These are notes on the sermon, The Beauty Of Our Servant King, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 24 November 2019, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince begins by doing a recap of last week’s sermon, Wisdom for Financial Success, where he preached on Zacchaeus the rich tax collector from the cursed city of Jericho in Luke 19.
In today’s sermon, we delve into the story of blind Bartimaeus, whom Jesus met just before He met Zacchaeus. Through this man’s story, we are going to see Jesus in His beauty and excellency.
One example is in Numbers 21:6–9, when the Israelites who were bitten by snakes in the wilderness looked at the bronze serpent—a visual representation of Jesus at the cross (see John 3:14)—and were all healed.
Every time we come to the house of God, we want to see Jesus.
The Bible says that when we look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (see Heb. 12:2), you will receive healing and rest.
On the other hand, when we look to man, we can be disappointed.
Man cannot make your miracle happen. Only Jesus can. One look at Jesus and depression flees. One look at Jesus and chains are broken.
Under law, man tried to live up to God’s standards and the best of us failed. That’s when God sent Jesus to bring us grace and truth.
The law condemns the best of us. Grace saves the worst of us.
Pastor Prince recaps last week’s sermon, where he compares the rich young ruler in Luke 18 with the rich tax collector in Luke 19.
The Gospel of Luke is not written in chronological order. The stories are arranged by divine inspiration. God designed these two stories to be placed back-to-back for a purpose—for us to see our Lord Jesus Christ in His beauty, glory, and excellence.
The rich young ruler in Luke 18:
This rich young ruler boasted in his own efforts. The young ruler said, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (see Mark 10:17).
Because this man boasted in his performance, the Lord gave him the Ten Commandments.
This passage is the only time in the gospels we find Jesus telling someone that the way to eternal life is, “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Jesus was calling out the one thing this man lacked because he boasted in the law.
Whenever you boast in your performance, the law will always point out the one thing you lack. The law was designed to show us our imperfections, our sins. It acts as a mirror that reflects our flaws in an unforgiving manner.
The rich young ruler realized he couldn’t give up even a dollar of what he had, and he walked away sorrowful.
The rich tax collector in Luke 19:
In this chapter, we’re introduced to a rich man who could not boast in the law because he was a great sinner. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who collected taxes from his own people for a foreign government (the Romans) and even cheated his own people of their money.
When Jesus came to Jericho, Zacchaeus’ hometown, Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus.
He had nothing to offer, nothing to boast in before God, and he caught Jesus’ attention just by looking unto Him. Jesus looked up at Zacchaeus, and called out, “Zacchaeus, come down!” (see Luke 19:5).
“Zacchaeus” — In Hebrew, the name “Zacchaeus” is pronounced as “za-khai,” which means “acquitted” or “not guilty.”
Jesus didn’t give him any of the Ten Commandments. He just gave him grace.
And Zacchaeus, being so impacted by grace, willingly said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Luke 19:8). He became generous.
When the rich young ruler was given the law, he couldn’t give up a dollar of what he had.
When the rich tax collector was given grace, he gave up half of what he had to the poor and restored everything he had stolen.
Something amazing happens when you see Jesus in His grace.
At the end of Luke 18, there is an account of a blind man who received healing when Jesus first entered Jericho (see Luke 18:43–19:2). It is also recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
There are four Gospels of the Bible—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—which were written to reveal different aspects of Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark represents Jesus as the Divine Servant.
When God ordained Mark to write his gospel, Mark was far from perfect. In fact, he was the servant who had failed to carry out his duties. However, the Lord deemed it fit for Mark, the servant who failed, to write about Jesus, the Divine Servant who never fails.
Even though God ordained men to write the Bible, every word they wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
— Mark 10:45 NKJV
“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” — When Jesus came, He did not come to be served by us, but rather, to serve us. Our Lord is rich and has everything we need, and His desire is for us to simply receive from Him.
In Exodus 21, right after the Ten Commandments were given in the previous chapter, God told Moses to write down the laws concerning Hebrew servants.
“Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.”
— Exodus 21:1–6 NKJV
“a Hebrew servant” — The servant in this law was a picture of Jesus Christ, who would assume the position of a servant to us.
“he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing … But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free’” — In this verse, we see how the servant could choose whether to stay or leave after the appointed time. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, He had a choice: to stay a servant and sacrifice Himself for us at the cross, or to return to His Father in Heaven. But He chose to stay, telling God, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Why? Because He loved His master (God), His wife and His children (us).
“his master shall pierce his ear with an awl” — This demonstrates that the servant is willing, and not obliged, to continue being a servant.
“he shall serve him forever” — This is a picture of Jesus loving and serving God and the church forever.
Psalm 40 is a Messianic psalm that depicts Jesus as this servant in Exodus 21.
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.”
— Psalm 40:6–7 NKJV
“My ears You have opened” — The word “opened” has the same meaning as the word “pierced.” So this verse actually says, “My ears you have pierced,” signifying Jesus’ choice to be a servant.
Pastor Prince shares how God gave us children so that they would help develop our character. Through the challenges of raising a child, parents experience for themselves what it’s like to have self-sacrificial love, what it’s like to serve their child without asking anything in return, which gives them a glimpse of how much God loves them.
The story of Martha and Mary
When Jesus visited the home of two sisters, Martha and Mary, they received Him differently. Martha saw Jesus’ physical tiredness after a long journey and was concerned about serving Him well. Mary saw past Jesus’ physical form and saw His inexhaustible divine power and supply, and sat at His feet to listen to His words.
