Tag Archives: blind man

What’s holding you back from following Jesus? Luke 18:18-43

7 Mar

Sometimes choices are hard to make.  I talked about that last week, referring to Luke 18:18-43.  In that story, Jesus met a guy and asked him to make a very hard choice.  This guy wanted to follow Jesus.  He had a bunch of money, and Jesus told him “sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me.”

Whew. Do you feel the intense emotion of that situation?   It seems this guy genuinely wants to follow Jesus, or at least is truly interested in the idea. But when faced with the choice, he goes away sad.  His sadness tells me that he hoped he could follow Jesus. Maybe he saw something intriguing in Jesus. But when asked to break free from the hold his wealth had on him, and actually give himself to the better way of Jesus, the man could not or would not break free.

Could you? Would you break free? It is so easy to sit here today and say “Sure! I would give up everything for Jesus.”

So I encourage you to allow Jesus to ask you what he said to the rich man: What is the one thing you lack? What is holding you back from following Jesus? It could be something holding you back from starting to follow Jesus for the first time. It could something holding you back from following him in a more significant way. It might not be riches.

What is holding you back? TV time?  Your cell phone? Really, it can be anything. Ministry. Career. Hobby. Sports team. Something very intangible. Having a clean house.

What are you so preoccupied with that is keeping you from following Jesus?

Social Media. Some of us put a lot of time into social media.

Are children an idol? Over programmed kids can lead to you and your family missing out on participation in your church community.

Or there is Helicopter parenting. Kids used to be allowed to run around town all day, just needing to be home for dinner. But now…not even close.  Now many parents live through their kids.

What about housing? Keeping up with the Joneses. Getting a new car. Are you a slave to appearances? Is this getting in the way of you following Jesus? Do you realize that if Christians in American tithed, gave 10%, we would have more than enough to provide clean water for every person on the planet. But we don’t give 10% because we can’t give 10% because that money is already accounted for in our bills, mortgages, car payments, vacations, and subscriptions and hobbies. And we say that we are just barely making it.

What is standing in the way of you following Jesus more?

Jesus’ disciple, Peter, makes a great statement in verse 28, realizing that the disciples had left all, they allowed nothing to stand in the way of Jesus. And Jesus explains further that we have to remove all blockades to following him. Riches and wealth, but also family!

Would you be willing to pray “Lord, what in my life is getting in the way of following you more?”

Would you be willing to allow God to speak through his people by asking that question of someone who will speak truth “Friend, what in my life is getting in the way of following Jesus?”

There is another person in this story who had to make a choice.  In verses 35-39 we meet a really cool blind man who is persistent in trying to get close to Jesus.

He knew who Jesus was.  He knew he needed mercy. Twice says “have mercy on me”! He had a humble, teachable heart.  Even after being told to be quiet, he gets louder! He knew Jesus was the answer to his dilemma and he got louder! Maybe you and I need to get louder in asking God to come near to us.

Jesus stops. He wants to be with the man. Near him. And then Jesus asks what seems to be a question with an obvious answer: “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man’s response is to be expected, “Lord, I want to see.”

Why would Jesus ask this?  He already knew what the man needed. But Jesus asks him to be specific. There is something deeply faithful about praying a very specific request. When we pray too often we can be safe, vague. “Help the missionaries”. But when we pray specifically, we are putting it out there and saying that God and God alone has to come through in a specific way. It is scary to be so specific because what if what we are asking for doesn’t happen?

If Jesus asked you this question “what do you want me to do for you?” what would you say?

Notice in verses 42-43 where Jesus says the man’s faith healed him. Is Jesus saying that faith will heal anything we ask about? If we have enough faith, we can get what we want? No. Jesus is not making a blanket statement. Instead he is just describing what one man’s faith did in that situation.

And so now seeing, he chose to follow Jesus, praising God. He’s getting loud about God again!  Then others praise God.  They catch on.

