The traditional route from Galilee to Jerusalem took the Jews to through the east side of the Jordan, this allowed them to avoid Samaria, a place they believed to be filled with half breed spiritual compromisers.
Jesus traveled in and around Samaria often during His ministry. He came to seek and to save the lost, regardless of heritage, background, or life circumstances.
In this instance, Jesus followed the traditional route to stay with the caravans of people going to Jerusalem. The city of Jericho was on this route as the last stop before the hard climb to Jerusalem. While near Jericho, Jesus encountered a blind beggar, who had positioned himself alongside the road to collect money from the merciful pilgrims heading to Passover.
A large crowd joined Jesus on his trip because they expected Him to march into Jerusalem and begin his campaign to overthrow Rome. If the beggar heard the noise and conversations, he would have realized Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and people around him believed it to be true.
When the blind man heard the name of Jesus, he immediately called him by his messianic title, Son of David. Mark’s gospel identifies the beggar as Bartimeus, the son of Timaeus.
This level of detail suggests that Mark’s audience knew the formerly blind man as a follower of Jesus now. This man asked Jesus for mercy just like many other people throughout Jesus’ ministry.
What makes this beggar different is the fact that he used Jesus’ Messianic title: Son of David.
He cried out to Jesus, the man set aside all dignity and restraint to make sure he was seen and heard by his shriek. Jesus took note and spoke with him, this highlights Jesus’ character. He is for you, he is approachable, he is merciful.
Jesus asked him, “what do you want Me to do for you?”
Far too many of us ask far too little of Jesus; we seek an extra margin of comfort in our miserable slavery to sin, when we could ask for and receive a full measure of God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
He asked to be healed from blindness, a request only God could give. Jesus responds, “your faith has made you well,” that is translated from a word that means save. Bartimaeus was saved from his blindness and sin.
In chapter 11, Jesus prepares to enter the city of Jerusalem. For at least 20 Passovers, Jesus had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the deliverance of Israel from bondage of Egypt. He had entered the city many times, but this was different.
The time had come for Jesus to assert His messianic claims.
Jesus chose a colt because this trip into Jerusalem would mark a change in His relationship with the authorities. He planned to enter Jerusalem as their King. He would assert His authority over the throne and the temple. But He would not ride into the city in a show of force like a warrior king, instead He would ride a donkey as a symbol of peace.
Jesus was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The King’s subjects had followed Him from Galilee and joined many others living in Judea. As Jesus rode into the city, they lined the road with cloaks and palm branches as they shouted “Hossana,” which means save us now.
Jesus came in peace, offering opportunities to repent, receive grace and accept Him as their Messiah and King. Their response to this arrival would determine their fate as individuals and decide the future of the nation for centuries to come.
He completed His triumphal entry into the city He loves.
Two Lessons from the Journey of Jesus
- In moving moments when we are tempted to speak, silence is far more appropriate.
Just as Jesus sat in silence as he entered the temple. Have you taken time to simply to sit before the Lord, be quiet and know that He is God.
We live in a state of action. There are many lies all around, so take time to ponder on the truth.
- In significant settings when pride could be ours, genuine humility is far more impressive.
Jesus could have rode in as conquering King, but he did not do that. A little humility goes a long way in our lives. Ask God to bring you to a place where you can see beyond the crowds, beyond the applause.
Jesus threw his leg over a donkey and rode into Jerusalem with His feet barely above the ground. He embraced His triumph with humility just as the prophets foretold.
- In terrifying times, when we are blinded by bitterness, vulnerable confession is best.
Think about Bartimaeus, a man who realized the hopelessness of his condition. He did not shriek because he was tired of being blind, he screamed for divine mercy because he needed to be rescued from sin.
Pastor Chris Williams
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