even Jesus had a bucket list

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The Bucket List is a 2007 American dramedy film directed by Rob Reiner, written by Justin Zackham, and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The main plot follows two terminally ill men (portrayed by Nicholson and Freeman) on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they "kick the bucket". Wikipedia

It is my hope that after you have read this post, you will find that even Jesus has a bucket list.

Please prayerfully consider the gospels of Luke 18:3119:10; Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10: 46-52 before continuing in this article.

While studying in the gospel of Luke, I ran across the events that took place in Jericho while Jesus was in route to Jerusalem to be offered a sacrifice for the sin of the world. It became apparent to me that even Jesus had a ‘bucket list’.

In the gospel of Luke [18:31], Jesus tells His disciples “behold we go up to Jerusalem and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the son of man shall be accomplished”.

This was not a new message. On more than one occasion, Jesus had made His disciples aware of the fact that He was born to die, and the purpose of His life was “not to be ministered to, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many”, but His disciples did not understand the things which were spoken. This was a hard saying so they could not understand it.

When one studies the life and ministry of Jesus, it would be so easy to only hear His teaching and see the results of His miracles. When we see the events that transpired in route to Jerusalem we realize that the steps of Jesus are not coincidental and haphazard. but rather methodical in His promise to “seek and save that which is lost”. The events of Jericho reveal a personal agenda that Jesus was fulfilling as He would never pass this way again. Hence Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus become items on Jesus’ bucket list.

Jesus’ encounter with three blind men while passing through Jericho in route to Jerusalem are recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke is the only gospel that mention His meeting with Zacchaeus. There are a few things to consider.

1. Matthew’s gospel mentions that there are two blind men sitting by the wayside as Jesus exits Jericho and that Jesus had compassion on both, and touched their eyes and immediately their eyes received sight.

2. Mark and Luke only mention one blind man and only one blind man healed.

3. The blind man in Mark’s gospel (like Matthew’s) states that the blind man is begging as Jesus exits Jericho while Luke’s gospel states the blind man is outside the city as they (Jesus and His disciples) drew nigh to Jericho.

Now there are skeptics out there that would attempt to discredit the validity of God’s word just because different details are presented in the different gospels. We could liken these same men those that have blinded eyes and harden hearts, so they cannot see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts and be converted. It is my hope that they will see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God,  as they consider the truths ever before them.

Now back to the subject… it is only in the gospel of Mark that the blind man outside of Jericho is ascribed with the title Bartimaeus (by interpretation is the son of Timaeus), No mention of, or who the second man was who sat begging with him and there is no name attached to the blind man who sat begging on the other side (entrance) of Jericho.

 

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Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus, by Johann Heinrich Stöver, 1861.
The only thing we know about all three men along the wayside, is that they were blind, poor and sat begging outside of Jericho. We learn from the gospel records that Jesus had compassion on all of them and all of them received their sight.

I wondered what if Jesus would have only healed Bartimaeus and not the other two blind men?

I also wondered why the Word of God would distinguish the person of Bartimaeus and not the other two blind men?

I think the answer is recorded in Mark’s account where we find the personal link to Bartimaeus. This gospel account says that Jesus made this statement to Bartimaeus… “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole”. There is no record in any of the other gospels that Jesus made a similar statement to the ‘other blind men’… names unknown.

One might contend that all three that were blind and begging  believed that Jesus was the Christ, after all  they ALL cried out “thou son of David, have mercy on us”, and that this testimony of faith was confirmed in the restoration of their sight.

Just because someone is the recipient of a miraculous work does not guarantee that the same believed that Jesus was who He said He was. Were there not ten lepers that were healed but ONLY ONE returned to give glory to God. All ten lepers said “Jesus, Master have mercy on us”, and He did. In the case of these lepers, all ten were the recipients of the miraculous work, but a mighty work of God is not contingent, nor does it always validate the belief of the individual’s heart.

It the case of the blind men, they all cried “thou Son of David, have mercy” but only the words  of Bartimaeus were confirmed with the content of his heart… that Jesus was who He said He was… Jesus the Messiah.

So what can we glean from this story? Jesus was not just looking for some blind men to heal, but that He was “seeking to save that which was lost”… He was looking for Batimaeus. He was not just walking along the highways of Jericho and said oh, here are some blind men, I think I will heal them. No, He was specifically looking for Bartimaeus. It was the same scenario with Zacchaeus.

 

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Zacchaeus
by Niels Larsen Stevns
The gospel of Luke is the only record of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus and takes place while Jesus and the disciples are passing through Jericho.

As we have already seen, He healed one blind man while drawing nigh unto Jericho and will heal two blind men, one being Bartimaeus, while exiting the city.

There is a similarity between Zacchaeus and Bartimaeus in that Zacchaeus could not see Jesus. It was not that Zacchaeus was blind he was short in stature and could not see for the throng of people that followed the Christ.

In order to overcome his physical limitations, he climbed a sycamore tree so he could see as The Christ passed through Jericho. Now there is nothing of value for an individual to see Jesus pass through the city while perched atop a tree. For many stood before the Christ and died not knowing any different. I am of the opinion that what gives power to this story, is not that Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus, but that Jesus was looking for him, because Zacchaeus was on His bucket list.

You’re probably saying, but it was Zacchaeus who ran ahead to climb a tree so that he could SEE Jesus as he passed by! But to remain true to His mission; “to seek and save the lost”, it was no coincidence my friend that Jesus looked up and SAW Zacchaeus and summoned him down that He might abide with him. 

In His final return to Jerusalem He opened the eyes of two men, Zacchaeus and Batimaeus. Bartimaeus had a physical and spiritual enlightening and  Zacchaeus the latter, but they both saw Him as “the Son of David”, and would never be the same again. When a man comes face to face with his sin he can but make one cry…

 “thou Son of David, have mercy on me!”

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying “if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified). Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying said, “of a truth this is the Prophet”.

Jesus Christ has the terminally ill (spiritually) at heart. He’s looking for them. The question is, has the terminally ill (one that is dead in  trespasses and sin) seen Him?

The bucket list of Christ is filled with water… life giving water… and if any man drink of this water, he shall never thirst again.

malachi

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