Jump Start # 2264
Luke 18:38 “And he called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”
We have been doing a mini-series on the miraculous healings of Jesus. One thing that stands out in the Gospels is how many times Jesus was called upon to help people physically. That seems to be the overwhelming demand.
Here in our verse today, as Jesus was near Jericho, on His way to Jerusalem and Calvary, a blind man calls out asking for mercy.
- The ten lepers called out to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Lk 17:13)
- Jairus, the synagogue official pleaded with Jesus, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her” (Mk 5:23)
- The Canaanite woman came to Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!” (Mt 15:25)
- A father came up to Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is an epileptic, and is very ill” (Mt 17:15)
- Even some of the questions dealt with physical things, such as the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the family inheritance (Lk 12:13).
The few exceptions to this seem to be:
Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night stating that he understood that Jesus came from God (Jn 3) and the young man who asked, “What good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life” (Mt 19:16).
The demands were physical. The concerns were physical. So many of these hurting people were at the ends of their ropes. Things were desperate. A dying child. A woman who had spent all her money on doctors and only grew worse. The concerns were not about how to lose weight. It wasn’t about how to cure baldness, bad teeth or remove warts. These were desperate people needing immediate help. These are the type of folks we’d find late at night in the emergency room of a local hospital. These were people who had grown tired of carrying these burdens. Some had these problems for decades. They were without help and had run out of hope.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that these peple were not interested at all in spiritual things. We cannot conclude that once they got what they wanted that they were done with Jesus. These healed people may very well had followed Jesus and made up His multitude. The immediate suffering and pain can take a priority over the spiritual. It’s hard to concentrate when you are hurting and do not feel well. It’s hard to be patient when there is a looming physical crisis at hand.
Some lessons from this:
First, the church is limited in what it can do. The world doesn’t seem to get this. Folks who have no connections to any church, will spend the day calling up church after church looking for someone to pay their rent, elect bill or give them cash. This seems to be what the church is supposed to do in their minds. To them, the church is better than a bank, because at a bank you have to fill out papers, qualify and then pay back what the bank gives you. A church, they think, can give you money with no strings attached. You don’t even have to go to that church. The problem with this thinking is that it’s not Biblical. God has a pattern for what the church can do with it’s money, as He does for all things. There is a pattern for worship. There is a pattern for salvation. And, there is a pattern for what the church can do with money.
The story of the good Samaritan is not about a church, but an individual. We can help others and we ought to. Engaging in good deeds is a common expression in Titus. This is what God wants His people to do. Be good stewards, be generous, be helpful to others.
Some cannot and will not hear what you are saying until you have shown that you care. Hurting people are not interested in a tract or a sermon CD. They want their pain to go away. You may need to buy someone a meal, help a neighbor get to the doctor, help a friend pay a bill, before they will ever listen to you. The crisis of the moment is all that some can see.
Second, there is a difference in helping someone and buying their commitment. The difference is often seen in what follows. Someone who is truly thankful will listen to what you have to say. Someone who is bought will always find another crisis that demands more money and time. It seems some never get out of the hole that they are in. Then comes the hard decision of realizing that they are not interested in the Lord, but your money and your help. Stop the money and stop the help and you never see them again. These judgments are painful to make and they keep us up at night wondering if we are doing the right thing.
Third, so many times when Jesus healed, He also taught. Helping someone won’t save their soul. Helping someone may get them out of a jam for now, and they may even be thankful, but that won’t save their soul. Somewhere in all of this, Jesus must be introduced, taught and emphasized. What helping does is show compassion in action. It shows goodness and caring, which is rare these days. People are so into themselves that they rarely think of helping others, especially if there is no upside return in it for them. Understand, a person may not seem to be interested in what you are saying at the moment because there is some physical concern in his life that he can’t see past. Bills have piled up. Mama is in the hospital. There is little food in the house. These things are all that some can see. They can’t move past these things. Like the healings of Jesus, these problems are temporary but they stand before the greater needs and that is salvation.
It is interesting that we do not find parents coming to Jesus and asking about their troubled teens. However, Jesus, especially in the sermon on the mount, lays forth the very internal things that often trouble us. Worry. Fear. Lust. Joy. Righteousness. Forgiving others. Those things were never specifically addressed to Jesus in questions or in concerns, but this is what He drove at in His sermons and in His parables. This is what truly plagued the people. This was THE problem, sin.
And as we try to help others, all they may be looking for is a friendly face who will help them with their physical concern. As we work with them through these things, we move them to a greater concern, the salvation of their souls. Ignoring the physical problems, won’t open any doors, however, ignoring the spiritual problems won’t help them in the long run.
Jesus healed. He has healed us through the forgiveness of our sins. I once was lost and now I am found, so goes a famous hymn and so goes the truth of our lives.