Luke 18:35-43 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus heals the Blind Beggar

Luke 18:35-43

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus heals the Blind Beggar

All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke chapter 18. Of course, if you need a Bible, please let us know and we can help get one of your own for you to be able to read for yourself.

We are continuing our journey through Luke’s Gospel, as Jesus and his disciples are continuing their journey towards Jerusalem. Jesus purpose in getting to Jerusalem is to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and to rise form the grave to defeat death and in both these things, ensure that we see that he is truly human and that he is truly God.

On his way to Jerusalem, he has been preaching truth and performing miracles. He has been showing all those who were around that he had the God given authority and the God granted power to do all those things. And all of those things as well, are to show that he is who he said he was, God incarnate.

And so, as they are traveling to Jerusalem, we pick up Luke’s Gospel in Chapter 18, verses 35 through 43. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to grab your Bible, in your preferred translation and follow along as we read through the Word of God.

Luke 18: 35-43, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reads:

 

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

          So, again, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and they come upon Jericho. As they do, there is a blind man begging on the side of the road. The way that the Bible records these things is that there tended to be a number of beggars, the blind, the lame, the sick, the elderly, whomever couldn’t provide for themselves, and they would crowd the sides of the roads at the entrances and the exits to the villages and especially the cities.

They would gather where people would be, and they would beg and ask for alms, money, food and whatever passersby would be willing to give. They had no way to provide for them selves and there was no safety net for them. They were literally at the mercy of those who passing by.

This beggar, who is named Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46, he heard the crowd passing by. He knew there were more people there than normal. There was something happening that he couldn’t tell.

So, he asks the crowd around him, “Hey, what’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” Those that were with him that could see, those who were lame, or sick, they answered. They told him “Jesus of Nazareth is coming.”

And one of the amazing things that we sort of talk a lot about, but I don’t think we really understand the magnitude of, this blind man knew exactly who they were talking about.

I read this week that the travelling distance between Nazareth, where Jesus grew up and started his ministry and Jerusalem, where he would end his earthly ministry and his life. Now, he walked a whole lot more than that of course, but there was a large amount of space that Jesus covered in his ministry and did all these things with no newspapers, no radio, no internet, no Fox News or CNN. And this blind guy, on the edge of Jericho new exactly who Jesus of Nazareth was.

And so, this guy who was blind, seems to have been waiting for this day to happen, waiting for his chance and he is not going to let it pass. He cries out for Jesus, “Jesus! Son of David!”

Now this is not an ordinary title for Jesus. This was a very specifically messianic title. This was just a title of identification. It was not just a title of respect. This was not just a title of authority. This was again, a messianic title.

And so, he cries out, Son of David, Have mercy on me!

 

BArtimeous knew who Jesus was. Like really knew who he was. And he trusted Jesus, trusted that he could heave mercy on him. AS I said, it does seem as though Bartimaeus was prepared and maybe even waiting for this very opportunity.

The people around him, his fellow beggars, they told him to sit down and be quiet. They didn’t want to hear him yelling for Jesus. This is just conjecture, but I suspect the beggars knew Jesus didn’t have any money, and so couldn’t give them any, so Jesus wasn’t worth begging from.

But Bartimaeus wouldn’t have it. The more they told him to be quiet, the more he cried out. Again, Son of David! Have mercy on me!

They would not silence him. He had faith in Jesus, and they were not going to keep him from expressing it, from crying out to Jesus in his time of need.

Its interesting that this is contrasted with the rich young ruler we looked at recently. In his case, his riches prevented him from seeing who Jesus really was, from doing what he needed to do and from recognizing that he needed Jesus to save him. Bartimaeus on the other hand, had his blindness and poverty emphasize his needs, making them clearer to him and helped him to recognize that Jesus was the only one who could help him.

Now, Jesus, being Jesus, heard him crying out above the din of the rest of the crowds. He heard him despite the people around him trying to quiet him. And Jesus, of course, had Bartimaeus brought to him.

And Jesus questions him. You ask for mercy What is it that you really want from me? You succeeded, you got my attention, now what? What exactly are you asking for? You call me the Son of David? TO what end? For what purpose? Do you know what that actually means?

Now, of course Jesus already knows the answers to these questions. But he is challenging him. Just like the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good, and you don’t believe I’m God…”

Why do you call me Son of David? Do you actually believe that?

 

BArtimeous responds. What do I want? LORD allow me to see. Give me my sight!

Wednesday morning, during prayer meeting, we were talking. And it was pointed out that Jesus just talked to his disciples, and we saw the spiritual blindness that was at work there and now here, we are dealing with Jesus addressing physical blindness.

While our spiritual blindness is lifted when God opens our eyes to who he is, to who Jesus truly is, we still have a way to go in terms of having our eyes fully opened. The Apostles were still partially blind because they could not see what Jesus was saying. They could not understand what he was supposed to do. There is a progress to our spiritual sight being restored. And it is a conscious choice on our part if make progress in that or not.