Jesus appreciated what Mary did, calling it the “one thing needful” (Luke 10:42 KJV).
Jesus loves it when we take from Him. He loves to serve us in our areas of need.
Another instance where Jesus was refreshed by serving others is found in the story of the woman of the well (see John 4).
“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”
— Psalm 116:12–13 NKJV
This Psalm shows us that we thank God by taking more from Him. God feels more appreciated when we take more from Him than when we give back to Him.
The story of Blind Bartimaeus
The story of Blind Bartimaeus takes place in Jericho, city of the curse.
Jericho was known as the city of the curse since the time that Joshua cursed it in the Old Testament.
Joshua was the commander of the army of Israel, and he led the Israelites in conquering the city of Jericho because God had promised them the land. They walked around the city for 7 days, shouted in unison on the 7th day, and the walls of the city crumbled.
“Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.’”
— Joshua 6:26 NKJV
“Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho” — When Joshua cursed Jericho, it was to warn people that no one should ever raise the city of Jericho again or they would die.
In 1 Kings, a man rebuilt Jericho:
“In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.”
— 1 Kings 16:34 NKJV
So Jericho was rebuilt and was known as the city of the curse. But Jesus came to this cursed city of Jericho to save everyone who would look unto Him—like Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and Zacchaeus, the rich tax collector.
This is a picture of how Jesus came to our world to save us all.
Jesus meets Bartimaeus
“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’”
— Mark 10:46–48 NKJV
“Bartimaeus” — The partial word “bar” in Bartimaeus’ name means “son of” in Hebrew, which tells us that Bartimaeus was a man who had no name of his own. He was simply “son of Timaeus.”
“the son of Timaeus” — The name “Timaeus” is the anglicized form of the Hebrew word “timae.” The word “timae” means “unclean.” When people called out to Bartimaeus, they were calling him “son of the unclean one.”
“sat by the road begging” — Begging is a picture of lack and sickness, which our world is full of today.
“Jesus of Nazareth” — Back then, the city of Nazareth was a city of ill repute. When people called Jesus “Jesus of Nazareth,” they were saying it in a derogatory manner. But Jesus being from Nazareth reveals God’s great grace. God specifically chose His Son to grow up there as a picture of His superabounding grace toward His people.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” — Bartimaeus was the first person in the Gospel of Mark to address Jesus as “Son of David.” Even though he was blind, he saw more accurately than everyone else who was calling Jesus “Jesus of Nazareth,” a derogatory term.
Bartimaeus saw Jesus for who He was—“Son of David”—which shows that he recognized Jesus as King because Jesus came from the lineage of King David.
Bartimaeus called out for grace, unmerited favor, to be shown to Him.
Your background or circumstances don’t determine how your life will turn out.
Pastor Prince highlights 2 parallels between Bartimaeus’ story and Joshua’s story.
1. When Joshua and the Israelite army shouted in unison at the city of Jericho, the walls came crumbling down. When Bartimaeus cried out for Jesus in Jericho, the walls of his blindness came crumbling down.
2. In one of Joshua’s boldest declarations, he commanded the sun to stand still during the battle in the Valley of Aijalon, not far from Jericho.
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’
So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”
— Joshua 10:12–14 NKJV
“Sun, stand still” — Joshua commanded the sun to stand still so that he and his army would have more time to fight against the Amorites and win before the sun went down.
“So the sun stood still” — The Lord made the sun stand still, and Joshua won the battle against the Amorites.
What about Bartimaeus?
“Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.’”
— Mark 10:48–49 NKJV
“Jesus stood still” — The One who made the sun stand still for Joshua, the commander of Israel’s army, stood still at the shout of a blind beggar with no name.
"So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road."
— Mark 10:49–52 NKJV
“throwing aside his garment” — When Bartimaeus threw aside his garment, he was saying, “Once I go to Jesus, I won’t be the same.” Back then, a beggar’s garment was his insurance because it was given to him to recognize him as a legal beggar and not a conman. Bartimaeus knew he wouldn’t be a beggar anymore.
“Rabboni” — Bartimaeus called Jesus “Rabboni,” which is the highest form of respect, meaning “chief,” “master,” or “Lord.”
“What do you want Me to do for you?” — Even though Jesus is a King, the first thing He said to Bartimaeus was to ask him how He could serve him. Usually, when you come to a king, you come to serve him. But Jesus, our Servant King, asked Bartimaeus what he wanted Him to do for him—a picture of being a servant to the blind beggar.
“Go your way” — When Jesus healed him, He never obliged Bartimaeus to follow Him. Bartimaeus did so by choice.
Pastor Prince closes the service by praying for people with these health conditions:
Today, whatever healing you need, the same Jesus that healed Bartimaeus wants to serve you and heal you of every lack and infirmity in your life!
“Father in Heaven, I thank you that You are the God who commissioned Your angels to keep charge over Your people. In Jesus’ name, I pray for those who are traveling, for those who are going places. Lord, even for those who are here, in all their daily travels. Lord, I pray You commission Your angels to keep charge over them, to deliver them from all evil. Protect Your people, Lord, this week, from every harm, danger, accident, terror, and tragedy. Also protect them, Lord, from every infection and every disease. Father in Heaven, I pray that You will go in front of them, and make all the crooked places straight.
Thank You, Father, for the gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift, Lord, that we can ever have. Give us Your spirit of wisdom and revelation, that this coming week we see more and more of our Lord Jesus.
In Jesus’ name, and all the people say, Amen.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2019
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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