, come up afterwards, ask me, and I’ll tell you, but.  The power is in the spoken word.  This guy has heard something, and he’s crying out Thou Son of David”, he’s not asking for alms, he’s asking for mercy.  He has seen more than the people that are surrounding him with eyes have seen.  Because he’s known his own emptiness, and he’s known his own limitations, and he doesn’t have any excuses, he’s not using excuses.  You know, people will make excuses and fight for excuses their entire life of why they don’t come to church, and why thy don’t want to hear about Christianity, or why they don’t want to hear the Bible.  They’ll get one good excuse that’s fat enough for them to stand behind, and they’ll fight for that territory their entire lives, sometimes.  Bartemeus, though he was told that God judged him and made him blind, Bartemeus, though the religious system of the day and the religious leaders never handed him anything---and as he’s sitting there, this religious parade is going by, with not a single answer for him, yet he’s not hiding behind any excuses. 

 

Bartemeus Perceives Something No One Else Does

 

When he hears Jesus is passing by, he has perceived something, he thinks ‘I’ve been hearing about this one, I’ve had blind friends that came back to me and said ‘I can see now, I can see!’, or crippled friends that I used to beg with, they came back to me and they said, ‘You’ve gotta get to this Jesus of Nazareth.’’  And maybe tonight, you’re here, and one of your friends that were blind or crippled in some way, emotionally, has come back to you and you said, ‘Man, I see the change in your life, I see the smile on your face, the light in your eyes, what’s going on?’.  And maybe they’ve said to you, ‘It’s this Jesus, you’ve gotta come to Jesus.  Forget about church, I’m talking about Jesus.’  And maybe you’re perceiving something, see there’s a big difference.  A number of years ago, and some of you were with us then, we had a scientist from Europe come and speak to the church, Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith.  He was listed as one of the twelve brightest men on the planet earth.  Now I wouldn’t really know, because I don’t hang around with those guys, and they don’t call me or anything.  But they said he was one of the twelve brightest men on the planet.  Three earned PhD’s in different fields, now that’s not impressive in Europe, a PhD doesn’t mean a lot over there, but he had a habilitation in Europe, which means he could have taught at any university on the Continent.  He’s awarded the Countess of Lizburn, and I mean, on and on and on went the accolades, the Golden Apple Awards, all the things about this guy, he was brilliant.  And he spoke at the church, and then we took him to our house for lunch.  And he’s got that European genius kind of look, like Francis Schaffer with frizzed out white hair and a white beard, like a skinny Santa Claus, you know.  Very polite, great accent, and we sit down at the table, and my wife says lunch is ready, and everybody attacks the table, and we all look up, and he and his wife are still standing behind their chairs.  We didn’t know what was wrong, maybe he’s too old, can’t sit down.  We said, ‘You can be seated.’  And he said ‘Oh thank you, thank you.’  You know, he’s waiting.  They have these rules and manners in Europe that never got here, you know, they died on the way over on a ship or something.  There’s manners there in England we never even heard of.  He actually waited to be asked to be seated before he started to eat.  So he’s sitting there at the table, and I’m thinking, ‘Boy, how do I make, it’s trouble for me trying to make intelligent conversation with one of the most brilliant guys in the world.  Anything I say is going to bore him, you know.’  And I said, ‘Isn’t it amazing here I am, I was a druggy in Philly, and playing Rock n’ Roll, and here you are, one of the most brilliant guys on the planet, and here we are sitting together, isn’t that amazing?’  He said, ‘Yes, that is pretty amazing.’  I don’t know if I felt good about that or not.  [laughter]  And Hannah was real little then, and she had one of these, remember that dinosaur show that used to be on, she had one of these ‘Not-the-Mamma’, remember that Not-the-Mamma thing?  This little doll, Not-the-Mamma, and you pulled it, and it said different things.  You know ‘Gotta luv me’, it’s saying all this stuff, and we’re trying to settle her down, and it’s stuck though on one thing.  And every time you pull it, it says ‘Hello, fat boy!’  [loud laugher]  And she’s doing it around the table, ‘Hello fat boy!  Hello fat boy!’ and we’re trying to say ‘We’ve got one of the smartest men on the planet and you’re trying to ‘Fat boy’ him to death.’  Finally we got her out of there.  We got her out of there, we said, ‘You’ve gotta take a nap.’  And he said, ‘Do you want me to go up with you?’  And she went, ‘Noooo!’ with the white beard and white hair.  So, she goes to bed, and about 20 minutes later all of a sudden, you can see with him, the light goes on, ‘Was that doll saying ‘Hello Fat Boy?’  We said ‘Yeah!’ and I thought ‘This is great, I knew something before the smartest man in the world knew it.’  You know, you couldn’t cure cancer with it or anything, it was just Hello fat boy, but I felt much better then about talking to him.  So we start to have this conversation, and he’s talking about his friends, his buddies synthesized Vitamin C, got the Nobel Prize, and Stephen Hawkings and Carl Sagen, I mean he hangs around with these guys, in casual conversation.  ‘Oh yeah, I saw him on TV once.’  And he said “A group of my friends were working in Europe with a group of people, eighteen or twenty people, that were born blind, black blind, they had never seen.”  And he said, “As they worked with them, they’re trying to do something else, but inadvertently they discovered this, that as these people, you know, they had them drawing and doing different things, as they doodled and as they were drawing on paper, they realized that they understood perception, that they could perceive.”  Because you know when an artist paints a picture or if an artist painted the sanctuary from where I’m sitting, he would make the aisle get thinner as it went further away, to give you a sense of depth.  Or a road in a painting, going into the distance, or a stream, it gets thinner, and that gives you a perception of depth.  And here as these blind people were doodling they were making those things get thinner as they went into the distance.  And they realized that though they had never seen, that they could perceive, and that there was a difference.  And I just read about it today in Newsweek or one of those magazines, there was a difference, they realized, between seeing and perception, that those were two separate and distinct things.  And Bartemeus is perceiving more than everyone whose around him with 20/20 vision.  He has perceived something.  And when he cries out to this One, who they say is passing by, Bartemeus perceives ‘I am not going to let this slip by me.  This is miraculous, I was praying, I was longing, I couldn’t find him because I was blind, and now he’s passing by me.’  And maybe, some of you here this evening, will be perceptive enough to realize that we’re singing songs and we’re laughing and we’re crying together, but maybe you’ll be perceptive enough to understand that Someone is passing by your heart this evening.  And it isn’t someone whose seeing with a physical eye.  The Bible says “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither does it enter into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for those who love him.  But he hath made known those things”, ‘he’s made them realities to us by his Spirit.’ 

