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65 Luke 18.31-43

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Blind-Sighted

Luke 18:31-43

v    How’s your sight today?

Ø     Good?

 

Opening Illustration: Helen Keller

v    Helen Keller once responded to the question “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?” said…

Ø     “Better to be blind and see with your heart than to have two good eyes and see nothing”

v    Having sight is many times a hurdle when it comes to the spiritual

Ø     We say so often in our hearts…

§        “I won’t believe it until I see it”

·        But the Scriptures over and over again tell us

¨     Heb 11:1

Ø     Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see

§        The things of the kingdom are not anchored in the visual…

·        But in the invisible

¨     And that is what makes this story live

v    Here we are introduced to a man who is blind

Ø     A man who is considered an outcast in society

§        A man who cannot see the world around him in order to participate in it

v    But as we will find out…

Ø     He may be physically blind

§        But Spiritually he is blind-sighted

READ 18:35

v    This scene was not at all unusual

Ø     There was no welfare state set up to care for those of disability

§        Their care was given to the people individually through the Law of Moses

·        The people were to have compassion and mercy and care for the underprivileged

¨     The poor, the lame, the blind, the orphans, the widows

v    The Law of God, of course, is crippled by sin and not kept

Ø     So…

§        The only way to keep from starving to death was to beg

·        So that is exactly what this man is doing

¨     He got up in the morning

¨     Put his rags that he calls clothes on

¨     Felt his way to the entrance to the city

¨     And waited for the merchants to come in order to sell their wares

Ø     Fruit, bread, vegetables, grains

§        Hoping for a handout

§        Hoping for some pity

§        Hoping for some mercy

·        A melon, perhaps a fresh matzos or maybe a leafy vegetable or two

v    But while he is waiting for the next influx of merchants

Ø     He hears something different…

READ 18:36-37

v    The beggar has been at the gate of the city for many, many years

Ø     He has come to know the familiar sounds of the morning travelers

§        The Merchants

·        Camel hooves clopping on the hardened earth road

·        The men talking in almost inaudible whispers about their profits

·        Moneybags ringing with the sound of coinage

The sounds of…

§        Buyers

·        Men talking and laughing about last night’s drunken escapades

·        Discussing how much they need of this and that

·        And what the daily prices are for the various goods

The sounds of …

§        Women

·        Leaving the city for the nearest waterhole

·        Talking about the latest gossip

·        Empty jugs on their heads

¨     The blind man can almost set his watch by them

Ø     Soon they will return with the heavy footsteps

Ø     Spilling water spraying his feet

The sounds of …

§        The Clergy

·        The Pharisees and Levites that live outside Jericho

·        They come and stand by the gates of the city with the Elders

·        They talking about the Holy Scriptures by the hour

¨     The Torah, the writings and the prophets

Ø     The Blind man smiles as he hears them approach and take their familiar places at the gate

Ø     He thinks about how much he has learned just by just listening

v    But today he hears an unfamiliar sound

Ø     It is the sound of a large crowd of people

§        No animal hooves

§        No smell of sweet melons

§        No ring of gold and silver

·        Just a throng of unfamiliar people filling the road

¨     Shouting, calling, talking, laughing

Ø     An excited and happy crowd

v    The Beggar in intrigued

Ø     This is new and unexpected

§        He calls out to everyone…anyone…

·        “What is going on?”

¨     No one listens to the beggar

·        He yells out “Who are yout?”

¨     Nothing

·        He grabs at the feet of the passers by…

¨     “What is happening?”

Ø     Someone finally takes pity on the beggar and replies…

§        “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

Pause---------------------------------------pause

v    This name is not unknown to the beggar

Ø     He has heard it quite often in the past 3 years

§        The clergy and the elders at the gate have been talking about this Jesus

§        The “waterjug” women have mentioned his talking to a Samaritan woman

§        Travelers entering Jericho discuss his exploits

·        His incredible, authoritative, deep teachings

·        His charisma ~ Thousands following him

Ø     But the beggar has also heard of his miracle working…

§        Casting out demons

§        Clearing leprosy

§        Restoring withered limbs

§        Healing the lame

·        He even heard a rumor he raises the dead!

¨     So the beggar thinks…

Ø     Maybe he can help me!

