Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jesus and the Needy

Jesus is passing by

Luke 18:35-43
Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.  So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Then those who went before warned him that he should 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 brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”(NKJV)

When Jesus was on the earth, He met with a number of  people and as many as came to Him with their needs met with relief. Today Jesus is still doing the same for as many as would come to Him in a hearty and honest prayer. Many people go about with loads of care and worry because they would not come to Jesus. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you; For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  James lamenting the weakness and powerlessness of Christians said in James 4:2-3: “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure.”(NLT)  Today, we want to see an example of one who was in need, he knew his need, (unfortunately, today many people do not know what they need), he surmounted obstacles to present his need before Christ the only One he knew would solve his problems, and he received the answer. Our aim being that you will learn from him and thus present your problems to God and receive answer as He has promised. Let us refer to the passage of our text.

Blind Bartimeaus was a beggar sitting at the road side begging for alms. What really was the need of the blind man? He was begging from all who passed by of alms – money to satisfy his temporary and immediate needs but down inside him, he knew he has a need which no other human being can satisfy. So he suppressed that need, waiting for when he can bring it to the only One who can solve it. Have you a need right inside you which you cannot share with anybody else?. He heard the crowd passing. He could have concerned himself with asking them for alms but he was not content with that, so curiosity carried him a step forward to ask “What is happening?” Like curiosity brought you to the Church to ask, “What are these people doing here?”We are wont to answer you like the crowd answered the blind man:
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by”
 Do you hear that right? “Yes, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by”. “Jesus” means “Saviour” – He will save His people from their sins. In other words they answered him “One who only can save His people from their sins is passing by” Just as we are here now, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Would you let Him pass by without giving Him all your needs? Let us see what this blind man did. 

In verse 38, the Bible says “He cried out, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”” If you are passing a bridge and suddenly fall into the river, you will not just shut your mouth and smile to people around. You surely will cry out for help. The beggar saw the need now to cry. He cried not for alms but for mercy. You too need to shout out for mercy. Who else can have real mercy on you more than He who loved you and gave His life for you? “Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David!” Can you cry today for mercy? Jesus is passing by. “He shall deliver the needy when he cries” (Psalm 72:12) 

In verse 39: What an irony of life. The same people who were following Jesus and seeking for mercy scolded the blind man and told him to keep quiet. Many obstacles can come on your way as you seek to meet Jesus for mercy. The obstacles can even be Christians who are already in Christ. That is why you must not let other people be your example. Christ alone should be your example. And to you fellow Christian, are you by your life shouting at others to keep quiet as they ask for God’s mercy? Are you blocking others from the view of Jesus Christ? In Luke 19:1-10 we read of the story of Zacchaeus wanting to see Jesus but the crowd would not let him. Even when he climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus and Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house, the same crowd murmured. Are you amongst the blocking or murmuring crowd? God help us to let our light shine that others will see the goodness of God and seek to come to Him for mercy!

To the determined blind Bartimeaus, the reaction of the crowd would not deter him for we read in verse 39: “But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” So, do not let obstacles deter you. Obstacles stop only those who are not determined to achieve their objective. If you really need mercy, go ahead today and ask for it, do not allow any opposition or obstacle to stop you.

What is the result of this faith and determination to bring his need to Jesus? God is willing and ready to listen to any who sincerely seek Him. In verse 40, we read “So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him”. Jesus is always ready to overrule the opposition of the crowd. We read that when children were brought to Him, the Apostles opposed it but He ordered that they be brought to Him. See Mark 10:13-16: “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”  Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”(NLT). So He is ordering that we also bring you to Him today. Are you willing to go? 

The Blind man was ready to go for we read that “When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” We have by this message brought you very near to Jesus and He is asking you now “What is your need? What do you want me to do for you?” What will you answer Him? Do you know really what your needs are? Would you ask Him for money, long life, good position, the life of your enemies? What is your true need? Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:33 what our real need is: “Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things” What does God require of you? -  That your eyes be opened to see that you are blind. That you are lost in sin, that your life is wasted without Christ; that whatever people give you as alms are but temporary relief but that you need to see Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The blind man said “Sir, I want to see again” You lost your sight when all men sinned and went astray. Would you want to see again? Jesus is passing by and He is willing to give you your sight if you ask Him. But before you ask for your sight, let us look at the answer Jesus gave to the blind Bartimeaus “then, see” Your faith has made you well”. Yes, Jesus is willing to give you back your sight but only on the condition that you have asked in faith. Are you asking in faith or are you just praying for mercy just simply because others are praying or because the preacher has asked you to pray and ask God for any mercy? In James 1:6-8 we read: “But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. A person like that unable to make up his mind and undecided in all he does must not think that he will receive anything from the Lord” So my brother whether or not you will receive your need depends on you. You have to ask in faith.

Jesus is ready to answer and when He answers the effect is immediate, and when that happens, even the crowd that earlier opposed you will praise God. So, now is the time to pray for God’s mercy. Let us pray, but remember to pray in faith. 

God bless you all.

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