I tell you, He will promptly carry out justice on their behalf. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"
I. WHAT IS THE FORCE AND RANGE OF THIS EXPRESSION, "the coming of the Son of man." And it will be found on investigation that it signifies any special manifestation of God's power or any special appearance of Christ either in Person or in providence. This may be:
1. In mercy; including the Incarnation, when the Son of man came "not to destroy but to save" the world; the Resurrection, when he came in power and triumph from the other world; the Day of Pentecost, when he came in marvellous outpouring of Divine influence upon the world.
2. In judgment; including the destruction of Jerusalem; the day of death to each human being; the day of judgment itself, when "before him shall be gathered all nations."
II. WHAT IS THE APPLICATION OF IT IN THE TEXT. A widow appeals for redress against "her adversary" (the defendant) to an unprincipled judge. He puts her off until her importunity makes him listen and respond in order to save himself from annoyance. Arguing a fortiori, our Lord contends that God, the righteous Judge, will most certainly grant to his own people (children) the requests they make of him (see previous homily). But, continues the great Teacher, who had such a perfect insight into our nature, when he does that, and "comes" in judgment to his foes and in mercy to his friends, will he find his friends expecting him? will they be looking for his appearing? will their attitude be one of holy expectation, of instant recognition, and of devout thankfulness? or will they not, after all their asking, be positively surprised and even incredulous at his manifestation? He will come most assuredly, but when he comes, will he find faith on the earth?
III. WHAT ILLUSTRATIONS WE HAVE OF THE TRUTH OF IT.
1. We have two striking scriptural illustrations.
(1) Christ's own coming, after his resurrection, to his disciples. Instead of looking for him and welcoming him, according to his word (ver. 33), they were astounded and incredulous (Luke 24:11, 22, 23, 37). He did not "find faith" in them.
(2) His coming in providential deliverance to Peter. When the Church had been praying without ceasing for him, they should have been hoping for a Divine visitation in response to their prayer. Nevertheless, when it came, were they not found unbelieving and astonished (Acts 12:5, 15)? Are we much better than they?
2. Christ's coming in judgment. Such narrow and false interpretations as the Jews were apt to put upon sudden and sad calamities (Luke 13:1-4) we must scrupulously avoid. But when we see a man who has defied all laws, human and Divine, brought down into shame and ruin, or when we see a guilty empire which was founded on violence, sustained by force, and nourished in corruption, stricken down by defeat and reduced to dishonour and disaster, shall we be surprised as if a strange thing had happened? or shall we not rather feel that this is precisely what we had every reason to expect from the righteousness of the Divine Ruler?
3. Christ's coming in grace and mercy. When the Christian family, in answer to earnest and continued prayer, is just saved from serious embarrassment and perhaps from disgrace; when the Christian Church, after much pleading for God's Spirit, receives marked and manifest tokens of the presence and power of God in the midst of it; when the Christian teacher or preacher, as the issue of much devout and faithful work, finds many souls to be seeking the life which is of God; - is the attitude of that family, that Church, that teacher, one of calm expectation and devout acquiescence? or is it not rather one of surprise, if not even of incredulity? When we have been imploring the Son of man to come, and he comes at our appeal, does he find us awaiting and expecting him? Surely, with fuller and deeper faith on our part, there would be a more frequent coming on the part of our gracious Lord in life-giving power and blessing. - C.
A certain blind man sat by the wayside.
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE IMMEDIATE SEIZING OF OPPORTUNITIES.
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF PERTINACITY, IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE SOUL.
III. THE ROOT OF THIS PROMPTNESS OF ACTION — OF THIS UNDAUNTED PERTINACITY — WAS FAITH.
IV. THE RESTORED SIGHT IS USED IN FOLLOWING CHRIST, AND IN GLORIFYING GOD.
Clergyman's Magazine.I. HINDRANCES WHICH BESET US IN COMING TO CHRIST FOR MERCY.
1. Our own blindness.
2. Impediments that others cast in the way.
II. ACTIONS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR OUR COMING TO CHRIST.
1. Jesus stood still.
2. On Jesus showing Himself favourable, then at once did multitude.
3. In eagerness to go to Jesus, man left garment behind (Mark 10:50). Must cast off custom and habit of sin. Then, going to the Saviour will be easy, and prayer will be heard and answered.