Ø     So he yells out at the top of his lungs…

§        V. 38 ~ Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

·        But his outburst wasn’t appreciated…

READ V. 39

 

v    Those closest to him turned and told him to be quiet

Ø     Well actually the word for rebuke (in Greek) has a wide range of meaning

§        From ‘correcting’ all the way to ‘threatening’

·        I imagine the ladder sense was used here

¨     The people were threatening him to keep quiet

·        Perhaps it was because Jesus was teaching and they didn’t want him to interrupt

v    However…

Ø     It was probably for the simple reason that he was on one of the lowest rungs in society

§        And people don’t want to be bothered by those people

§        What they have to say is not important

·        More to the point…

¨     That they are not important

Ø     Same as today

§        So they told him in 20th century terms…

·        Shut up!

v    But he did not!

Ø     He called out all the more

§        “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

·        Again and again

·        Louder and louder

¨     Until…

Ø     Jesus heard a cry for help

READ v. 40-41

v    You see…

Ø     Jesus specializes in helping the outcasts, the downtrodden, the helpless

§        So the blind man stands before him groping for something to steady him

¨     Jesus reaches out his hand and says

Ø     “What do you want me to do for you?”

·        The blind man knows exactly what he wants

v    The blind man responds instantly

Ø     “I want to see”

§        Maybe he was like Helen Keller

·        He had sight for the early part of his life and he knew what he was missing

§        Maybe he was blind from birth

v    For whatever reason…

Ø     This man wanted his eyesight back!

§        And he was sick and tired of the life of a beggar

·        The life of an outcast

·        The life of a nobody

v    The crowd was silence as Jesus looked at the condition of the man

Ø     Unkempt hair

Ø     Dirty face

Ø     Dry, cracked lips

Ø     Graying threadbare rags that hung on his withered frame

Ø     Calloused knees from sitting on the ground day after day

Ø     Sandals that were barely held together with twine

§        Jesus’ face then melts and shows the compassion he has for his creation

·        And he says the last words this man will ever hear in his blind state

¨     V. 42

Ø     Receive your sight, your faith has healed you

v    Immediately the man begins to blink

Ø     His eyes water

§        He squints because of the flood of light entering his eyes

·        He can see! He can see!

¨     He begins to walk around, seeing where he is going for the first time

¨     He begins to jump up and down praising God

Ø     The crowd realize that they have witnessed a miracle and begin to shout and sing praising God

v    Jesus simply smiles and slowly begins making his way toward Jericho once again

v    Why are stories like this in the NT?

v    What are these stories meant to convey?

v    What can we learn from this story?

v    Why did the Holy Spirit inspire Luke to record this seemingly minor encounter?

Ø     I think for 3 reasons

§        And these are our applications for today…

First…

To show that the beggar was Blind-sighted about his Condition

v    This man knew he needed help

Ø     He was blind

Ø     And he knew he was blind

§        If he was indeed blind since birth, he had never seen…

·        Blue sky, green trees, etc, etc

Ø     He also knew that his blindness was…

§        The cause of his hunger

§        The cause of his social position

§        The cause of his humiliation

§        The cause of his need

§        The cause of his dire situation

·        He knew that his blindness was the problem

·        He realized that being blind was not good

·        He recognized that his blindness needed to be healed!

v    You know…

Ø     There is only one thing that is worse than blindness…

§        Not knowing you are blind!

v    And that is the situation for billions of people today

Ø     The world is spiritually blind to their dire condition

§        Jn 1:5

·        The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it

¨     Blind to their sinfulness

¨     Blind to their hopelessness

¨     Blind to their grim destiny

¨     Blind to their spiritual blindness

v    This story cries shows us that spiritual blindness is a deplorable condition!

Ø     But there is a remedy!

§        The light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…through us

·        The light that we give off is the cure for the world’s blindness

v    You see…

Ø     Spiritually blind people do not see any difference between darkness and light

§        Until light is present

·        And that is where you are I come in

¨     As Christians we are people of the light

Ø     READ Matt 5:14-16

 

v    We are to share the light of Jesus Christ

Ø     Through our words, our actions, our life

§        So that blind people say…

·        Here there is something different about you

¨     What is happening is…

Ø     Just like the blind beggar in our story

§        Their eyes are watering

§        They are blinking

§        They are squinting and saying…

·        I see light for the first time!

Ø     Application here is…

§        Don’t put your light under a bowl

The second application…

He was Blind-Sighted about Persistence

v    Look at verse 38-39

Ø     The beggar shouts over and over again

§        “Have mercy on me!”