Bartimaeus was self-aware enough to know that he needed Jesus’ help. And he was going to leave it all on the table in crying out to Jesus. Lord, let me recover my sight!

Good News for Bartimaeus, Jesus healed him both physically and spiritually. Bartimaeus recovered his sight. He was blind but now he could see. A bona fide medical miracle. As I read a multitude of commentaries this week on this passage, each one of them had a different story of a blind person recovering their sight. And I appreciate what they are doing with those stories, showing that God still works miracles today, even through medical means, and to show the responses and the reaction from these people to the ability to see for the first time. But I don’t think any of these stories really gives the weight or the spectacle of what happened to Bartimaeus here.

Jesus was passing by. Bartimaeus cried out to him. Jesus healed him, gave him his sight! Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer who wrote, among hundreds and hundreds of others, Blessed Assurance, was also blind. She praised God for her blindness, famously saying, If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind. Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.

And that awe and wonder of seeing Jesus’ face to face is something that we all, all of us as believers in Christ get to look forward to. Clarence Macartney wrote:

And for you and me too, that will be the greatest of all sights. When we awake from the dream men call life, when we put off the image of the earth and break the bonds of time and mortality, when the scales of time and sense have fallen from our eyes and the garment of corruption has been off and when this mortality has put on immortality and this corruption has put on incorruption and we awaken in the everlasting morning, that will be the sight that will stir us and hold us.

We all get to look forward to that glorious day. As I believe each and every one of us have seen, as believers get closer to death, that upcoming meeting face to face with Jesus is what sustains them and allows them to end the race well, to have a great testimony. It is what allows those great saints who are dying to suffer well and be ready to go home to be with and to be with our glorious savior. Because they are going to see Him, they are able to say goodbye this world.

After he restores his sight, Jesus then he tells him something even greater than that. He says, your faith has made you well. Jesus didn’t just heal him physically, but this man was also brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. He was saved from the wrath of God brought on by the sins he committed. He was forgiven. And Bartimaeus glorified God and seemingly became a dedicated disciple.

And as they saw this, all the people there praised God. That’s something to remember and to look at. Jesus was popular with the people of the day. We are going to see in a few weeks his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. They cried out to him, Hosanna! Hosanna! Jesus was very popular with the people. And Jesus is very popular with people today. The Jesus of their own making anyway. Not the Jesus of the Bible.

The people today, and in that time of course, in every time since then, they love a specific Jesus. They love the Jesus who heals and loves and encourages and lifts up, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who asks nothing of us, which is false.

They love the Jesus who stands up for the oppressed and the poor, those who can’t stand up for themselves, those who are downtrodden and heavy laden, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who doesn’t define or confront sin, which is false.

That Jesus who is our friend, who is our spiritual guru, who is a great moral teacher, who accepts everyone as is, who is one of many different paths to God. That Jesus is popular with the people. That Jesus also doesn’t exist.

Make no mistake, Jesus does those things mentioned earlier. He is our friend. He does accept anyone as they currently are. But he does not accept people to stay as they are. He does not dismiss sin and refuse to define or confront sin. He does not sweep sin under the rug. Jesus thought sin was a big enough deal that he willingly and voluntarily took our place and died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who would believe.

That Jesus is, shall we say, a little less popular.

I’m going to end with a couple of applications for this passage, as listed out by Kent Hughes. First, we need to see and recognize our need. Of course, the most important is that we have a need for Jesus Christ as our savior, but also, our need to see our blind spots, our sins, our apathy and so much more.

Second, we need to recognize Jesus as the one who care take care of our needs. Our salvation, our sanctification, even our repentance and our faith are all given to us by Jesus.

Third, we need to ask or cry out, Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me! James makes it clear in his letter that we don’t have because we don’t ask. That’s not a blank check for whatever we want, but it’s a call to cry out to Jesus and ask for what he has already promised.

And what he has promised is salvation. Eternal life. Forgiveness of sins. Life abundant. If we cry out and ask for it. If we respond to him in faith, by his grace this will be granted to us.

One of the things that Jesus calls us to and he himself modeled to us is, after we are saved, we get baptized. This is not an act that save us but shows those around us that we identify with and follow Jesus. The dunking under water symbolizing death. Jesus died and went into the ground. We die to our sins and go under the water. Jesus rose from the grave, as we celebrated last week. And we come out of the water symbolizing the new creations that we are in Christ.

Today, we get to celebrate a baptism as Randy has expressed his desire to be baptized. Turns out, I found out yesterday that today is National Day of Baptism. So, there are many, many churches celebrating the same thing today that we are doing. It also means that many, many churches are praying for all those being baptized today, which means that they are praying for us and for you Randy as well.

I’m going to close us in prayer and as Dave leads us in our closing song, Randy and I will change and be ready for us to do this.

