“Jesus Is Passing By!” (Part Three)

Luke 18:35-43

“Receive your sight.” Jesus told him. “Your faith has saved you.” Instantly he could see, and he began to follow him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God (18:42-43 CSB).

Lastly, we see the happy outcome (18:42-43): Jesus caused the blind man to see. This was the last of his healing miracles in the Gospels. As he drew near to Jerusalem, his action demonstrated that the Lord, the Great I Am, had come to his people. The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the cowardly: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; he will save you.” Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped (Isaiah 35:1-5 CSB).

He healed by word alone. Notice that there was no set pattern for the way that Jesus gave sight to the blind. The power was not in his method but in his ability. What we need in our local churches is not a successful method. We need only to see the Lord act in his sovereign mercy. We should become serious about asking the Lord Jesus to act for his glory among us. Is there any outlook that the western church of our time will recover the conviction that the Lord Almighty acts when his people pray? Now we hear of demographics, polished programs for children, nice facilities, worship bands, skilled communicators, etc. as churches try to get religious consumers to buy their pretty spiritual package they are marketing.

He healed the blind man immediately. There was no question about whether the man could see or not. Can you hear the man shouting? “I can see! I can see!”

What a happy day had come for the former blind man! He went from darkness to light, because he met Jesus the Son of God, who acted with power in his life. Has that happened to you? Have you by faith met the Lord Jesus? Can you now by faith see the glory of God in Jesus Christ?

God received praise because of Jesus.

The man became a follower of Jesus. And what did he do? He praised God. Isn’t that what followers of Jesus should do? God’s first purpose for us is worship. It’s not about you! It’s about the living God. When we join to praise the Lord, it’s not a matter of what we like or don’t like. It’s all about exalting God, whether a song was written in the 1730s or in the 2010s. We ought to magnify God with all our hearts. Lift up your voice and say, “Praise God, I can see! I can see! I can see! Praise his glorious name!” Don’t sit so silent. Or are you still blind?

The watching crowds also began to praise God. It’s hard to argue when you see a blind man receive his sight. The greatest attraction a church can have is to have the Lord changing people. “Look how they love each other!”

Grace and peace, David

Following a Good Example (Part Two)

img_36972 Timothy 3:10

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness… (ESV).

In this verse, the apostle Paul encouraged his friend and coworker Timothy to keep on following the example or pattern that he had lived before Timothy. As we have said, Paul stressed the importance of each item. It has been too easy for Christians to concentrate on either teaching or conduct, while ignoring the others. Many churches have focused on teaching, which is important, so much that they have created the impression that what a church exists for is to cram everyone’s heads full of ideas. Perhaps this has been in overreaction to the neglect of doctrine by others. Many other churches have overemphasized conduct, perhaps again in overreaction against the “teaching” churches. The result has been a group that grades everyone by the rules or “standards” they keep. However, as we realize that both teaching and conduct are important, let us not forget five other examples that Paul set for his friend and for all other believers to whom he ministered.

  • “My aim in life” – Paul reminded Timothy about his purpose. The apostle lived according to the purpose to which God called him. This affected how he lived in many ways. It infused him with a missionary attitude (Romans 15:20-21), helped him live with a clear conscience (Acts 24:16), and caused him to be devoted to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:12-14). When Paul discovered God’s purpose for him, it helped him to simplify his life by pursuing what the Lord wanted him to do.
  • “My faith” – This probably refers to his life of faith, the example he set by trusting God for what was needed for his life and ministry. The Christian way of life is a life of dependence on God. This can become difficult when God’s ways fail to match up with our opinions about how God should act for us. It helps us to remember God’s purposes (Romans 8:28-30), but it still is hard for us to humble ourselves before God and to wait upon him and so to cast all our anxieties upon him, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7).
  • “My patience” – Paul spoke of his pattern of patience. He had to learn to wait calmly for God to act. His patience developed from his earliest days as a Christian, when he went away to think from the Scriptures about what he had learned from meeting the Risen Jesus on the Damascus road. It developed when he had to leave Jerusalem to spend a few years in Tarsus. It grew when he and Barnabas were thrown out of town after town on their first missionary journey. His patience increased as the Holy Spirit took time to lead him to Europe on his second missionary journey. And what can we say about the many years that Paul was a prisoner? His life was a pattern of waiting calmly.
  • “My love” – Paul taught and modeled love. Two of the greatest passages about love in the Bible (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13) were written by Paul. His love for God and his people caused him to press on through many difficulties. He loved people like the Corinthian and Galatian believers who frustrated him. He loved his own people of Israel and was willing to give himself for him that they might be saved (Romans 9;1-3; 10:1). He demonstrated love by constantly praying for people and remembering them in his letters. Timothy had seen that Paul was a man who loved God and others.
  • “My steadfastness” – His friend also knew about the example of endurance that Paul set. All we need to do is to read Luke’s account of Paul in Acts to know that Paul persisted in the face of the greatest difficulties. His own words about his sufferings for Jesus the Messiah (2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 11:16-12:10) provide us a model of perseverance in suffering for Christ. Please don’t complain about your problems until after you seriously reflect on Paul’s faithfulness to the Lord in the most trying circumstances.

The point of his pattern is not to shame us, but to motivate us to live for the glory of the Lord. Paul did all of these things by trusting God the Father to help him by the Holy Spirit, who made Christ’s power known in him. We are to live in conformity with this pattern.

Grace and peace, David