 

Bartemeus Cries Out To Jesus---Desperation Will Stop Jesus Dead In His Tracks

 

Jesus is going by, that’s all Bartemeus hears, he’s come close.  And Bartemeus starts to scream, he starts to cry out.  ‘Jesus, thou Son of David!  You’re the Messiah, I know you’re the Messiah!  Have mercy on me.’  He doesn’t ask for justice, he doesn’t ask for alms for the poor, he asks for mercy, he’s crying out.  You know, sometimes even as Christians we haven’t perceived enough about Jesus, that we can really cry out for mercy.  Sometimes even as Christians, we almost are more perceptive of our weaknesses and our anger and our selfishness, than we are of the Lover of our soul, the Healer of broken hearts, the One who stands close to us, who says he’d never leave us or forsake us, who had made up for all that we lack, in one act on the cross.  He’s crying ‘Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!’  And the disciples, they’re always good front-men, they tell him ‘Shut up!  Be quiet!  Don’t bother the Master, you blind beggar, shut up!  We don’t care about you.’  You know, I hope, if you’re here this evening, and you don’t know Jesus, please don’t listen to disciples all the time.  Because we don’t do it right all the time.  You can listen to your heart, you can perceive, and that’s with something beyond your senses.  Listen to your heart.  ‘Tell that guy to shut up!’  Now I like it, it says “but he cried out all the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”  Now the word “cried out” there means “he screamed”, and it’s sometimes used of an animal.  You ever hear an animal wounded when you watch Discovery Channel?  Just imagine this guy, he is screaming.  He can’t see nothing, he can’t see all the people going, you know, ‘Whose that guy think he is?’   None of that bothers him.  He’s screaming.  Maybe some of you are screaming in your heart.  ‘JESUS, THOU SON OF DAVID!’  ‘SHUT UP, SHUT UP!’  ‘JESUS!’   he gets louder, he’s screaming.  He’s not going to let that opportunity go by.  And it says ‘Jesus stood still.’  He didn’t stand still for the crowd.  There wasn’t one thing in that crowd that drew his attention, because he was not at all touched by this religious parade, or religious charade, or the religious leaders who didn’t see him at all.  But desperation will stop him dead in his tracks.  Desperation will stop Jesus dead in his tracks.  Now what that means is, because the Bible says, yesterday, today and forever, he’s the same, he never changes, that whoever the most desperate person in this room is, he’s stopping right in front of you.  And I know, again some of you are looking around thinking ‘I must be number 1,025 on the list of desperate people around here.  I should have gone to a church where everybody has it together, but no, I’ve got to come to Calvary Chapel, look at this crew.’  No, it doesn’t matter, because he can be with all of us at the same time, individually.  And he reaches out to every broken heart.  And Bartemeus is crying out.  And you have to understand, there’s something going on in the crowd, there is a contact that has been made, as it says ‘Jesus stands still.’  There is a communication that is taking place that no one in the crowd knows about but Bartemeus and Jesus.  There is a connection that has been made.  And that can happen in a room full of people like this, everybody sitting around with their eyes wide open, and there can be a work going on between the Saviour and someone’s heart, and nobody’s even aware of it.  And that’s what was happening.  And Bartemeus is sitting there screaming, and all of a sudden he hears the crowd go ‘crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, stop.’  And he knows, that’s how he sees.  Uh-oh, are they gone?  Everybody go to Betson’s, what happened?’  And it says someone comes up, he hears one person’s footsteps coming, ‘clump, clump, clump, clump’ and a voice says ‘Be of good cheer, he’s calling for you’ it tells us in Mark, ‘He’s calling for you.  He heard you.’  He’s the same today. 