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 18: 31-34 Easter 2022 Jesus Died and Rose Again

Luke 18: 31-34

Easter 2022

Jesus Died and Rose Again

          All right! Please turn with me in your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 18.

IT is very interesting indeed, if you pay attention, to see how the Holy Spirit directs and guides things. For those that may not know, our philosophy here is that we preach through entire books of the Bible. We pick a book, we start at chapter 1, verse 1, and we go through and look at every verse in the book, preaching line by line, keeping the verses in context, looking at the big picture, seeing the intended and purposefully included themes, patterns, lessons and so on that God included in the natural story of the Bible. This is called expository preaching.

Now, there are legitimate times and places to stray from that formula, where you have a point, or an event, or a lesson that you want to preach, and you find the text in the Bible that teaches that, and you preach on that specific passage. That’s called Topical preaching. As I said, there are times where topical sermons are right and appropriate. Christmas and Easter are the two most obvious and easy to see examples.

But sometimes the Holy Spirit lines things up just right. He will at times eliminate the need to pause our series. He makes it so that we naturally come to a text where Jesus once again tells the Apostles about his upcoming death as we come up on Easter Sunday.

Now, a real quick catch up on where we are and have been in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has been teaching the masses, the Pharisees and the disciples, especially the 12 Apostles. And especially over the last few chapters, he has been teaching them that their expectations and their assumptions are going to be completely flipped on their heads.

He essentially tells them, you might know that justice and righteousness are good, but you do not know what true justice, and real righteousness are. You might know that the kingdom of God is coming, but you have no idea how its coming or when or what it will look like.

Last week we saw the rich young ruler, and we saw that you might know that you need to inherit the kingdom, but you still think you need to earn that inheritance.

And as we come up on the words of Jesus this week, we are reminded what Jesus is telling Israel often, that they might know that the Messiah is coming, but your expectations and assumptions of him, what he will be, what he will do, and what he will accomplish are all dead wrong.

And so, with that, lets go ahead and read this morning’s text. We are looking at Luke chapter 18, verses 31 through 34. I will be reading, as I always do, out of the English Standard Version. I encourage, as always, to follow along in the version you prefer, as we will all be reading along with the Word of God himself.

Luke 18:31-34, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

 

May God Bless the Reading of Gods Holy Word.

 

What’s going in this passage is both simple and complex. Jesus takes the twelve aside, the 12 disciples that were the most committed and the closest to Jesus. These are the twelve who would become known as the Apostles and who would go on to build the early church after Christs ascension.

He takes them aside and reminds them that they are headed to Jerusalem. This journey to Jerusalem actually started back in Luke 9:51. And he tells them this again, because we see at the end of the passage, that the disciples are not immune to making their own assumptions and holding on to them as if they are absolute facts.

Jesus tells them that everything that was written about the Son of Man, everything that was written about the coming Messiah, all of the prophecies and the foreshadowing and the allusions that were written by the scribes and prophets, all of it will be fulfilled and accomplished.

IT started back in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve sinned, and God spoke to them, telling them the consequences of their sins. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to tell them that he is going to send someone who will crush Satan and redeem his people.

There were all sorts of prophecies throughout the scriptures pointing to who the coming Messiah would be and how He would come. Micah says that he would be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah says that he would born of a virgin. And so many more. He would go to Egypt. He would be raised in Nazareth. He would be of the line of Judah. He would be a king as a descendant of David. So on and so forth.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem in order to prove that he was who he said he was. In verses 32 & 33, he says that he will be mocked, we will see in Matthew 27. He will be shamed and spit on, Mark 14 & 15. He will be flogged and beaten before being literally, physically killed. And he wasn’t dead like his heart stopped and was legally dead for a period of time and then brought back. He wasn’t in a coma or knocked out. He was dead. His body ceased to live.

Once he died, they buried him in a rich man’s tomb. On the third day he rose from the dead, was physically, literally brought back to life by God. All these things were prophesied. All these things were written about hundreds or thousands of years before they happened. And Jesus said they were on their way to Jerusalem to fulfill them.

On the surface, that sounds pretty clear, right? Not a lot of room for nuance and confusion. And yet, the scriptures say that the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Now, I think they had to understand the actual meaning of the words coming out of his mouth.  But it had it be in that kind of, “Jesus, I hear that you are saying your going to die, but…”

It’s like when Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ and Jesus told them then that he was going to die. Peter said he would not let that happen, and Jesus called him Satan for trying to get in the way of his and God the Fathers plans.

The problem was that the disciples never really believed some very important facts about the Messiah, about Jesus himself. The promised Messiah, who was to defeat and crush Satan, He was to die? How could that be the Messiah? How could that be Gods Plan? What would that accomplish?

 

But he did have to. It was a part of Gods plan from the beginning. God, The Father, the Son, The Holy Spirit, all knew before the creation of time, before they created the world, before mans creation that the only way to redeem mankind, to save Gods people was for the Son to die.