III. BLESSING RECEIVED; EFFECT PRODUCED.
1. What the poor man willed, the Lord granted.
2. A new follower.Application:
1. Let no worldly hindrances debar from Christ.
2. Many encouragements to go. Go.
3. Having gone, truly, wholly — surely follow Him.
(Clergyman's Magazine.)I. Now, looking stedfastly that this may be the case, I wish to speak very pointedly to you about two or three things. First, when Jesus passed by the blind man it was to that man A DAY OF HOPE. It was an hour of hope to that blind man, and if Jesus passes by now this is an hour of hope to you. But, does He pass by? I answer — Yes. There are different respects in which this may be interpreted of our Lord's conduct. In a certain sense He has been passing by some of you ever since you began to discern right from wrong. More especially is is a time of Christ's passing by when the gospel is preached with power.
II. Secondly, as it was a time of hope to that poor blind man, so was it especially A TIME OF ACTIVITY. You that anxiously desire salvation, regard attentively these words. A man cannot be saved by what he does; salvation is in Christ, yet no man is saved except as he seeks earnestly after Christ.
1. This man listened attentively.
2. He inquired with eagerness what it meant.
3. When this man had asked the question, and had been told in reply that Jesus of Nazareth passed by, notice what he did next, he began to pray. His cry was a prayer, and his prayer was a cry.
4. After this man had thus pleaded, it is noteworthy that Jesus stood still and called him. That much-prized, though all patched and filthy garment, he threw right away; it might have made him a minute or two slower, so off he threw it, and away he flung it. Ah! and it is a great mercy when a poor soul feels that it can throw away anything and everything to get to Christ.
5. Once more. When this man had come to Jesus, and Jesus said to him, "What wilt thou that 1 should do unto thee?" the man returned a straightforward and intelligent answer, "Lord, that I might receive my sight."
6. Still, I cannot withhold one other remark. That which really brought salvation to this blind man was his faith, for Christ says, "Thy faith hath saved thee." Now, here is the greatest point of all — faith! Faith; for work without faith is of little worth. Faith is the great saving grace; it is the real life-germ.
III. It was also AN HOUR OF CRISIS.
IV. Lastly, remember that this hour of Jesus passing by is AN HOUR THAT WILL SOON BE GONE. Did you notice that word, "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by?"
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)
(W. M. Hay Aitken, M. A.)
(J. Leckie, D. D.)
1. BE PERSUADED THAT YOU ARE ALL SPIRITUALLY IN THE CONDITION OF BARTIMEUS — and that without Divine illumination, you are no more qualified for the concerns of the moral world than a blind man is for those of the natural world.
2. BE PERSUADED THAT, WITH REGARD TO THE REMOVAL OF THIS BLINDNESS, YOU ARE IN AS HOPEFUL A CONDITION AS THIS POOR MAN. In all these miracles our blessed Lord holds Himself forth as the all-sufficient helper of sinners.
3. BE PERSUADED TO IMITATE THE IMPORTUNITY OF THIS BLIND BEGGAR, IN CRYING FOR MERCY. And especially let your importunity, like this poor man's, appear with regard to two things. First, like him, seize the present moment. Let not the opportunity afforded you be lost by delay. Secondly, like him, be not silenced by discouragement and opposition.
4. If He has healed you! — if you can say, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." LIKE BARTIMEUS, BE CAREFUL TO FOLLOW THE SAVIOUR. This is the best way to evidence your cure. This is also the best way to improve your deliverance. Thus you will "show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." Follow Him, then, as an imitator of His example.
What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?Matthew 18:20). And He asks of each the question in the text. Three classes of replies.
1. The reply of some is, "Let us alone — leave us." Diogenes wished Alexander, as the greatest favour he could bestow, to "stand out of my sunshine." Christ stands between some men and what they imagine to be sunshine.(1) How ungrateful is such a reply. What pain and grief it must give Him who died to save us.(2) How mad it is. If we could succeed we should have destroyed our only hope — broken the only bridge by which we might return.
2. The reply of others is, "Lull our consciences to rest." They want ease, but not holiness, pardon without change of heart.(1) How vain is such a search. Christ's offers are always coupled with requirements ( Matthew 11:28-30; Matthew 5:8).(2) How utterly worthless it would be. It would be a sham, and we should know it and despise
3. The reply of others is, "Cleanse, purify, renew us." Like this man they ask for sight. Like the leper they ask to be made clean. They cry in their doubts and fears, "I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." And such never come in vain. Christ meets with them, and though they touch but the hem of His garment, grants, their requests (Luke 4:18).
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
(F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.).
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