Ø     The people try to shut him up

§        They rebuke and berate him

§        They perhaps kicked dirt on him as they passed by

·        But he recognized his deplorable condition…

¨     And he would not give up

Ø     The text tells us he ‘shouted all the more’

Ø     Illustration: Paparazzi

§        Reminds me of the paparazzi at Hollywood events

·        The star shows up and the different photographs trying to get the star to look their way yell again and again

¨     Over here! Over here!

¨     They do not give up

v    That is the urgency and persistence the beggar showed

Ø     He would do anything to make it to Jesus

§        This is contrasted with the R.Y.R. of last week

·        The R.Y.R. simply gave up

¨     One try

¨     One appearance before Jesus

¨     One challenge

Ø     And that man “turned and went away”

v    Illustration: Pilgrim’s Progress

Ø     The last sentence of John Bunyan’s classic is very interesting

§        Pilgrim “Christian” looks back from within the celestial city and Christian says…

·        Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gate of heaven…

¨     I said last week that the RYR words are some of the saddest in the Scripture

Ø     Because there is a road to hell, even from the gates of heaven

§        The RYR was at the very gates of heaven before Jesus

·        And he turned and started down the road that leads to hell

v    The Beggar was at the same spot the RYR was

Ø     But he pounded on the gates!

§        I think 2 Cor 6:2 is relating this same urgency and need for persistence

·        I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation

¨     When you are confronted with Jesus Christ…

¨     When you are at the gates of the celestial city…

¨     When you are given the chance…

Ø     Pound persistently on the gates of heaven!

The final application…

He was Blind-sighted about Jesus

v    Even though he was blind…

Ø     He has 20/20 vision as to who Jesus was

 

v    The beggar called out…“Son of David”

Ø     He is the only person in Luke to address Jesus in this way!

§        “Son of David” was a divine messianic title deeply rooted in the OT

·        The beggar was in fact calling Jesus the messiah, the living God!

v    You see…

Ø     He had listened for 3 long years as the clergy and the elders talked about Jesus

§        He had listened to them talk about the Law and the Prophets

·        He had pieced together who Jesus was…

Ø     He understood what the R.Y.R. could not…

§        That Jesus was God Incarnate

Ø     He has seen what the disciples did not

§        That Jesus was Isaiah’s lamb for the slaughter that has come to take away the sin of the world

Ø     He has pieced together what John the Baptist had not

§        That Jesus makes the lame walk, cures those with leprosy, gives the deaf their hearing, raises the dead AND

·        Gives sight to the blind!

¨     He is the long awaited savior of the world

v    So I return to the question I opened with…

Ø     How is your sight today?

§        Do you recognize your deplorable sin condition?

·        Or are you blind to it.

§        Are you pounding the gates of heaven itself today?

·        Saying over and over again, “Have mercy on me!”

§        Do you see who is standing before you today?

·        Because this text is saying…

¨     Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!


Notes:

v    Through this series of 3 pericopes, we see a Jesus hidden in plain sight

Ø     Through the story of the Rich Young Ruler we see that Jesus was not recognized as God Incarnate

§        Remember his “Poor view of Christ”

·        You call me Good

·        No one but God is Good

¨     Thus I am God

Ø     The R.Y.R. was blind to who Jesus was

§        Even though it was in plain sight

§        Application:

·        That is true of so many in the world today

¨     2 Cor 4:4

Ø     The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God

·        Jesus claimed it over and over

·        Jesus proved it through his historical death and resurrection

Ø     The disciples were blind in another way

§        They might have understood that Jesus is God incarnate

·        Peter’s declaration (Luke 9)

§        But they were obviously blind in another respect

·        They did not understand the suffering Messiah

¨     Jesus points to the proclamations of the prophets about him

Ø     Look at v. 32

§        A suffering Messiah

·        The disciples just did not get it

·        They did not understand

·        They were blind to it

§        Doesn’t mean much to us

·        But meant a lot to a 1st century Jew

¨     He was calling Jesus the Messiah!

Ø     Just like President George Bush would mean nothing to a 1st century Jew

§        What’s a “president?”

·        That title means nothing

¨     But to us it means a lot

Ø     The only time in Luke’s gospel that this title in employed by a person

·        We share the “light” of the Gospel with someone and we ask…

¨     Why don’t they understand?

Ø     Jesus said in John 14:6,

§        I am the way, the truth and the life…

·        Why don’t they see the truth?

Ø     Jesus said in John 8:12

§        I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life

·        Why don’t they see the light?

Ø     2 Cor 4:4

§        The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Ø     Heb 12:1

§        the sin that so easily entangles

Ø     The reason is…

§        To a blind person darkness and light are the same!

·        And it is the same spiritually

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