And it was written by the prophets. On the Road to Emmaus, on Luke 24, Jesus talked to a few disciples and starting with Moses and the prophets, told them how all that was written was about him and that he had fulfilled every detail with meticulous fullness, as RC Sproul says.

And, of course, the why matters. This is not just some guy who was brought back to life. That, in and of itself, would be amazing. But if that’s all this was, why worship Jesus instead of Lazarus, as we saw in John 11? Why not both?

And one of the most powerful, poignant and clear prophecies about the coming messiah was one that most in that day didn’t even think applied to the coming messiah, but they thought was about the nation of Israel.

Mike read the first part of Isaiah 53 earlier and I want to read the whole chapter now:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[
b] by men,
a man of sorrows[
c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[
f]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[
g]
when his soul makes[
h] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[
j]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[
k]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

 

So why did Jesus die and rise from the dead?

God created the world perfect, he created it at peace, in harmony. The Hebrew word is Shalom. But it didn’t last that way. Less than two chapters later, in Genesis 3, the enemy, the serpent, Satan, tricked Adam and Eve by twisting Gods word. They sinned. They had been walking, living, working in perfect relationship with God up until that point. Up until that point, it was exactly the way God wanted it.

Now, after sin entered the world, our relationship with God was fractured. God is a holy, perfect God. God could not be in relationship with sin. God cannot look at sin. When sin entered the human race, God could not be in the same relationship with us any longer unless something changed. They were no longer able to live forever, but now that sin had come in and corrupted our bodies, they, WE, would die. The first part of Romans 6:23 sums it up the easiest and most succinctly, “The wages of sin is death.”          

          God required that blood be shed in order for forgiveness of sins. So, starting with the Passover, and the blood of the lamb over the doorways of the Israelites, then when he gave the law to Moses in the desert as the Israelites were going to the promised land, God instituted a sacrificial system. This meant that the Jews could make an animal blood sacrifice to temporarily cover up their sins in the eyes of God. They needed to come back time and time again to make these sacrifices, to continually cover up their sin in Gods eyes.

God knew that this was temporary and after Adam and Eve sinned, he promised a permanent solution in the future. What could be a permanent fix for sin that also allows God to stay Holy, just and merciful? For the permanent erasure of our sins, it would require a perfect man, one who had no sin of his own. He would need to be willing to shed his blood to cover up all of our sins.

But none of us is perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God, as Romans 3:23 says. None of our “goodness” is enough to counteract the sin in our lives. Martin Luther said, “The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man is that somehow he can make himself good enough to deserve to live forever with an all-holy God.”

We cannot reestablish our relationship with God on our own, by ourselves, because of anything about us. That’s the Bad News. God gave us Good News. We wouldn’t have to. He would send one who would take care of it for us. Talk to any practicing Jewish person and they will tell you that the entirety of their scriptures is God promising to send them a Messiah, one who would free them, rule over them and allow them to be back in right relationship with the one true God. The full text of Romans 6:23 reads:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And so, Jesus lived a perfect life, and died for our sins. He paid the price we owed, that we couldn’t pay. He paid our debt so that we could be forgiven, covered in his blood.

And then God rose Him from the dead, defeating death. He proved he was God, showed that we will also be resurrected at the end when the Kingdom of God is manifested.

THE single most important day in the history of the world. The most important event in the history of the world. This is the day that is the culmination of all of the Old Testament writings, the birth of this man named Jesus, the Holy Week, the death of this man named Jesus. It all culminated on one Sunday morning almost 2000 years ago.

How important is that? I say this with all sincerity, and without hyperbole. If Jesus literally, historically, factually died on the cross and three days later rose from the grave, it is the most important thing that has ever happened on Earth.

It proves the Bible as true and trustworthy. And this is exactly what the Bible claims to be true.  It proves Jesus and the things he said as true and trustworthy. And it proves that the resurrection was the most important event in history.

 

Finally, I ask, why was all this hidden from the disciples? Why did they not grasp what was being said by Jesus here?

The disciples had certain expectations. All of Israel had very specific expectations regarding the coming Messiah. One of the hardest things in human nature is to change one’s mind. It is incredibly difficult to admit, especially to ourselves that there is a chance that we could be wrong. Our natural tendency is to reject anything that goes against what we already believe. Our natural tendency is to accept anything and everything that agrees with what we already believe.

The disciples are no different. We are no different than the disciples.

Today you have the Word of God in your hands. You have what Jesus plainly said. He is calling you to a response. He is calling you to understand. He is calling you to trust him above yourself.

Are you going to cling to your preconceived notions about God, about Heaven, about sin, about salvation and about Jesus?

Or are you going to trust God, trust his Word, trust the Bible? Are we going to trust that we are sinners in need of a savior? That Jesus came to save sinners?

 

Are we going to trust that Jesus came and offers the only way to salvation and to forgiveness by His grace alone, a gift that no one deserves, but is only given by his good will, his mercy?

