Johnny Hickley - Serima Zimbabwe Convention - 2006

Hymn 86

Mark 10, we read here about the blind man.  We are very glad for the gospel message, it is the most important message that we can hear in this life.  We know a magnet, we can hold a magnet near a stone and it doesn’t do anything, put it near to the wood and it doesn’t do anything, and you can put it near many things and it does not do anything.  When we bring it near the steel, it makes contact, it draws.  We are glad for this gospel for often when people listen to this gospel there are different hearts.  Sometimes there is a heart like a stone, this gospel, this magnet cannot draw that heart, different kind of hearts that listen to the word of God.  We can be very glad when there is a need and desire in our hearts for the help of God, because this gospel draws that heart. 

This was not the first time that the Lord visited Jericho, just a visit.  The Lord did not come to stay there.  When we listen to this gospel, the Lord, the God of Heaven visits us.  To think that the Lord wants to visit us.  What did David say?  When he thought of the greatness of God, "What is man, that you come and visit him?"  You know when the Lord comes to visit, He wants to stay with us, and we have the choice. 

Remember in Joshua, we think of the two messengers that came to Jericho.  They came to the house of Rahab.  They did not know Rahab.  They didn’t know her life, but the Lord sent them there.  Sometimes we look at people on the outside, and we say, "Oh no, there is nothing there."  The Lord looks at the heart.  When Rahab saw those two messengers, she said, "Come inside."  When Jesus sent His disciples out two by two, he said, "They that receive you, they receive Me.  They that receive Me, receive the Father who sent Me."  Rahab said to them, "We have heard many things about you people.  We heard about your God, how He brought you out of Egypt, how He gave you victory over the enemy, and all the miracles your God did."  I am sure that Rahab, many a day as she heard these things, she would have thought, "I want a God like that in my life.  Where can I find Him?  How can He come to me?"  The Lord heard the prayer of her heart, nothing impossible for the Lord to do.  Rahab was in Jericho.  Round about Jericho was a big wall.  How could anybody break through there?  When there is a person who has a need in their heart, there is no wall that can stop the Lord from working.  We have examples where this gospel has found people behind a wall of sin.  It seemed impossible for them to be saved, but the Lord worked.  Here Jesus visited Jericho.  There were many people in Jericho.  Who did he find there?  He found Zacchaeus.  There was something different about Zacchaeus.  He had a need in his heart.  He wanted the Lord’s help in his life, and this is what drew the Lord’s presence to him. 

Now, as Jesus was going out of Jericho, we read of this blind man Bartimaeus.  You know when God looks down on the earth today, He sees two kinds of people.  He sees those people who can see, and those who are blind.  There are many people, there are rich people, there are poor people, there are strong people, there are weak people, different kinds of people but the Lord sees two kinds:  those who can see and those who can’t see.  This blind man, there were other blind men I am sure, but this blind man was different.  He knew he was blind, and he knew, "I have no rest in my soul.  I want to see."  When a blind man walks there on the road, he doesn’t call out and say, "I am blind."  He goes quietly along.  Everybody can see there goes a blind man.  Maybe he walks with a white stick, but perhaps he has someone who leads him.  Everybody can see it is a blind man, the way he walks, the way he talks.  You can see he is a blind man.  You know the way people walk and the way people talk today, the Lord can see that is a blind person, not speaking about these eyes, but the eyes of our heart, to be able to see with the eyes of our heart.  Sometimes a person says there are many ways that go to heaven.  Those are words of a blind person before God.  They say, "We all read the same bible.  We all pray to the same God.  We are all going to heaven."  Those are words of a blind man.  Sometimes a person speaks the truth from the bible, speaks about Jesus.  It is true, you can read it, true what he says, but you know the life doesn’t go with the words, he is a blind man.  Sometimes a person says, "I want to do my own thing.  Go my own way."  That is a blind person, and we think of this blind man.  He was a beggar, he was begging every day.  Some places where we go, we find a lot of beggars.  Many times, you try to avoid them.  If they come this side of the road, you go that side of the road.  You feel sorry for them.  Sometimes you see a beggar standing beside the road.  Someone comes past and they beg for something.  That person just looks the other way, doesn’t look at the beggar.  The beggar doesn’t mind, he waits for the next person.  When the next person comes and this beggar begs for something, sometimes that person can say hard words to that beggar, words that can hurt him, "Why don’t you go and work?  Why stand here and beg?"  No, the beggar just waits till he gets help.  We don’t like beggars like that.  We want to avoid them but you know what?  Before God, if we come like a beggar, this is what the Lord is waiting for.  He will never avoid us.  If we come and plead for help, He is very ready to help us.  This is how this blind man felt in his heart when Jesus came past, "Now I must call out for help."  You know what he was calling for?  He was calling for mercy.  He realised his own condition, "I can’t see, I can’t help."  There were other voices that tried to quieten him, but his need was too great, was greater than the other voices.  He just kept on asking. 

The Lord called him and you know what the blind man did?  He cast his garment away.  We think of a garment, sometimes it is just like an outward covering.  Jesus said to the Pharisee who were worried about the outside, "What about the heart?"  Between the outside of the dish which is so clean, and the inside is dirty.  It is possible to have a garment of self righteousness.  The way I do things, it is right in my eyes but it is not according to the righteousness of God.  We can do many good things, but our righteousness is just like dirty rags.  The garment the Lord wants to give us comes from the heart.  We think of our Lord Jesus full of grace and truth.  He is the righteousness of God.  Jesus asked this man, "What do you want me to do for you?"  The Lord can do anything for us.  This man just said, "That I may see."  That is an honest heart.  An honest heart will always feel, "I cannot see, I do not know what is the right way."  What is right and what is wrong in the sight of God?  He said, "Open my eyes."  This was a wonderful thing that happened to this man.  In the beginning, there were so may people who could see.  This man was blind.  In the end, this man could see.  All the other people were blind.  They could not see that Jesus was the way to heaven.  This man, the eyes of his heart were opened.  He could see this is his way, this is his ministry, this is his doctrine because of a revelation that came to him and he began to follow Him in the way. 

Jesus said to His disciples, "Blessed are your eyes for they see."  He was not speaking about these eyes, speaking of the eyes of the heart.  What is more wonderful, these eyes:  they get weaker as we get older, but the eyes of our heart get clearer and clearer.  We are so glad for these things, glad for this gospel.  It is the same that Jesus brought, comes with the same spirit, comes with the same power, it does the same work today.  There were only two people in Jericho that the Lord could help.  What about all the other people?  It depends on the need in our hearts.  It is a great blessing to have a desire in our heart for the help of God.