 

For Every Heart That Will Cry Out, Jesus Is There and Will Respond

 

You know, I remember a little while ago, having a chief executive officer from a major corporation in my office, in his fifties, telling me how empty he was.  His family had gotten saved, it was driving him out of his mind, he wanted to believe it was real, but he couldn’t.  With all of his six figures, and everything else he had gathered to himself, he was empty.  He said ‘What do I need to do?’  I said, “You need to just let the Lord love you, you just need to reach out to him, you just need to cry out to Jesus.”  And he started to sob.  And I said “What’s the matter?”  He said “What if I cry out, and he’s not there?”  He said, “What if after all of this, and all of this emptiness, finally now I’m looking foolish, listening to my family talking about this Jesus, and I’ve got a decent IQ, I’ve built a big organization, and it’s worth millions, and what if I go for this, and get a loan somewhere, and cry out and he’s not there, what if he’s not there?”  I said, “He is there, that’s what I’m doing, I’m witnessing to you, HE’S THERE, that’s what I’m telling you, HE IS THERE, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT, HE IS THERE!”  He’s there tonight, he’s there, for every heart that will cry out, he’s there.  He’s there.  And as Bartemeus is crying, he’s the one voice, this transaction begins to take place to where Jesus stops, and he stands still.  And there’s something going on with all of this multitude, between one human heart and between the heart of the Saviour, a transaction that’s taking place.  Because he’s crying out for mercy, and Jesus will always respond when anyone cries out for mercy.  And he hears the footprints coming.  And the person says, whoever he is, ‘Cheer up, the Master’s calling for you.’   And it says that he took Bartemeus and he led him to Jesus.  What was that like for Bartemeus?  We don’t know if it was ten steps, or twenty steps, or thirty steps, or forty steps, or a hundred yards.  Just imagine Bartemeus being led.  There’s quiet, the crowd has stopped, everybody’s quiet.  His heart must be going Baboom! Baboom! Baboom!  And somewhere in this walk, all of a sudden this person lets go of him, and there’s Bartemeus standing black-blind alone.  And he hears this voice.  Luke says it this way, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?”  You know, the voice didn’t say, ‘Are you the guy that was screaming!?’  ‘What the heck to do you want?’  That’s not the tone, it’s not a business tone.  ‘Ok, Bartemeus, you’ve got my attention.  What wilt thou that I should do?’  You know, it’s not like the Ten Commandments, you know.  Bartemeus, when Jesus spoke, I’m sure, as he always did, understood the tone as well as the content.  Because that voice said to him, ‘Oh Bartemeus, I love you so much.  And I have come all the way from eternity to stand in front of you, here, right now.’  That’s what he heard when he heard “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” (verses 40-41)  He heard all of God’s love. 