And he delivers it by faith alone? We must believe, we must trust, we must depend wholly and completely on

Jesus Christ alone? He is the only one who could perfectly and completely fulfill the law and the prophecies. He had perfect righteousness, was the perfect sacrifice. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is the only way to God the Father.

Do we trust that this is all told by the scriptures alone? God revealed all these things so that we would believe. He also says that faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of Christ. We must hear or read the Gospel in order to believe.

And do we trust, do we believe that all of this, all that we talked about this morning, all that is written in the Bible is all for the Glory of God alone? He is the only one worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy of worship. He alone is worthy; He is the Creator of all things. He is perfectly good, perfectly holy, perfectly perfect.  He alone is worthy for all things to his glory.

Are we going to listen and believe ourselves, sinners and fallen people? Or the God who created us, the Son who died for us, who redeemed us, the Holy Spirit who transformed us and inspired the very Words of the Bible?

Today is a day of great celebration. Today is a day that changed the course of history and saved the eternal lives of, probably billions of people, of all who would believe. Shout out, celebrate, sing praises and trust and believe in him more than ourselves.

He is Risen!

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:15-30 Jesus is the Son of Man Questions about Eternal Life

Luke 18:15-30

Jesus is the Son of Man

Questions about Eternal Life

All right! Let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18. IF you need a Bible, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service and we will make sure to get on into your hands.

Now, as we have been going through the Gospel of Luke, I hope you have noticed that Jesus doesn’t waste time. He doesn’t waste energy. He doesn’t waste focus. He does what needs to be done, he spends time where it is important, and he teaches what is important.

And so, Jesus has spent his time teaching the important things to those who needed to hear it. He was telling them what they needed to hear and to learn. He was teaching them about the Kingdom of God. He was teaching them about righteousness, about justice. He was teaching them about humility. And he was teaching them trust wholly and completely in God’s grace and mercy for the forgiveness of sins.

And one of the reasons that Jesus spends so much time focusing on these things is not that the people at the time had no idea or concept of these things, but instead that these things and the way the would manifest and come about would be in direct opposition of the assumptions the conventions and the expectations that the people had about these things.

So, Jesus was stirring up controversy. And people are drawn to controversy. And so, they came to hear what Jesus was teaching. And they brought their assumptions and their biases with them. Many also brought their kids with them and many brought genuine questions with them for this great teacher to answer.

And that’s where we will pick up this morning as we look at Luke chapter 18, verses 15 through 30. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read straight from the Word of God.

So, Luke 18:15-30, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit,

 

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, as Jesus became more famous, many were bringing their babies and children to Him. Many recognized that Jesus was a holy man, that he was on Gods side, so to speak. They recognized that he was more than just a guy. They wanted Him to bless the kids and babies.

This was not a one-time event. This was a frequent event that happen often. Now, the common convention of the day was that children were a burden and a waste of time and resources until they became old enough to contribute to the family.

They were to be not seen and even more rarely heard. This was another example of people, in this case, children, needing to earn love and respect and to earn your keep, even within families.

Jesus showed that this should not be the case. Children, even as young as babies, even when they can’t contribute anything tangible to the family are blessings just in themselves.

But this was not how people thought at the time. Even the disciples thought that these kids coming up and taking up Jesus’ time were a waste of time for him. They might not have thought about it in those terms, but at minimum, they were thinking and probably saying to Jesus, “C’mon, Jesus, you’ve got more important things to do with your time than play with these kids.”

Jesus rebukes them, tells them how wrong they were. He says, let them come to me. He says that to such as these belongs the kingdom of God. Now, he is not saying that every child is automatically in the kingdom of God, that’s not the point he is making. Instead, he is saying that those who approach Jesus with faith and trust and dependance like this child will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

You must receive the kingdom like a child would. Not stay a child, not a childish faith, but a childlike faith. This is the faith and trust that kids have in their parents. When parents tell their kids things, the kids believe it. Kids trust in their parents, the have faith in their parents. That their parents will make them better, that they will protect them, that they are the biggest and the strongest and all of that. That’s how we are to approach Jesus.

And kids can’t earn it. They can’t do anything to contribute. We can’t earn God’s love. We can’t earn his salvation. The kids can’t contribute to their family in a tangible way. We can’t contribute anything to God’s kingdom in any tangible way. Those with simple faith in Christ and those who depend completely and solely on Christ the way that children depend completely and solely on their parents, only those will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Those whose faith is partial and who try to earn to love and respect of God will not enter the kingdom.

After this, we see that a man comes up to Jesus. A man whom the Bible describes as a rich, young ruler. This was a seemingly good man. He was absolutely a good moral outward man. He was focused on the right things. He was asking good questions.

He was wondering about the life after this one. He knew there was more to it than just simple obedience. For him, the treasures of this world did not satisfy as he expected them to.

