Lessons from a Formerly Blind Man: Luke 18:35-43


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As we come closer to the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, we discover two similar miracles. Some gospel records, and many lists of Jesus’ miracles combine these two miracles into one, and while I can understand this because of their similarities, I see their distinct details outweighing the similarities leading me to believe that these are two separate events. Because of this, we will deal with each miracle separately, and even though they are similar, I’m pretty sure we can discover some things we can take away from each.

The miracle we will be focusing in on in this episode is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 18, and we will read it from the Good News Translation. Starting in verse 35, Luke tells us that:

35 As Jesus was coming near Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the road, begging. 36 When he heard the crowd passing by, he asked, “What is this?”

37 “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him.

38 He cried out, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”

39 The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Sir,” he answered, “I want to see again.”

42 Jesus said to him, “Then see! Your faith has made you well.”

43 At once he was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving thanks to God. When the crowd saw it, they all praised God.

In this miracle, we see many similarities with other miracles that took place earlier in the gospels, but in this miracle, many of the key details surrounding Jesus’ miracles are summarized nicely in what Luke describes.

In this event, we see a simple progression we might be able to use to see miracles happen in our own lives as well. To set the stage for this event, we have a blind man begging by the side of the road near the city of Jericho. Since this is late in Jesus’ ministry, the blind man likely knows about Jesus, but it is possible that he doesn’t have any friends willing or able to take him to find Jesus.

Looking at the gospel record, Jesus likely only visited Jericho one time during His entire ministry, and with this visit being later on, this brings a sense of urgency to this blind beggar. Setting the stage for this miracle teaches us that when God sends us an opportunity for faith, we must be ready to grab a hold of it.

When the man asks what is going on and discovers that Jesus is passing by, we discover than he is ready to be heard. The man believes Jesus to be the promised Messiah, the Son of David that God promised, and he honors Jesus with this title while asking for mercy. This teaches us that when asking for God to help, we should remember who God is and give Him honor and respect. It is unlikely God would help someone who is criticizing or cursing Him, even though it is possible.

Then the crowd gets involved, but not in a good way. Whether they were trying to hear what Jesus was teaching, or whether they simply didn’t recognize the opportunity present, those near the blind man scold him and tell him to be quiet. This reminds us that the more vocal we are about God and the more vocal we are about needing God’s help, the more resistance and/or ridicule we will face.

However, this man was ready to face a little resistance. While others might have given up and stayed quiet, this man knows that this is likely his only shot at a miracle for him, and this resistance simply results in him shouting louder. When we face resistance, consider it an opportunity to lean more into God and as an opportunity to further demonstrate your faith and commitment in a visible way.

Jesus then stopped and asked the crowd to bring the blind man to Him. Whether this happened immediately when Jesus heard the blind man the first time, or if there had been several increasingly louder cries for mercy, the faith of the blind man is clearly known. When Jesus calls the blind man to Him, and when Jesus asks the blind man what he wants from Jesus, while the blind man could have asked for anything, only one thing was out of his reach. The blind man wanted to see again.

This detail is fascinating, because it tells us that something had happened to this man’s sight that caused him to lose it. Because he wants to see again, that meant he had been able to see at an earlier point in his life and that he hadn’t been born blind. We can learn from this that sometimes things don’t go our way and sometimes life throws things at us that we would rather not face.

However, while in front of Jesus, the blind man asks for restored sight, and Jesus responds by telling him that his faith had made him well. This reminds us of one big theme within this entire year of podcasting that Faith + Jesus = A Miracle. While we can see some results when placing our faith in other things, Jesus is the only place that we should place our faith because Jesus is the only One who has seen the details of what is coming in our life, and the only One who has also seen how to successfully navigate the trials. While sometimes God works miracles through other sources, this doesn’t mean that God wasn’t behind the miracle in the first place.

At the close of this event, we see the healed man following Jesus, giving thanks to God, and we discover that the crowd praised God. While the crowd wasn’t interested in seeing a miracle at the beginning of this event, we discover that through this miracle, they were given one more reason to praise God. When miracles happen in our own lives, either to us personally or to those we know, let’s use these miracles as opportunities to thank and praise God for what He has done and is doing in our lives and in the world today.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Always, seek God first and place Him first in your life. Intentionally look for ways to make your faith in God visible and push past any resistance you face, choosing to see the resistance as an opportunity to demonstrate the faith you have in God. While Satan would have resistance cripple our faith, we can choose to respond to this resistance as an opportunity to show him and others what our faith is made of.