 

Someone Had To Lead Bartemeus To Jesus

 

You know, I hope that if somebody brought you here tonight, you’re not offended.  It says “they led him to Jesus”, “they brought him unto him.”  Someone led him to Jesus.  Maybe you have a friend whose trying to lead you to Jesus.  And I hope that’s not offensive.  I’m gonna try to do the same thing.  I hope that’s not offensive.  Because you’ve been led your whole life anyway.  See, for blind Bartemeus, it was no big deal.  He had accepted the fact a long time ago that he needed to be led.  And when they said “The Master’s calling” he put out his hand and said ‘Take me to him!’.  There was no hesitancy.  Isn’t it funny how our pride gets involved sometimes, and when someone wants to lead us to Jesus, there’s like our excuses and all of this hesitancy and all of this nonsense?  And they’re trying to lead us to the one who would speak to us with all of the love and forgiveness of eternity.  And you see, you’ve been led your whole life anyway, all of you have been led.  Satan sets the menu out in front of us.  We don’t choose.  You know, in my generation, when we wore bell-bottoms, it wasn’t like I woke up one morning and looked at my jeans and said ‘You know, they need to be fatter at the bottom than they are at the top.’  I didn’t decide that myself, somebody put that in front of me, and said ‘This is cool.’  I didn’t wake up one day and say ‘I’m going to grow my hair down to the middle of my back.’  Somebody told me ‘This is cool.  You want to be a Hippie?’  ‘I don’t know, what’s a Hippie?’  ‘You have to look like this to be a Hippie.’  ‘Will I be cool if I’m a Hippie?’  ‘Even if you’re not, nobody will know.’  ‘OK.’  It’s the same thing today, somebody tells you what to look like, somebody tells you, you know, they didn’t see The Last of the Mohicans and wake up and say ‘You know, I want my hair to look like that when I wake up in the morning.’   Somebody didn’t tell you ‘Instead of going to the jewelry store, why don’t you go to the pet shop and get yourself a necklace.’  We’re all being led, all of us are being led.  What is the big deal if somebody leads us to JESUS SO WE CAN BE SAVED AND FORGIVEN, AND HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, BECAUSE WE’RE ALL BEING LED.  [applause] 

 

The Purpose of the Human Eye

 

Jesus said ‘What do you want me to do for you?’  “And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.”  Because he had perception already.  Jesus would say to him ‘Your faith has made you whole.’  He had already seen with his heart, he already knew, he said ‘Lord, open my physical eyes, that’s what I want.’  And how amazing must this have been.  Imagine, you know, here’s Bartemeus, he’s never seen.  All of a sudden his vision is clearing, all of a sudden he’s starting to see light and color for the first time.  The first thing he sees is God.  You know, he must Er, er, er, look, and there’s Jesus.  And I’m sure Jesus had a big smile, you know.  I mean, it was the first thing that he saw.  And then it says, “and he followed him,” Jesus.  You know, I think in one sense, what a bummer.  Here’s a guy whose been waiting to see his entire life, and when he finally sees, the very first thing he sees is going to be the best thing he’ll ever see, and everything after that ain’t going to be as good.  You know, if he gets married, his kids are going to say ‘Hey dad, look at the flowers’  ‘Oh yea, flowers are pretty.’  ‘Dad, look at the stream!’  ‘Oh yea, the stream’s great, you know, palm trees, mountains, eh.’  ‘Dad, what is wrong with you!?’  Well, once you have seen God, you are spoiled for this world.  ‘All those years I waited to see, and when I finally did, the first thing I saw was the best thing I was ever gonna see, and nothing has been exciting since.’  [Comment:  Wait till he sees Revelation 21:1-23, or Revelation 4, God on his throne at the Sea of Glass.]  And as a Christian, you’re spoiled for this world.  You go out and try to do the things you used to do, and they are not the same, because you’re spoiled.  [I have noticed that.  I was a sailor all my life, small-boat sailing, skin diving…those things are not the same anymore, even though I still love these activities, they are now second-best.]  And Paul prays that we might know the hope of his calling, and that what are the riches of his inheritance in the saints, in us, that he looks at us, and he thinks that he’s rich because of us.  It’s amazing, he called Bartemeus publicly, Bartemeus wasn’t embarrassed.  You know, we ask people to come stand publicly, and we have to say to people, “Don’t be embarrassed”, you think that it would be God that would be embarrassed when we come.  He’d be up in heaven going, ‘Yea I’ll take him, but could we do this someplace privately?’  He’s not embarrassed.  He takes us, he receives us.  And there isn’t anything better than that.  When you see that, perceive that, it ruins you for this world.  It ruins you for this world.  And I think even for us, what will it be like for us, the first time that we see him?  In the book of Revelation chapter 5, we have John seeing him.  And he said, ‘I heard a voice behind me cry, Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah has been found worthy to open the seals and to open the scroll, to loose the seals…’  He said, ‘I turned around to see, and I beheld in the midst of the angels, in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of the cherubim, in the midst, in the midst, in the midst was a Lamb with the marks of slaughter upon him.’  What will it be like, the very first time we see him?  Because the purpose of the human eye, is not to sit around in Calvary Chapel on Wednesday night and look at each other, and think ‘Oh, look at what he’s got on, I need to get one of those.  Look at her hair, boy she’s trying to cover it up, ain’t she.’  I mean, what is the purpose of the human eye that has not been realized in our lives yet?  You ain’t seen nothing yet. [cf. Revelation 19:1-13, read it, and let your imagination go wild.]  It will be when we stand on a Sea of Glass and fire, and the only reason we’re going to want to look at each other then is to say ‘Ain’t this amazing!?’  When the human gaze is filled with the Lord of Glory, and we can look into his eyes, Revelation chapter 22, verse 4 says we shall see his face.  And when the Creator looks into the eyes of the creation, and the creation looks into the eyes of the Creator, we will understand what the human eye is for.  We have not even used it yet.  When we come to heaven [and he means the Sea of Glass at the first resurrection, and when the New Jerusalem comes to earth, cf. Revelation 21 & 22]] it says the streets are gold and the walls are made of jewels, and it tells us of the light and the colors, and everything there reflects or refracts light.  And every single hue and every single color and every other thing that comes to our gaze, we will realize, this is what it was always for, this is the place that was made for me…but when we look at him, he is the one who gives light to the city, and all that’s beautiful, and all that’s reflected, and all that’s refracted, all of it comes from his presence, and he will be the central most brilliant, most beautiful figure in all of it.  And as we gaze at him, we will do what the cherubim do, we will fall down and say “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was and who is to come.”  What an incredible thing that will be to see.  It is then that we will realize the purpose of the human eye. 

