Christ came not only to bring light to a dark world, and so to set before us the objects we are to have in view, but also to give sight to blind souls, and by healing the organ to enable them to view those objects. As a token of this, he cured many of their bodily blindness: we have now an account of one to whom he gave sight near Jericho. Mark gives us an account of one, and names him, whom he cured as he went out of Jericho, Mark 10:46. Matthew speaks of two whom he cured as they departed from Jericho, Matt. 20:30. Luke says it was en to eggizein auton—when he was near to Jericho, which might be when he was going out of it as well as when he was coming into it. Observe,
I. This poor blind man sat by the wayside, begging, Luke 18:35. It seems, he was not only blind, but poor, had nothing to subsist on, nor any relations to maintain him; the fitter emblem of the world of mankind which Christ came to heal and save; they are therefore wretched and miserable, for they are both poor and blind, Rev. 3:17. He sat begging, for he was blind, and could not work for his living. Note, Those ought to be relieved by charity whom the providence of God has any way disabled to get their own bread. Such objects of charity by the way-side ought not to be overlooked by us. Christ here cast a favourable eye upon a common beggar, and, though there are cheats among such, yet they must not therefore be all thought such.
II. Hearing the noise of a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant, Luke 18:36. This we had not before. It teaches us that it is good to be inquisitive, and that those who are so some time or other find the benefit of it. Those who want their sight should make so much the better use of their hearing, and, when they cannot see with their own eyes, should, by asking questions, make use of other people’s eyes. So this blind man did, and by that means came to understand that Jesus of Nazareth passed by, Luke 18:37. It is good being in Christ’s way; and, when we have an opportunity of applying ourselves to him, not to let it slip.
III. His prayer has in it a great deal both of faith and fervency: Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me, Luke 18:38. He owns Christ to be the Son of David, the Messiah promised; he believes him to be Jesus, a Saviour; he believes he is able to help and succour him, and earnestly begs his favour: “Have mercy on me, pardon my sin, pity my misery.” Christ is a merciful king; those that apply themselves to him as the Son of David shall find him so, and ask enough for themselves when they pray, Have mercy on us; for Christ’s mercy includes all.
IV. Those who are in good earnest for Christ’s favours and blessings will not be put by from the pursuit of them, though they meet with opposition and rebuke. They who went along chid him as troublesome to the Master, noisy and impertinent, and bade him hold his peace; but he went on with his petition, nay, the check given him was but as a dam to a full stream, which makes it swell so much the more; he cried the louder, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Those who would speed in prayer must be importunate in prayer. This history, in the close of the chapter, intimates the same thing with the parable in the beginning of the chapter, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
V. Christ encourages poor beggars, whom men frown upon, and invites them to come to him, and is ready to entertain them, and bid them welcome: He commanded him to be brought to him. Note, Christ has more tenderness and compassion for distressed supplicants than any of his followers have. Though Christ was upon his journey, yet he stopped and stood, and commanded him to be brought to him. Those who had checked him must now lend him their hands to lead him to Christ.
VI. Though Christ knows all our wants, he will know them from us (Luke 18:41): What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? By spreading our case before God, with a particular representation of our wants and burdens, we teach ourselves to value the mercy we are in pursuit of; and it is necessary that we should, else we are not fit to receive it. This man poured out his soul before Christ, when he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. Thus particular should we be in prayer, upon particular occasions.
VII. The prayer of faith, guided by Christ’s encouraging promises, and grounded on them, shall not be in vain; nay, it shall not only receive an answer of peace, but of honour (Luke 18:42); Christ said, Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee. True faith will produce fervency in prayer, and both together will fetch in abundance of the fruits of Christ’s favour; and they are then doubly comfortable when they come in that way, when we are saved by faith.
VIII. The grace of Christ ought to be thankfully acknowledged, to the glory of God, Luke 18:43. 1. The poor beggar himself, that had his sight restored, followed Christ, glorifying God. Christ made it his business to glorify his Father; and those whom he healed pleased him best when they praised God, as those shall please God best who praise Christ and do him honour; for, in confessing that he is Lord, we give glory to God the Father. It is for the glory of God if we follow Christ, as those will do whose eyes are opened. 2. The people that saw it could not forbear giving praise to God, who had given such power to the Son of Man, and by him had conferred such favours on the sons of men. Note, We must give praise to God for his mercies to others as well as for mercies to ourselves.