And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus…
When Jesus thus "stood still," He was on His way for the last time to Jerusalem. His "hour" was drawing nigh, and He was hastening to meet it. Can He be arrested in this journey? Where is the event mighty enough to stay His course? What destiny of man or empire is worthy even of a thought from Him now? "He stood still." Let us also stand and admire. Here let us learn the grace of our Redeemer, and lay up in our hearts the blessed teaching. Then may we learn how unreasonable and how unnatural is a favourite clamour of infidels against the gospel. They say they cannot believe that the Son of God came to this world and died for its redemption. This world is too small and mean in the great scale of the universe, to allow them to think that the Creator of countless millions of glorious suns and systems, could have stooped to love and care and suffer and die for the poor creatures of a day, who live on this insignificant planet. To a narrow vision a structure may seem unsightly from its vastness, while in miniature the same eye might find the proportions exquisite. And have we not, in this standing still of Jesus, amidst the urgencies of such a journey, at the call of a beggar, a miniature of the very things by which some are confounded or repelled, in the immense transactions of the Atonement? It was worthy of the illustrious Stranger — nay, it was beautiful, it was sublime — to stay for the relief of the unhappy beggar, though His own mind was burdened with the weight of the infinite sacrifice He was about to offer. Then who shall so vilify the redemption of men by the Cross, as to pronounce it unworthy of the Sovereign of a universe to which our earth is but an atom? Shall an astronomer be so lost in God's glory declared by the heavens, in their measureless and bright immensity, as to scorn the thought of His upholding and blessing each sun and star? Then. if these philosophers gaze on the luminous, illimitable fields of creation, until their dazzled minds turn back with contempt to the world on which they dwell, and find no worth nor grandeur in the Cross which redeems it, though it saves numbers without number from perdition, and glorifies them in the light of God, and displays His Attributes before an admiring universe, let us hold up the confessed truthfulness and beauty of this simple incident, till, "like a mirror of diamond, it pierce their misty eyeball" and lead them on to the acknowledgment of the truth. "Jesus stood still," and when did He ever refuse to stay at the call of the distressed sinner? Nay, if He stayed then, when can He refuse? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever? The fires of eternal vengeance stood still over Sodom till Lot was gone out. The waves stood still, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea till the children of Israel passed over. The down-rushing waters of swollen Jordan stood still, as the feet of the priests touched their brim, and rose up as a wall till the chosen tribes had gained their inheritance. At the cry of Joshua, the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the Lord's hosts had avenged themselves upon their enemies. So we may look upon His call, and the gracious call of every sinner who becomes a saint, in its Divine origin, its gentle instruments, and its effectual aids.
I. "He called." Our vocation is of God. He hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. "He called." This word of Matthew contains, as in the seed, the expressions of Mark and Luke. All the agencies, by which the soul is persuaded and enabled to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel, are hidden in this, His loving call, as the leaves and flowers and golden fruit are all folded in the germ. Many providences, many scriptures, many ordinances, many movements of the Spirit may lay hold on a soul to draw it to Christ; but they are all so many threads which Christ holds in His own hand. They have all their power from His drawing. Then let us use this truth for holy fear. If you resist the appeals of God's ministers, you resist God. "He called." In Jesus Christ we behold the best of preachers — the Divine Exemplar after whom all should copy.
II. "He commanded him to be called." The Lord gave the word; great was the company of them that published it. Let him that heareth, say, Come! Then all the called may themselves become callers.
III. And now what a word of good cheer the third evangelist speaks — "He commanded him to be brought unto Him!" Admire the Lord's grace to the blind man. He will not leave him to grope his dark way alone. Some shall lead him by the hand. In whatever way, he shall have all the aid he needs to come into the Saviour's very presence. Blessed thought t that we who are but men may have some share in this dear work of guiding blind souls to Jesus. But here I rather choose to think of the higher than human aid, which Christ sends with His word to the souls of His chosen. The energy of Almighty power accompanies the preaching of the truth. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come!
(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.