Posts Tagged ‘keeping your focus on Jesus’

Luke 18:35-43— Careful what you ask for, the old saying goes, you just might get it. We often think we want something but when we find out what it takes to get it, we give up on it. I think this concept plays into what we learn from today’s passage.

There are several things that jump out at you in this passage. First, it takes a blind man to see the Messiah. Second, he would not be turned away very easily because he repeated his request. Third, why does Jesus ask the question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Isn’t it obvious?

The first thing that strikes me here is that this blind hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. He immediately begins shouting (not speaking but shouting), “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon me!” It is so interesting that immediately upon hearing the name of Jesus, he recognizes that he is the Messiah. He calls Him Son of David. Son of David was a reference to the fact that the predicted Messiah in the Old Testament was to come from the lineage of David. Son of David then became an equivalent term for the Messiah. A blind man could see the Messiah but many of the religious leaders of the day could not see this fact even though they had sight. As a beggar, the normal operation was to beg passersby for money. But this blind beggar did not ask Jesus for money. He asks him for mercy. That means that he recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Have mercy on me. Show concern for me. Grant me relief. The beggar must of heard of Jesus’ ministry for him to ask Jesus for mercy. Mercy would be to lift him out of the state of life in which the beggar finds himself. He had heard of the wonderful miracles of Jesus. He was willing to throw himself at Jesus feet and ask for mercy. The lowly and humble seem to be able to see the Messiah more easily than the proud and self-sufficient. It was the pride of the religious elite that prevented them from seeing Jesus as the Son of David and throwing themselves at His feet and ask for mercy. Are you to proud to see the Messiah? Do you have a sense of self-sufficiency that prevents you from humbling yourself before the Lord? This beggar was able and willing to cast aside any pride and throw himself at the feet of Jesus. When we find ourselves mired in the sins of our lives, will we finally cry out to Jesus for mercy? How deep does your pit have to go before you cry out to Him?

The second thing that you will notice here is that after the recognition and pursuit of the Messiah, the beggar is told to keep quiet. He told basically not to continue trying to reach the Messiah. He is, thank goodness, persistent in the effort to reach the Messiah. He not only shouted once. He kept on shouting. He was told to keep quiet. Isn’t this also like the situation we find ourselves in when we first seek out Jesus. We see the mess of our lives and we begin to seek out for something more than the mess that we are in. We begin to seek out this Jesus thing. Many though will see our sin, our history of bad behavior, our history of not being good enough, our history of turning our nose up at God in our blindness, and will tell us to keep away from the Messiah. We don’t deserve the opportunity to address him. Either our old playground’s playmates will try to draw us back into our old lifestyle or the new playground’s playmates that we are trying to enter will appear to or may actually reject us trying to enter their playground. Beggars want us to stay with them begging. At the same time, many will not believe that we are serious about seeking the Messiah. You know that old beggar. He will be back to his old ways in no time. Let’s not accept him because we can’t waste our time on fakers. He just had a spiritual warm-fuzzy experience. He was not truly saved. Just watch. Help us Lord to leave our old life behind and be persistent in our pursuit of our new life. We must continue shouting His name. We must continue pursuing Him. We must focus on Him. Just as Peter could walk on water when he was focusing on Jesus ahead of him and fell into the water when he looked away. We must always keep our pursuit of Jesus as the forefront in our mind and soul. We cannot let detractors bring doubt into our mind. When we worry about what others think and say, it takes our focus off Jesus. Let us keep on invoking the name of the Messiah. Let us shout His name constantly. Never let anything deter you from pursuing the Son of David.

The final thing that is striking here is that Jesus asks the beggar a seemingly silly question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Duh, Jesus! The man is blind. What do you think He wants? Why does Jesus ask this question? Jesus is the Son of God so He already knows what the man wants. He sees his heart. I think Jesus asks the question for the benefit of the blind beggar. It will help him articulate what he really wants from Jesus. Sometimes, we cry out to Jesus but we really don’t want to change our situation. Some of us have become so comfortable in the culture of dependence that we have created that to change it would be too radical. Think of someone you know that seems to use their disabilities as a way to keep people doing things for them. They manipulate people through pity by using their disabilities to get what they want. We all know the type. Some of us too are comfortable in our sins. We pay lip service to wanting to change but we are rather comfortable with our favorite sins. We want to follow Jesus but it would mean to us that we would have to give up playgrounds and playmates that we don’t want to give up. Just as in the previous passage about the rich young man where the young man did not really want to fully sell out for Jesus because he was addicted to his wealth more than He wanted to follow Jesus. Sometimes, we cry out to Jesus but are not willing to let go of that which has become our custom, our god, our crutch, our schtick, our thing that identifies us, the thing in which we find our identity. To accept a new identity in Christ might me too much for us. We want to follow Jesus but…Here, Jesus wanted the beggar to vocalize his faith. The beggar wanted to see. There is more than sight here. He wants to change is his life. He truly wants to follow Jesus. His faith changes him. Jesus grants his request. The beggar then immediately becomes part of the family of Jesus and follows him. Leaving his old life behind immediately. In contrast to the rich young man, he accepts what Jesus offers and does not look back. He follows Jesus immediately. His faith is evident in the following immediately. He praises God for what has been done for him. No looking back. Only praising. Are you willing to give up your old life and follow Jesus? Are you the rich young ruler who can’t or are you the blind beggar who can?

Father, oh Father, give me the faith of the blind man to pursue you with all my heart. Father, help me to see that I must always keep my focus on you no matter what Satan tries to say to me directly or through other people. Help me to lay down all my pet sins and follow you with all my heart each and every day. Amen.