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Bible Gem 1124 - Coming or Going? One or Two? (Luke 18:35-43)

July 10, 2019

As Jesus approached Jerichoa blind beggar was sitting beside the road.

When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.

They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by.

So he began shouting, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

"Be quiet! "the people in front yelled at him.But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

When Jesus heard him, He stopped and ordered that the man be brought to Him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him,

"What do you want Me to do for you?" "Lord," he said, "I want to see!"

And Jesus said, "All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you."

Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.(Luke 18:35-43) 



Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and His disciples left town, a large crowd followed Him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

"Be quiet!" many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said,"Tell him to come here. "So they called the blind man. "Cheer up," they said. "Come on, He's calling you!"

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

"What do you want Me to do for you?" Jesus asked. "My rabbi," the blind man said, "I want to see!"

And Jesus said to him, "Go, for your faith has healed you." Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:46-52)


As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.

Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

"Be quiet!" the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

When Jesus heard them, He stopped and called, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

"Lord" they said, "we want to see!"

Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed Him. (Matt 20:29-34)




Uniquely Matthew

Uniquely Mark

Uniquely Luke



Well, did you catch the first major differences? Like I named this Gem – Coming or Going? One or Two? 


Coming or Going?


Matthew and Mark record As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho . . . 

Luke records As Jesus approached Jericho . . . 

The basic story recorded by both Matthew and Mark is that this happened when Jesus and the disciples were leaving Jericho. But Luke places the encounter at the time Jesus and disciples were entering the town. How do we deal with this? How can the accounts be so different? How is it that Luke deviates from the account told by Mark and Matthew? How can all of this be reconciled? 


There have been a number of suggestions put forward.

  1. There were three different healings. One time when one man was healed and another time when two men were healed. One when Jesus entered Jericho and the other when Jesus left the town. 

  2. As Jesus entered Jericho, Bartimaeus asked for mercy. But it wasn't until Jesus left Jericho that Bartimaeus, now joined by a friend was healed.

  3. One blind man was healed as Jesus entered Jericho and another was healed when He left.

  4. One man was healed as He entered and another was healed as He left, but Matthew combines the two together.

  5. There were two Jerichos: Old Jericho and New Jericho. Mark refers to the old town on the hill whereas Luke refers to larger Herodian town built to the south of Old Jericho.

  6. Jesus passes Old Jericho, heals Bartimaeus, then Zacchaeus calls to Jesus on the way into the Herodian town to eat. Jesus then on leaving the town, encounters the two blind men by the road. 


One or Two?


Well, just how many blind men were there? There appears to be some confusion. 

The alternatives we have before us are:

  1. There was one blind man and his name was Bartimaeus.

  2. There were two blind men, one of whom was named Bartimaeus. 

  3. There were three blind men, one of whom was named Bartimaeus. 

Interesting isn't it, that it is Matthew again who refers to two men. Both Mark and Luke say there was one man. Matthew is the one who saw two. He did this once before in the case of demoniac. (Matt 8:28, Luke 8:27, Mark 5:2) Again it is Matthew who sees two demoniacs and Mark and Luke see only one. Ah, that is the solution, Matthew has double vision and needs glasses it seems. In Gem 886, I said the following in dealing with the issue of how many demoniacs there were:- 


Mark and Luke record one man coming to Jesus. Matthew says there were two. Should we make much of this or is it majoring on minors? The little difference between Gospel accounts are not a big issue. So Matthew says two; Mark and Luke pick out one. It doesn’t make one account right and the other wrong. It is coming from human eye witness perspective. A detective once told me in a God's Awesome Book seminar that when interviewing eye witnesses in terms of what they saw, the police actually look for those little differences between the stories to corroborate that it is true. One sees one person; another sees two. That's what we humans do. Ask any husband and wife when they compare accounts as to what they each saw happen. 


However, it is interesting to note that Matthew consistently sees two, while Mark and Luke consistently see one. Now, it would be interesting if the double vision was the same in the case of the angels at the tomb wouldn't it? But no, it doesn’t work in that case. Matthew (28:2) and Mark (16:5) record one angel, while Luke (24:4) is the one to see double this time. I will leave it to you to ponder on and I will move on. 


Take time now to take in the differences and similarities between the gospels from the coloured segments above. Especially if you haven't had the time to get out your crayons. There is a wealth of material there for us to take note of. Primarily, we are concerned for Luke's account. There are many uniquely Luke elements in this account which warrant our attention. 


See you back on the outskirts of Jericho tomorrow. But Ian, which Jericho? The one we were at today. Just return to the same place. Same time; same place. 



When there is a gap of 'assumption', always choose to assume the best instead of the worst. Gea Denanda


Do something now that will make the person you'll be tomorrow, proud to have been the person you are today!


You can't be afraid of Greatness because you don't want to offend the average. Rick Godwin


If you aren't big enough to stand criticism, you're too small to be praised. Earl Deason



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