He has heard about Jesus of Nazareth, this amazing teacher, full of wisdom, dispensing miracles, healings and answers. And so, he approaches him with deference and respect, calls him Good Teacher and Asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

For me, the two most telling words in that question are I and inherit. Those two words tell us what the young man believed. From that, we see two things that the young man thought he knew.

First, the kingdom of God, eternal life is inherited, not merited. And he was right about this. And second, that there was something that he had to do in order to inherit eternal life. On that note he was wrong.

Now, from the outside, you might see these as two contradictory views and beliefs, and you would be right. But you must remember and hopefully recognize that often in our lives there is a disconnect between a correct biblical, intellectual theology and a poor, practical, real-life theology.

We saw this from the Pharisee last week, as he prayed, “Thank you, God, that I am so good.” That intellectual affirmation that God is the reason and the cause of all good things, yet he practically takes the credit for his goodness.

There is a different attitude between the Pharisee and the rich young, and that is important. However, it’s the same disconnect between head knowledge and practical living.

 

So, this man asks Jesus this question and Jesus will respond to him, but not at all the way he expects. He starts by challenging and dismantling his mindset. If you are going to use words, make sure you use them correctly.

The rich young man did not see Jesus as God, as the Messiah. He saw Jesus as a good, wise man. Jesus says, why do you call me good? Only God is good. In this, Jesus is denying that He himself is God. Instead, he is telling the rich young man that he needs to recognize that yes, he is indeed a good teacher, but it doesn’t end there. He can not be only a good teacher. But if he is a good teacher and the only one who is good is God, then first, recognize Jesus as God. Make sure that you are giving God the credit that he is due.

Now that that is out of the way, Jesus tells him, you know all the laws, you know the moral commands that God has given down. You know what you are supposed to do and what you are supposed to obey.

The man says, yup. Been there, done that. Ever since I was a kid, I obeyed God, I did all that I was supposed to. He says all his life he has kept the commands. He has followed the law. He has done good. He has earned the rewards he has been given. He is thinking, basically saying, what am I missing? There has to be something more.

Jesus doesn’t even address that point. We all know that this young man didn’t keep the law as well as he thought he did. And even if he did, Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that it is not just our outward moral behavior. But if we lust in our hearts or we murder someone in our hearts, then it’s the same as acting on it.

Jesus doesn’t deal with that issue, not because its not true. But because tis not relevant to his point here. Nothing everything that is true, not everything that can be said, always needs to be said.

Instead, Jesus tells him, you have all those things, you have all those rewards. But no matter how good you have been, or how many laws you kept, there is still one thing you lack. You still don’t have the kingdom of God. You still don’t have eternal life. You still don’t have salvation.

Jesus tells him specifically, not all Christians, but this man specifically, sell all you have and give it to the poor and come follow me. Now, is Jesus saying, DO this and live? No, of course not. He was not giving the guy extra rules to follow in order to get into heaven. What he was doing was showing the rich young ruler where his sin was. He was showing him what commands he was breaking. He was showing him what repentance looks like.

The rich man saw what Jesus was saying. He knew what Jesus was pointing out. And he walked away sad. He did so because he was unwilling to give up his riches, his wealth, his comfort and his living. He was holding his wealth with a closed hand, not willing to let go.

He was idolizing his wealth. He was keeping the outer, physical, moral commands, but he was breaking the first commandment, to have no other Gods before the one true God. He was also breaking the greatest command, to love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. He walked away because he put his wealth above God. He walked away because he was unwilling to pay the price of discipleship. He was unwilling to repent and to open his hand and let go of his idolatry.

Jesus watched him walk away, and sadly spoke about how hard it was for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. And he said something that people have been trying to rightly interpret ever since. He says, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And we have created all sorts of ways to read this statement, all sorts of ways to have it make sense. And I’m sure some of them will be brought up on Wednesday morning. But I think that Jesus point is that there is no way for this to make sense. There is no physical possible way for a camel, one of the largest animals the people would have been aware of, could go through the eye of a needle, so thin and tiny and small. I think Jesus was using hyperbole, intentional exaggeration in order to make a point, that this was a physical impossibility.

For many, maybe most, people who has wealth and riches, and today in America, compared to the majority of the world’s population, we are all the rich and the wealthy. But for most, the money and wealth give stability. It gives comfort. It gives assurance. It makes us think we are self-sufficient. We rely on it and ourselves. And it makes us not rely on or depend on anyone else for anything. Including God. And that means no kingdom…

 

On the heels of this, we get another great question in verse 26. Who then can be saved? In those days, wealth was consciously considered to mean that you had found favor with God, that he was blessing you because you had done good. Its still the same today only it’s much more subconscious. And so, if even the rich young man couldn’t get into the kingdom, what hope is there for the rest of us?

And that question is the whole need and reason for and the whole point of the Gospel. Jesus says it right there in response to the question.

What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Who can be saved? No one by themselves. No one can do good. No one can earn merit. No one can keep enough of the law. Using the normal measures that man tries to use, no one can be saved.

