2015-6-07 The Hidden Truth

LUKE 18:31-43                                                                                          JUNE 7, 2015


The internet has made vast amounts of information accessible to most anyone who cares to seek out answers. The trick is in knowing how to phrase the question. Yet, I have found that even though I have all of this information available I still can find it difficult to discern what is true and what is false. The truth may be staring me in the face, but I am unable to recognize it!

This phenomenon occurred frequently while Jesus was conducting his ministry during his time here on earth. Luke again emphasized the mission of Jesus as the promised Messiah who came as a suffering servant of God. Luke 18:31-33 (NIV) 31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again.”

Jesus informed his disciples what was going to happen before it occurred, as they went to Jerusalem. The Jewish people had so many false impressions about the coming of the Messiah. Jesus had been teaching them and revealing himself as the Son of God and the promised Messiah as he fulfilled the promises in the Scripture.

We see some of these prophecies in Psalm 22:7-8 (NIV), 7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” And in Isaiah 53:3-5 (NIV), 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Only later would the disciples realize that Jesus had exactly foretold what would happen, all in accordance with the prophecies about the Messiah.

Luke 18:34 (NIV) 34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.” There are times when I feel the same way as someone tries to explain philosophy and physics. I hear the words but they hold little meaning for me. Even though we have the scriptures many believers still do not understand fully what it means to follow Christ.

One of the areas I see where Christians are confused is in how we view death. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21-24 (NIV) 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” I observe so many believers who are clinging to this earthly life, even though we know that our lives are in the hands of God and our time here on earth is limited.

In this section in Luke there have been few miracles recorded, as Luke has focused on the teaching of Jesus and the preparing of his disciples for their future ministry.  Luke 18:35-37 (NIV) 35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” It was a common sight for the blind to sit along the roadside begging for alms so they could eat. He heard the noises and asked who was coming. Note the crowd simply said that Jesus, from the town of Nazareth, was coming. They did not say that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

It is evident that the blind man had heard about the miracles of Jesus. Luke 18:38-39 (NIV) 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The blind man used a Messianic title for Jesus, when he called him the “Son of David”. Even back then people tended to ignore the blind as well as the poor. Little has changed as most of society overlooks the homeless. Many will give a few coins to the needy, just as they did in the time of Jesus. To the crowds of people he was just a poor blind beggar- one to be ignored. So it is no surprise they told him to shut up!

The blind man saw more clearly than those with their sight. The man knew Jesus to be the promised Messiah and he was not going to let the opportunity pass him by. He knew what he believed and he acted upon it. He continued to shout for Jesus.  Jesus responded!

Luke 18:40-41 (NIV) 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Notice that Jesus “ordered” the man to be brought to him. In the ESV, “And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him.” Jesus was not going to be controlled by the crowd as here was one who had the wisdom to clearly recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is concerned with those on the margins of society. God looks at the heart, not the outer covering. We need to do the same!

Luke 18:41-43 (NIV) 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”The man believed in Jesus and trusted in him to take care of his needs. Jesus acknowledged the man’s faith. The word used for healing means a complete healing, meaning his salvation. We know the man believed as Luke records that he immediately followed Jesus, praising God.

The formerly blind man did not rush home to tell his family and neighbors but he became a follower of Jesus, a new disciple. We saw earlier the reaction of the rich ruler, who society thought was a great success story, yet he went home disappointed because he was not willing to give up what he considered more important, his wealth. The one person the crowd told to shut up, was the one whom Jesus healed, both his spirit and body.

The world refuses to see the truth of Jesus Christ and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. There are also people who attend churches that remain blind to the truth of Jesus. Is Jesus the King of your life? Are we really willing to obey his commands, even when it becomes inconvenient? John 15:9-11, 14 (NIV) 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.” We must follow Christ, even when it is inconvenient.

O Lord, open our eyes to see what obedience means as we seek to follow you. We thank you for your grace and mercy. Fill us with your Spirit that we will be courageous enough to be your obedient servants.

Let us pray.

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