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Mark x. 51.
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight."
WITH regard to the miracle to which these words refer, there is an apparent inconsistency in the narratives of the three Evangelists who record it. St. Mark tells us that Jesus healed blind Bartimæus," as he went out of Jericho." St. Luke says that "as he drew nigh to that city, a blind man sat by the way-side begging," whom he restored to sight. St. Matthew again differs from both, but at the same time, affords the clue by which the three accounts may
be reconciled. He writes that two blind men sat by the way-side.-Taking the three narratives together, therefore, it would seem that one blind man was restored to sight as Christ was entering Jericho another, as he was leaving itand as these two events followed each other closely in point of time, (for Jesus made no halt in Jericho), and were very similar in point of circumstances, St. Matthew, with his usual brevity when recording miracles, makes one description serve for both'. It will be our employment this morning to examine the account given by St. Mark, and see whether we cannot derive from it some lessons which may be useful and instructive.
Jesus, in his progress from the banks of the Jordan towards Jerusalem, passes through Jericho. As he goes out of that city, he comes nigh the station usually occupied by a blind beggar, named Bartimæus.
The tread of many feet, the
1 See Greswell's Dissertations.
loud hum of voices, make the sightless wretch aware that a great multitude is approaching, in attendance most probably upon some person of importance. In reply to his enquiry, who this might be, he is told that it is Jesus of Nazareth. name it seems is not new to him-he has heard of all his marvellous acts, nor has he failed to draw the right inference from them. Mark his address-" Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me." As if he had said, "Lord, I have heard of the many wonderful works that thou hast done, I have heard that thou hast been eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, life to the dead, and I believe thee to be the promised Messiah, sent of God to redeem his people.-Thou Son of David have mercy on me."
The people rebuke him, that he should hold his peace, that he should forbear to interrupt Jesus in his progress; but he is not to be so silenced. The boon he asks is too precious, the chance of obtaining it too great to be easily foregone. He cries the more a great deal,
Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' His accents reach that ear which is ever open to the complaints of those who call in faith, and Jesus stands and commands him to be summoned. "Be of good comfort," say they who bear the message, "rise, he calleth thee." "Be of good comfort, thou hast attracted the notice of the Saviour-thou mayest look upon thyself as restored to sight already, only rise and obey his call." The summons falls upon willing ears. Delighted, the blind man starts up, and casting from him the loose outer garment, which would have impeded his eager movement, he hurries to Jesus. "And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way."
When our blessed Lord enquired of Bartimæus, "What wilt thou that I should
do unto thee?" it does not appear that he hesitated one moment for an answer. Superiority over their brethren was the great thing, which James and John had lately sought from him.-The man who had great riches set so much store by them, that he thought his wealth more precious than eternal life. -But neither of these objects of desire, so generally coveted, was that for which the present applicant prayed. Though in station the lowest of the low-and of poverty so abject, as to depend for his very subsistence on the alms of the chance passenger, he felt that the enjoyment of the light of heaven was a blessing more to be desired than thousands of gold and silver, or the loftiest pride of place, and therefore his petition to Christ was "Lord, that I might receive my sight." And the same doubtless would have been
prayer of every one labouring under the same infirmity.
But can we not we not imagine a sense in which it may be offered up by many whose natural organs are unimpaired.