But God can save. And only God can save.

 

Once again, Jesus is showing that expectations will be different from what will actually happen and take place. Here is what you expect to happen. Heres what will actually happen.

Now, of course, the disciples were a little nervous. They wanted a little reassurance. Jesus! We did what you told us too! Again, Jesus’ point was not to tell every believer that they had to sell all their possession and give them away, but instead that we all need to be willing to if called to do so. We need to be willing to hold all things with an open hand. We need to be willing to give up anything for the sake of God. We are to make sure that nothing is getting in the way of our walk with God.

We are to be willing to leave all and give up all in order to pay the price of discipleship. And Jesus also reassures. He says that all who give up what they are called to give up here in this life will be rewarded. What you give up for God, for Jesus, for the Kingdom, will be repaid many times over in eternity.

Ultimately, we need to remember that just because we know the truth, just because we can speak the truth, doesn’t mean that we will automatically act on the truth. The rich young man here was told the truth and he knew it, yet he walked away sad because he would not act the truth.

And it was because he was holding on to his wealth as an idol, as something he would not let go of, even if God asked. And so, holding on to his wealth in this world, cost him even more wealth and immeasurable riches in the life to come.

Introspection and a dedicated, purposeful desire to do the will of God and to sacrifice for Him are what God asks for. What are those things we are holding onto? What are those things we don’t want to give up? What are those things that, despite knowing and speaking the truth, we don’t really believe or act on? That’s what we need to be looking at.

Let’s pray.

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:9-14 Jesus is the Son of Man The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

All right, let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18.

So, this section of Luke, the last few chapters, has been a long section of teaching by Jesus. There has been some travelling involved and a few miracles sprinkled in, but Jesus has mainly been talking and revealing truth to all those who would listen.

He has been addressing and teaching the Pharisees. He has been addressing and teaching the disciples. And he has been addressing and teaching all of those who were around and could hear him, those who were curious and interested.

And Jesus has been teaching about some very specific things. However, He has especially been teaching that the things that we all know to be true and that we all expect to happen and so on, they are all going to take place in ways that we don’t expect.

2 weeks ago, we looked at the Kingdom of God and Jesus showed that it will not manifest itself when or how we expect it to. Last week we saw Justice. It won’t come easily or naturally here in this world. But it will come eternally, granted by God. We also are reminded that not all who grant some justice in this world are actually on Gods side in eternity.

This week we see the parable of the Pharisee & the Tax Collector, where Jesus flips on its side our expectations and assumptions of righteousness, self-righteousness and salvation.

So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 18, verse 9 through 14. As usual, ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I cannot encourage you enough to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the active and living word of God.

Luke 18:9-14, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:

 

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word

 

 

Now, the good news first. For the second parable in a row, Luke tells us up front, what the meaning and the purpose is. Despite outward appearances, outward behavior and out loud words, some trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated anyone else with contempt.

 

Two men went down to the temple to pray, or up more accurately. The closest thing today would be that two men went to church. Two apparent believers. Two very different men. But only one looked the part. One Pharisee. One Tax Collector.

One, the Pharisee, looked the part perfectly. He was put together. He was a family man. He was successful. He knew the right words to say. He knew the right things to offer. He knew to acknowledge God’s power and authority.

And so, he prays. And on the surface, at the beginning, it sounds legit and proper. He starts by thanking God for all the great things about himself.

“God, thank you. Thank you that I’m not like all the other sinners out there and in here. Thank you that I’m not a Tax Collector. That I’m not an adulterer. I’m not a drugee. Thank you, God that I’m, not a Republican or a Democrat, depending on your views. God, thank you I’m not a city dweller, or country folk depending on where you live. Thank you, God, that I’m not black, white, red, yellow, whatever race we aren’t. Thank you, God, that I’m not like anyone that I’m not like and anyone I don’t like… Thank you that I’m not like Joe over here in the next pew.

And he lists out all his commendable attributes and works. He fasts twice a week. The Old Testament only commanded 1 or 2 days a year. He tithes on everything. And not just his net income, but gross as well. He is saying all the things about himself. He says I 5 times in this prayer to God. He is saying. God, I hold myself to an even stricter standard than you do! So, thank you that I am so good!

The Pharisee was giving verbal affirmation to God’s power and his ability and responsibility. But his Words reveal the truth of what he thinks. There is no acknowledgement of any of his own unrighteousness. No repentance or confession of sin. As Luke told us at the beginning, the Pharisee was trusting in himself to be righteous.

Intellectually he knew. He knew that it was because of God. He knew the rules to follow. He knew the words to say. He knew when to raise his hands during worship. He knew when to say Amen during the sermon. He knew where all the books were located in the Bible. He knew all the Sunday School stories. He knew his favorite book, favorite, character, favorite verse. He knew how to fit into the culture of the church and how to play the part of a disciple of Christ.