Also, keep praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn, grow, and move closer to God in your own life. While pastors, podcasters, and other people can share great ideas, filter everything you hear, read, and see through the truth of the Bible, because the Bible is the best source for knowing God’s Truth.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or be pressured into abandoning where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of Miracles – Episode 43: As Jesus approached Jericho, discover a miracle that only happened because the one needing help was vocal enough to make his faith visible. Discover also how the crowd almost missed out on a miracle and an opportunity to praise God.

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Helping For Fame: Mark 8:22-26

Focus Passage: Mark 8:22-26 (GNT)

22 They came to Bethsaida, where some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes, Jesus placed his hands on him and asked him,
         Can you see anything?

24 The man looked up and said,
         Yes, I can see people, but they look like trees walking around.

25 Jesus again placed his hands on the man’s eyes. This time the man looked intently, his eyesight returned, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus then sent him home with the order,
         Don’t go back into the village.

Read Mark 8:22-26 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

While reading our passage for this journal entry, a thought entered my mind related to how Jesus managed His popularity/fame. Often times, we see people coming to Jesus to be healed while there is a crowd present, but in this passage, it seems as though the “crowd” brought the man to be healed.

In other places in the gospels, when other people (i.e. the Pharisees or other religious leaders) bring someone to Jesus, it is usually a setup or a trap. While nothing in this passage indicates that this was similar to the traps of the Pharisees, Jesus does seem to be extra cautious about it. Not only does He take the blind man out of the village and away from the crowd who brought him, He also tells the man once he has been healed to not go back into the village.

With how Jesus acts in this passage regarding healing the blind man, it really appears as though there is a trap present – and if we look a little closer, we can see it.

Verse 22 ends by saying, “Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch him.” This trap is a popularity trap, and had Jesus performed the miracle with the crowd present, He would have sent the message that He was doing it for the crowd and not for the sake of healing a sick person. The trap would draw the focus away from God and onto Himself.

The crowd begged Jesus to heal this man. This places Jesus in an interesting dilemma. Does He help a hurting person but potentially send the wrong message about God, or does He not help for fear of drawing the focus onto Himself?

Like other places in the gospel, whenever Jesus is given an either/or choice, He chooses a third, different option: separate the blind man from the crowd, so that He can show love towards the man while not sending the wrong message about who He is.

Jesus did not come to bring glory to Himself. This is clearly seen in the details of this event when we look closer at it. Instead, Jesus came to show us who the Father is, what He is like, and to heal the divide that sin caused in our relationship with God.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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Washing the Feet of a Betrayer: John 13:1-17

Focus Passage: John 13:1-17 (NIV)

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Read John 13:1-17 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

While finishing washing Peter’s feet on the night He was betrayed and arrested, Jesus finishes His discussion with Peter about washing feet by saying something profound. John’s gospel shares this conversation with us and he tells us Jesus finishes verse 10 by saying, “And you are clean, though not every one of you.” John then continues by giving us a side-note to draw our attention onto the significance of this statement: “For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.” (v. 11)

In case you had a question in your mind about whether Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, was present during the foot washing, this should help give you an answer. Part of me wonders if Jesus’ eyes finished scanning the disciples and came to rest on Judas Iscariot, in a subtle way telling Judas Iscariot that Jesus knew it was him. John tells us that Jesus knew Judas Iscariot would be the betrayer, which leads us to a powerful question: If Jesus knew Judas Iscariot would betray Him, then why even select Him to be a disciple?

While this question is significant, it is also significant to recognize that Jesus washed Judas Iscariot’s feet, but even with “clean” feet, Judas Iscariot had not let Jesus clean his heart or his attitude. While Peter had offered to let Jesus clean every part of his life, Judas Iscariot held part of his life back and tried to keep it hidden from Jesus. If Jesus had the conversation He had with Peter with Judas Iscariot instead, perhaps Jesus would have been able to reach the area of Judas Iscariot’s life before it was too late.

This truth teaches us that even if we let Jesus wash part of our lives, we must be invite Him to wash every part of our life that needs to be cleaned. Jesus’ statement at the end of his conversation with Peter hints at the reality: Judas Iscariot teaches us that even though we have let Jesus clean a part of our lives, if we are holding something back from Him, Satan is eager to use what we are holding on to in a way that derails Jesus’ ideal for our lives.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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Flashback Episode — Washed by Jesus: John 13:1-17


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In our journey through Jesus’ life, we now come to the night Jesus was betrayed. However, before Jesus is betrayed and arrested, He shares a special meal with His disciples, and at this meal, Jesus does something profoundly unexpected – He takes the role of the lowest servant.