 

We’re All Trying To Fill The Emptiness Inside

 

My challenge to you is this.  Who will you see, when you’re in that circumstance?  I pray, that if you’re honest, because you will be at some point in your life, and I hope it’s not too late, that you’re willing to say ‘There is something that knaws at me, an emptiness.  There is something that nothing in this world has yet filled.’  How many professional sports people that are multimillionaires that we see in the Betty Ford Clinic.  My son showed me a little article in Sports Illustrated yesterday that said they estimate 54 percent of the Basket Ball players in the NBA are smoking marijuana, 54 percent [boy, that’s gonna slow down their playing!].  You’d think that they would be satisfied, making millions of dollars a year.  Well that just don’t satisfy.  And neither does marijuana.  And neither does alcohol, and neither does anything that this world sets in front of us.  But see, so many of us, and that’s the way I was, are being led like a donkey with a carrot hanging in front of it, trying to fill the emptiness inside.  We’re being led anyway…[tape switchover, some text lost]…this evening is to be led to the Saviour.  That you would ask yourself a question, is he passing by tonight.  And if you’re honest about that, and if you in your heart are crying out to Jesus, there can a transaction that takes place between him and you, that nobody else in this room can be aware of.  And it can be real, like it was for Bartemeus, saying, ‘I don’t want to let this moment go by.’  And the Bible says we’ll all see then.  You know, people say ‘All roads lead to God’, like all roads lead to Rome, or something.  Well, they’re right, all roads do lead to God.  But one road leads to Jesus Christ, and one road leads to the Great White Throne.  They all lead there.  But you don’t want to be there.  [Comment:  There are many differing beliefs about the Great White Throne, heaven and hell, within the greater Body of Christ.  To read  some of them, see:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  We will all see God.  You can perceive him tonight, perceive his love and his forgiveness, and ask Jesus to be your Saviour, and be washed and cleansed forever, and seal your eternity in heaven.  Not with a physical eye, Bartemeus couldn’t see, not with the physical senses, but he perceived something was true in his heart.  And he cried out, and God changed his life forever.  And when he got up, it says he followed Jesus.  He had nowhere else to go.  There was nowhere else to go, nothing else impressed him, as he followed the Lord.  Or you will stand, at the Great White Throne, and see God as Judge, you will see him as Saviour or you will see him as Judge in one way or another.  But I believe for some of you, he’s passing by.  You’re not here by mistake, you didn’t get into a place like this listening to somebody like me, sitting in a crowd like this by mistake.  You’re here because of his love, because he’s drawn you, because he cares about you, because he knows that you’ve tried to fill your life with all kinds of things and you’re still empty.  We want to give you an opportunity tonight to change that, to ask Jesus to come in and fill that empty spot.  And the Church has said through the centuries, every man has a God-shaped void inside.  You can try to fill it with drugs or anything else, I tried to fill it with all that stuff, and it’s left me empty.  I’m going to have the musicians come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon going through Luke 18:32-43 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

Who Is Jesus Christ?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm

 

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