But he was focused on himself. He lacked love for people that were not him. He compared himself to others who were not as good as himself. And he was contrasted in this parable with the second guy.

The second guy didn’t look the part. He was dirty. He wasn’t dressed up. He wasn’t taking the right position. He wasn’t giving thanks to God. His profession was inherently dishonest. It included extortion and it is entirely possible, and even likely that he extorted and collected taxes from the Pharisee that he is being compared to here. He was not a lovable loser who was down on his luck. He was not designed to be a sympathetic character.

He either didn’t know or didn’t care about the language of the church. He didn’t know or care about the form. He didn’t know when to raise his hands or say Amen. He didn’t know how to play the part.

 

And none of that mattered.

 

The tax collector cried out to God.

Have Mercy on me!

I am a sinner!

I don’t deserve your grace, but I ask anyway.

He didn’t look at anyone else. He didn’t compare himself to anyone else, better or worse. Just he and God. And the Words matched the heart.

 

 

If someone were a first-time visitor, or a passerby, only one of these two would appear to be in Gods good graces. Only one of them would appear to have few, if any, vices. Only one of them would appear to have many commendable attributes. Only one would appear to be saved, and to be righteous and to be dedicated to God.

However, God says in 1 Samuel 16, For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Jesus shows us in verse 14, in a reversal of expectations and assumptions, that it is the second man, the tax collector, is the one who would enter into the Kingdom of God.

Two men. One is justified, one is not. The one who is justified is the one God chooses, not the one who man chooses. The one who leans on and depends wholly on God’s grace for salvation.

Here is the thing. The second one knew he was a sinner and threw himself on the mercy of the heavenly courts. The first one knew that it was God’s power, but he thought that God gave him the power to save himself, to be good enough to be saved. The second knew he had no ability, God given or not to do anything to be saved.

These two views have historical names. Monergism and synergism. Synergism is what the Pharisee was falling into. God saves, but he does so with out help and our permission and he gives us the ability to do it. We work with in conjunction with God regarding our salvation.

The second of those, monergism is the one the tax collector was praying on. That is salvation by the grace of God alone. God chooses. Man has nothing to do with our salvation. We contribute nothing. I refer back to the Jonathon Edwards quote, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that makes it necessary.”

          Salvation by grace alone to the glory of God alone.

This is what the Bible teaches, and I think very clearly.

 

Jesus, in the last line of verse 14, he repeats what he also said in Luke 14:11, For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

          And because he repeats it, it is something that he wants to make clear. It is extra important. When the Bible says something once, that is enough. If the Bible says something once, that is not a valid argument for ignoring, that it was only mentioned once. Once, written as the very Word of God itself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, God himself, is enough for something to be true and accurate and sufficient.

But when something is repeated, it is purposely being emphasized and we would do well to bear that in mind.

Now, as we look at the Pharisee and the tax collector, we see that Jesus focuses on the heart and the humility of the tax collector over the moral goodness and obedience of the Pharisee.

Now, this is not to say that the tax collectors’ sins didn’t matter. In fact, just the opposite. See, it doesn’t work to speak our sins out loud and they go away. But rather, God tells us that it is our heart, it is the desire to be rid of sin that shows us our heart. It is the hatred of our sin and what it does to God. It is the desire to turn away as fast as possible and run as far away as possible from our sin that shows us our heart.

It is a factor of abiding in Christ instead of abiding in our sin. It is recognizing who we are and who God is and not mixing them up. And that’s what we recognize right now with communion. We recognize and remember what Christ has done and what he has accomplished for us.

And so, we remember. Constantly, regularly. We do it every first Sunday of the month. We remember and we know that we are in his hands because we have responded by faith to his death on cross and resurrection. God grace poured out on those covered with his blood, the blood of the lamb, come to take away the sins of the world. He instead he spares us from the wrath of God.

He condescended from Heaven, still God, was born a man, a human baby and lived the perfect, sinless life that we needed to and were unable to live. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says:  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Before he did this, Jesus told us to remember this and to celebrate it as often as we get together. We do this in a monthly basis, we celebrate communion as a church family.

We remember and we follow the commands of Jesus that he gave his disciples during the Last Supper.

Luke’s Gospel records the Last Supper, and he writes of Jesus telling his disciples in chapter 22, verses 19& 20: He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after super, he took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” 

We do this in remembrance of Him. Paul speaks about communion in 1 Corinthians 11 and before we get into it, I have one thing to share that Paul tells us, first, communion is for believers. It is in remembrance for what he has done for us. It is us obey his commands by our faith in him. Communion itself does not save. It does not forgive sins; it does not impart righteousness or cleanse your soul. If you are not a follower of Christ, we just ask that you pass the elements along and then, if you have any questions or want to take that step, you can talk to myself or one of the deacons after the service.

 

Now, we are going to do things a little bit different this morning, due to taking some precautions. We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.

First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.

 

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