Let’s read about what happened, about why Jesus did this, and about the reaction that one of His disciples had when this happened. Our passage comes to us from the gospel of John, chapter 13, and we will be reading from the New International Version of the Bible. Starting in verse 1, John tells us that:

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Let’s pause reading here because two details I see already are profound and I don’t want us to miss them.

The first detail is that Satan had already prompted Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus, and looking at the details that we will read in Jesus’ conversation with Peter tells us that Judas was still present. Knowing Judas was present would mean that Jesus washed Judas’ feet even though they both knew that Judas was plotting a betrayal. This act demonstrates an incredible level of love and humility on Jesus’ part, but it would not be enough to break through to Judas’ stubborn, hard heart.

The second detail is that when we read about Jesus knowing that the Father had put all things under His power, the first thing that Jesus does is get up from the meal, take off His outer robe, wrap a towel around His waist, and then proceed to do the lowest role that society had. Washing someone’s feet was the bottom role in that society and Jesus chose to step into this role at the very moment that He knew that God had placed everything under His power.

It is also interesting to note that in this second detail, when John tells us that all things were under Jesus’ power, nothing that happened after this point was without Jesus’ direct consent. While Jesus prays for another way in the garden, His prayer is always in the context of doing God’s will so that humanity can have the opportunity for salvation. Jesus could easily have called off the whole crucifixion event, brought in thousands of angels to defend Himself and all the disciples, or even come down from the cross, but any of these options would abandon humanity to the fate of sin, and that is something that God was unwilling to do. He loves us and He wants to save us for eternity!

While Jesus was moving through the room washing the disciples’ feet, we pick back up in verse 6 when:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

Quick side-note: This is how we can see that Judas Iscariot was present. Jesus wouldn’t have needed to say that not everyone was clean if Judas Iscariot had already left.

Continuing in verse 12:

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

In this passage, and in Peter’s conversation with Jesus, we see an interesting idea present when we begin to look at what it means to leave sin and have our lives washed by Jesus.

On one extreme, we have Peter’s first remark that the Messiah, God’s Son on earth, would not ever wash His feet. While this is on one level a statement of humility, because Peter knows he is less than Jesus and doesn’t comprehend the idea of Jesus lowering Himself below him, the challenge here is one of pride. Peter doesn’t want to accept that Jesus is taking the role of the lowest servant or slave for him personally, because he feels the roles should be switched.

However, symbolically, we see another idea at work in this first extreme. When someone who has sinned humbly comes to God asking for forgiveness, the first mistake that can be made is thinking that God won’t affect or change their life. This is the trap of Peter’s first extreme. When we come asking God for forgiveness, expect to be touched by God, or as Jesus replied to Peter in verse 8, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” If we want to be adopted into God’s family through forgiveness and accepting His invitation, expect and welcome His desire to wash our lives.

But we also have a second extreme, which Peter immediately moves to when realizing that washing is necessary for being included with Jesus. After realizing his first position isn’t desirable, Peter then swings to the opposite extreme, asking Jesus to wash “not just [his] feet but [his] hands and [his] head as well”.

We can admire Peter for diving all in with his request. Peter is an all-in-or-all-out type of guy. However, in Jesus’ response, we see the opposite extreme being also a place where Jesus doesn’t want or need us to go.

When God has touched and washed our lives, we might think there will be nothing left of our former selves. We might even want this. However, the truth is that just like people aren’t 100% free from sin, no-one is 100% stained by sin. When God wants to wash our lives, He is more interested in cleaning the sin-stained parts, and not on dwelling the parts that are not affected by sin.

This means that when Jesus takes us and washes our lives, don’t be surprised if we have a new focus, a new outlook, a new perspective, but a similar personality, a similar color of hair, and a similar color of skin. God won’t turn us into His clone when we accept Him into our lives, but He will transform us into the people He created us to be. God was interested and involved in your entrance into this world, and because you and I are here, He has a plan and an ideal for our lives.

God wants to wash your life. He wants to clean the sin from it, and He is more than happy to do so. We must come to Him, seek His will, and ask Him to help change us into His ideal for our lives. He promises to bless us when we follow in His footsteps, and He challenges us to be happy in the place where He has placed us.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Always seek God first and focus intentionally on Him in your lives each day.

Be sure to regularly pray and study the Bible for yourself to keep your connection with God strong.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or walk away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year 4 – Episode 42: When Jesus steps into the role of a servant on the night He was betrayed and arrested, discover some things we can learn from this event, and one noteworthy disciple’s response.

Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here.