Text: Matthew 20:29-34 (HCSB)
Intro: Have you ever tried to do something with you eyes closed knowing that you need to see in order to do what needs to be done? Might be a strange question but I believe it can be something to ponder on. We live in a desperate world full of desperate people. Many hurt because of emptiness, loneliness, disease, death, accidents, problems, conflicts, difficulties, poverty, hunger, no purpose, no meaning, no significance, hopelessness, and helplessness. The two blind men in this text show how the desperate can be saved and helped.
As Jesus left Jericho there was also a host of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. The famous Jewish historian Josephus estimated that two to three million attended this feast every year. An enormous crowd would have been following Christ at this time. There were several reasons why the crowds followed Christ in such numbers throughout His ministry. Some followed Christ because they had great need. Some followed Christ for what they could get out of Him. Some followed Christ out of curiosity. Some followed Christ because they thought He was the answer to utopia, to personal and national fulfillment.
The two men suffered together and acted together. There is great benefit in our sharing together with someone who has a common experience, not to moan over our common plight but to encourage one another. FELLOWSHIP!
Christ encourages praying together. Every friendship among Christians should include praying together. These two men approached Christ together and they could not even see. Christ should be made a significant part of our fellowship.
Step 1: Seizing the chance when Jesus passes by: vs. 30
First, the desperate can be saved by seizing the chance when Christ passes by, but alertness and sensitivity are essential. These two men were both alert and sensitive. They heard the feet and the conversation of the crowd as they passed by. Hearing the feet of the crowd alerted them and hearing the conversation told them exactly what was going on.
One thing is critical for the desperate: to seize the opportunity. They must not let it pass. When we see or hear where Jesus is we must go to Him. If we do not put ourselves where He is, we increase the chance that we will miss Him forever. There are three reasons why our chances diminish.
- We become more dull, hardened, insensitive, unconcerned, and inactive; and we begin to accept conditions as they are.
- A more convenient time will never present itself. Intentions are good, but an immediate decision is needed. Paul preached and many listened. A few said, "We will hear thee again of this matter". But they never did.
- Christ may never come our way again. If He does, He may not return with such force.
Isaiah 55:6 (HCSB) “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near.”
Step 2: Crying for merch: vs. 30
Second, the desperate can be saved by crying for mercy. These two blind men had an imperfect knowledge of Christ. They were blind; therefore, they could not travel about and learn of Him. Their knowledge of Him was based upon what they had heard about Him. They believed what they had heard: that He was the Messiah, the promised Son of David. They believed in His power to help and deliver them. They stirred themselves up and cried out for mercy. Imagine the obstacles: the crowd was large, the noise was loud. They were blind and their chance of getting to Christ and being heard by Him was slim. They were desperate and they believed. So they stirred themselves up and cried out. They acted on what knowledge and faith they had.
Psalm 51:1 (HCSB) “Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.”
Step 3: Persisting in crying for mercy: vs. 31-32
Third, the desperate can be saved by persisting in their cry for mercy. The Desperate must persist even in the face of opposition. A person who really wants Christ is to persevere; he is to fight against all obstacles until Christ responds. These two men teach us perseverance. The crowd rebuked and tried to stop them from reaching Christ, but they would not be stopped. The Scripture tells us: "They cried the more."
There are many hindrances to our seeking after Christ—hindrances within and without. Sometimes we stand in the way, sometimes another person, sometimes circumstances. The hindrances are always there. Hindrances are to be struggled against and overcome. We are not to give in to hindrances, but we are to use them to learn endurance and experience (victorious living) and hope. Trials are to be used to sharpen, to increase and to grow our faith. It is for this reason that we not only "rejoice in hope for the glory of God....but we glory in tribulations also" Romans 5:2-4.
Jesus already knew what the blind men wanted. He had probably heard them crying out as well, but He wanted them to experience persistence. Why? Why does Christ teach persistence and perseverance instead of just meeting our needs immediately?
- Having to persevere sharpens and grows our faith. Having to persevere sharpens and makes us more aware of our minds.
- Having to persevere teaches us to pray and to seek God more and more.
- Having to persevere gives us more part in His work and worship.
- Having to persevere allows more time for a greater number of people to be reached with God's power. Perseverance is a greater witness for God. When God answers and moves, more people are aroused to observe God's working.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
This is an important lesson for the church. Often the poor and most needful are pushed back, ignored, neglected, rebuked, and not wanted by the church. They are thought to be lazy or lacking in initiative or unable to contribute much. The church rationalizes that the poor and needy would feel uncomfortable and not want to be a part of the fellowship anyway.
Our Lord never rejected a person. He never planned for the church to meet the needs only of a certain class. What is class anyway? Is it a certain amount of money? Is it a certain number of dresses? Of suits? Of shoes? Of watches? Is it a certain size of house? Of car? Of office? Of desk? Of chair? Is it stature? Hairstyle? Is it a certain location in town? In a suburb? Beside a golf course? A lake? How foolish can we be? How long will we play the fool while the world around us cries out in desperation? Is there anyone anywhere who will think and see and feel as God thinks and sees and feels? Where is the person who will stand in the gap for God and reach out to help the lost and poor of this world?
Step 4: Asking great things of Christ: v. 33
Fourth, the desperate can be saved by asking great things of Christ. They were beggars, ever so poor. There was nothing appealing about them at all. Society rejected them. Even the crowd surrounding Jesus pushed them away and tried to silence their search for God. They had never followed Christ. They had never heard Him preach even once. They knew very little about Him. They had an unbelievable request to make: for Christ to heal their blindness.
Matthew 21:22 "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Many come to Christ only when they are in physical trouble (blindness). However, their real problem is spiritual blindness. They are spiritually blind and do not know it There is a lesson here on being specific in our requests. At first, the blind men asked for mercy without identifying just where they needed mercy. Christ asked for them to be specific: "What will ye that I shall do unto you?"
Step 5: Receiving the compassion and touch of Jesus: vs. 34
Fifth, the desperate can be saved by receiving the compassion and touch of Jesus. Jesus had compassion, they no sooner asked than Jesus' compassion was immediately aroused. He cared and felt for them. Jesus touched their eyes. He did more than express compassion and feelings; He reached out to them and touched them. He let them feel His touch and care. He reached out and gave Himself to them. What a lesson for ministry! Jesus healed them. They immediately experienced the love and power of God. They were healed.
Step 6: following Jesus: vs. 34
Sixth, the desperate can be saved by following Jesus. "And they followed Him." He had shown mercy, and they became His disciples. Being a disciple means: They followed Him to learn of Him.
"And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23
They followed Him to be witnesses to Him and His power. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
There is a lesson here on gratitude. The men expressed their appreciation in the greatest way possible. They became witnesses to His benevolence, love, mercy, and power. Many never express gratitude at all. Too many get what they want and soon forget that it came from God.
In : Sermon
Tags: "open our eyes"
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