Hurlbut's Story of the Bible  by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

Jesus at Jericho

Matthew xx: 20 to 34; Mark x: 35 to 52; Luke xviii: 35, to xix: 28.

dropcap image ESUS was passing through the land of Perea on his way to Jerusalem. His disciples were with him, and a great multitude of people, for again the feast of the Passover was near, and the people from all parts of the land were going up to Jerusalem to take part in the feast; and although Jesus had said, over and over again, that he was to die in Jerusalem, still many believed that in Jerusalem he would make himself king and would reign over all the land.

On one day James and John, two of the disciples of Jesus, who were brothers, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with their mother. She knelt before Jesus, and her two sons knelt beside her. Jesus said to her, "What is it that you would ask of me?"

She said to him, "Lord, grant to me that my two sons may be allowed to sit beside thy throne, one on the right hand, the other on thy left, in thy kingdom."

"You do not know what you are asking," answered Jesus. "Are you able to drink of the cup that I am about to drink?"

By "the cup" he meant the suffering that he was soon to endure; but this they did not understand; and they said to him, "We are able."

He said to them, "My cup indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to those for whom God has made it ready."

When the other disciples heard that James and John had tried to get the promise of the highest places in the Lord's kingdom, they were very angry against these two brothers. But Jesus called them to him, and he said, "You know that the rulers of nations lord it over them; and their great ones are those who bear rule. But not so shall it be among you. For whoever among you would be great, let him serve the rest. For the Son of man himself did not come to be served, but to serve others; and to give up his life that he might save many." Jesus with his disciples and a great multitude drew nigh to Jericho, which was at the foot of the mountains, near the head of the Dead Sea. Just outside the city, at the gate, was sitting a blind man begging. His name was Bartimeus, which means "the son of Timeus." This man heard the noise of a crowd, and he asked what it meant. They said to him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." As soon as he heard this he began to cry out aloud, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!"


Blind Bartimeus

Many people told him not to make so great a noise, but he cried all the louder, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!"

Jesus heard his cry, and stood still, and said, "Call the man to me!"

Then they came to the blind man and said, "Be of good cheer; rise up; he calls you!"

The blind man sprung up from the ground and threw away his garment, and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, "What do you wish me to do to you?"

"Lord, that I might have my sight given to me," answered blind Bartimeus.

Then Jesus touched his eyes, and said, "Go your way; your faith has made you well."

Then immediately sight came to his eyes, and he followed Jesus, while all the people who saw it gave thanks to God.

There was another man in Jericho who had heard of Jesus, and greatly longed to see him. This was a man named Zaccheus. He was a chief man among the publicans, the men who gathered the taxes from the people, and whom all the people hated greatly. Zaccheus was a rich man, for many of the publicans made great gains. Wishing to see Jesus, and being little in size, Zaccheus ran on before the crowd, and climbed up a sycamore-tree by the road, so that he might see Jesus as he passed by.

When Jesus came to the tree he stopped, and looked up, and called Zaccheus by name, saying, "Zaccheus, make haste and come down, for to-day I must stop in your house."

At this Zaccheus was glad. He came down at once, and took Jesus into his house. But at this many people found fault. They said, "He has gone in to lodge with a man who is a sinner!"

Because he was a publican, they counted him as a sinner. But Zaccheus stood before the Lord, and said, "Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongly taken anything from any man, I give him four times as much."

And Jesus said, "To-day salvation has come to this house; for this man also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost."

Jesus was now drawing nigh to Jerusalem, and all the people were expecting the kingdom of God to begin at once, with Jesus as its King. On this account, Jesus gave to the people "The Parable of the Pounds," saying, "A certain nobleman went to a far country, expecting there to be made a king, and thence to return to his own land. Before going away he called ten servants of his, and gave to each one a pound of money, and said to them, 'Take care of this and trade with it until I come back.'

"But the people of his own land hated this nobleman, and sent messengers to the place where he had gone, to say, 'We are not willing that this man should be king over us.'

"But in the face of this message from the people, the nobleman received the crown and the kingdom, and then went back to his own land. When he had come home, he called his servants to whom he had given the pounds, so that he might know how much each had gained by trading. The first servant came before him, and said, 'Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.'

"The king said to him, 'Well done, my good servant; because you have been found faithful in a very little, you shall bear rule over ten cities.'

"And the second came, saying, 'Your pound, lord, has made five pounds.' And his lord said to him, 'You shall be over five cities.'

"And another came, saying, 'Lord, here is your pound, which I have kept wrapped up in a napkin; for I feared you, because you are a harsh master; you take up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow.' He said to the servant, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you unfaithful servant. If you knew that I was a harsh master, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow, then why did you not put my money into the bank, so that when I came I should have had my own money and its gains?' And he said to those who were standing by, 'Take away from him the pound, and give it to him that has the ten pounds.'

"They said to him, 'Lord, he hath ten pounds already!'

"But the king said, 'Unto every one who cares for what he has, more shall be given; but the one who cares not for it, what he has shall be taken away from him.'

"And the king added, 'Those, my enemies, who would not have me to reign over them; bring them here, and slay them before me.' "

And after giving this parable Jesus went before his disciples up the mountains toward Jerusalem.


Jesus on the Mount of Olives looking at Jerusalem