Did you notice the contrast between the two choosers?:

Rich man calls Jesus “good teacher”.

Blind man calls him “Son of David”.

Rich man was blind to what was holding him back.

Blind man could see what he needed.

Rich man, after being asked to follow, does not follow Jesus.

Blind man, after not being asked, does follow Jesus.

Rich man goes away sad.

Blind man goes away rejoicing.

We all face a choice about following Jesus. Right now he may be asking you to give up something that is holding you back. What is it? What is holding you back?

The blind man found that following Jesus was the best possible way to live. He had nothing to his name but the shirt on his back, and yet he was happy as could be following Jesus! Jesus changed his life.

Will you choose to set aside what is holding you back? Will you choose to step out and follow him?

I would love to hear what is holding you back! Will you talk about it?

The blind beggar chose well! When we let go of the things that hold us back, we’ll realize that the way of Jesus, the life of Jesus, is so much better than anything this world has to offer!

Choice matters

3 Mar

Have you had to make any major choices lately in your life?

It could be a major purchase like a car or a house. It could relate to moving. Could be a job change. It could be about how to handle a relationship, about getting closer to someone or maybe about putting some distance between you and them.

You may be faced with a choice related to finances. How will you report taxes? How will you use your income tax rebate? How will you spend, give, or save?

How will you use your free time? Will you do a project at home, take a vacation, go on a mission trip, serve in a ministry, volunteer somewhere?

There are so many difficult choices in life: How to respond to someone who has wronged you. How to respond to feeling marginalized at work. How to respond to death. How to respond to your own failures and mess-ups. Will you get defensive? Will you argue? Will you scrape and fight to preserve your point of view? Or will you be teachable, humble and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.  This could be with a co-worker, a boss, with your spouse, with your siblings, with your parents, with your teachers, with your friends.

Choices abound. Some people have said that life is just a series of choices.

Choices can make life hard in a way. Have you ever felt that you’d like a break from all the choices? It’s not like we’re always dealing with whether we choose the Porsche or the Ferrari, the 2 million dollar mansion or the 3 million one, or even much less costly ones such as between an ice cream cone with 2 scoops or 3 scoops, or between the iPhone 7 or 7+. Those choices are all easy. Well, actually, if we were in a position to make those kinds of choices they would be easy because they have very little ramifications on life. That is, if you have the money to afford them!

Choices can make life feel stressful, however, because we so often don’t know what is right in a given situation.  Or we face a situation where both choices are tough, and we’d rather not have to choose at all.

But choice in life is also a beautiful thing. It reminds of that we have free will. Free will is a God-given system of choice. Obviously we cannot choose to jump up in the air and start flying. There are limits to choice, such as gravity. And before you start responding with “Well, if we had a jet-pack, we could do that too!” I hear you. So get out your jet-pack and go for a quick flight!  (You can get yours in 2017 for only $150,000.)

I know my argument has exceptions. Yes, if you are smart enough or rich enough, you could make or purchase a jet pack. But the larger point still holds, we have limitations, we are not free to choose to do or be whatever we want. Only God is that free.

Though we have limitations, we are still free in a significant ways.

Perhaps the most significant thing we can choose is that we can choose to follow the way of Jesus, or we can choose not to follow his way. We can choose to follow it a lot or a little, and there are ramifications to the choice we make.

Many of us have a desire to choose to follow Jesus, but we wonder if we are following him less than what we should be or could be. Less than what he wants us too. But we admit that there are things in life that are holding us back. There are barriers in our lives to following Jesus. Is there something holding you back?

This Sunday at Faith Church we will meet two people that Jesus encountered as he was walking along the road. Each of these two people are faced with a choice. Each of them will have the opportunity to follow the way of Jesus. It is amazing how differently they choose. Through them, we’ll see what barriers might be holding us back.

Check it out at Luke 18:18-43, and be our guest at Faith Church on Sunday!