Blind Men See

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked (Luke 18:41a Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: p. 186
In Your Bible: Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; and Luke 18:35-43

Often, crowds gathered around Jesus as he walked and ministered. He healed many from diseases, cast out devils, and changed the lives of everyone he spoke to in one way or another. As we look closer, the accounts recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke differ slightly.

Crowds Followed – Few Stopped Jesus

A large crowd followed Jesus as he walked near Jericho. They passed two blind men who were beggars. These two men cried out loudly to Jesus. Those closest to Jesus in the crowd told the beggars to be quiet.

But they shouted louder, …“Sir, Son of David, have mercy on us” (Matthew 20:30b Eyewitness). Then something different happened, Jesus stopped walking and commanded the beggars to come to him! Jesus often did the opposite of what those around him expected.

What Do You Want?

These two had a physical need – blindness. They knew Jesus could help, if he wanted to. They simply requested, “Heal our eyes so we can see” (Matthew 20:33 Eyewitness).
IMG_0274 Here’s what happened:

  • Jesus, moved with compassion, touched their eyes.
  • They received their eyesight.
  • They immediately followed.

One Gospel writer gives additional insight. Jesus spoke to the beggars he healed, “Look around. Because you believed, now you can see” (Mark 10:52a). These two not only followed Jesus, but glorified and praised God. The crowd joined in!

Application: These two beggars seemed to have been ignored by the throng around Jesus and possibly even Jesus himself! But as soon as Jesus heard their plea, he simply asked what they wanted. Jesus wants believers to talk with him about our needs. We can talk to him today. Simply ask, believe, and keep on asking.

Prayer:  Father, thank you that you hear all believers. Even when the crowd shouts loudly, you hear our prayer. Glory to Your Name.

Question: Does it seem that your problems are too difficult to solve?  Do you believe Jesus can answer them? How often do you ask Jesus for needs you have?

Photo: Jesus His Life and Times, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan Road, New Jersey, 1979, p.81.

Living Water

Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink (Eyewitness John 7:37).

Eyewitness: p. 131
In Your Bible: John 4:10 and 7:38,39

Twice in the Gospel of John, Jesus announced he gives living water… first at Jacob’s well in Samaria and again at the Temple on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus Gives Living Water

Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman gently face-to-face. If you understood God’s generosity and who is asking for a drink, you would ask me for a drink. I would give you, living water (Eyewitness John 4:10). Jesus continued with her, Everyone….who drinks this water [well water] will thirst again. But those who drink the water I give them will never become thirsty. My water is a fresh artesian spring bubbling with everlasting life (John 4:13,14).

Come To Me and Drink

Later in Jesus’ ministry, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus had similar words to say at the Temple. His excitement and sense of urgency was so great that he stood up (usually Jesus taught sitting down) and spoke about living water. He shouted, Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will flow from the innermost being of those who believe in me…. (Eyewitness John 7:37,38).

Living water here, referred to the Holy Spirit whom believers were yet to receive because Jesus had not yet ascended into glory. Jesus message at the Feast of Tabernacles should have meant more for the Jews in celebration of joy for God’s work with Israel. Sadly they didn’t understand Jesus was speaking of himself.

Application: Jesus tells this message in two ways, calmly and then vehemently. He knew the most effective way to speak at different times and different situations. The Samaritan knew God but little of Jesus. The Jews tried to please God through the Law.
Prayer: Father, thank you for living water… Jesus-Messiah… who will dwell in us and give us life.
Question: What puzzles you about Jesus claiming to give you living water? Why do you think the Jews missed Jesus’ shouting the message at the Festival of Tabernacles?

Jesus Teaches More on Prayer

……you can be sure your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those [believers] who ask of him (Eyewitness Luke 11:13b).

Eyewitness: p. 146
In Your Bible: Matthew 6:5-13; Luke 11:1-13

Rabbis had a custom of teaching their disciples how to pray, John the Baptist taught his disciples how to pray. But Jesus surprised them. He wanted his disciples and believers today, to know how simple prayer should be – focused on what the Father wanted for them. He did not want repetitious, long winded, or rote prayer. Prayer should be focused on these things:

  • The Father’s glory.
  • The believers’ present need.
  • The need for forgiveness.
  • Reflection on the power and glory of God.

Comparison and Contrast

After Jesus finished teaching what we call the “Lord’s Prayer,” he went into a parable about two things that contrast each other:

  • If a son asks his dad for a fish, will his dad give him something that would harm him, like a snake? No!
  • If a son asks his dad for an egg, will his dad give him something that would harm him, like a scorpion? No!

Through this parable, Jesus assures the disciples and all believers that our loving Father knows us and wants the best for us. The Father wouldn’t do anything to harm the believer or his children.

Jesus Says Ask for the Holy Spirit of God

Asking the Father for something – including the Holy Spirit – is what He wants.This entire teaching on how to pray shows the Father wants believer to move into Kingdom living. We couldn’t do it without Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Father loving us.

Application: It’s amazing that all believers and many non-believers know the “Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus shows believers need not beg, plead, nor browbeat God to answer prayer. The key to answered prayer is honoring God and knowing his overwhelming love.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your patience with us, as we learn more of you. Jesus’ sacrifice shows your overwhelming love for mankind. You are wonderful.

Question: Does this help you see the Lord’s Prayer and the parable following it differently? Will you see Luke chapter 11 with new eyes and an open heart about what the Father wants and offers you today?

Jesus Tells What God Wants

When Jesus saw a crowd gathering, he went up on the hillside and his disciples came to him. He taught them saying……. (Eyewitness Matthew 5:1,2)

Eyewitness: p. 62
In your Bible: Matt 5:1-12

This important teaching was for those gathered around Jesus and for believers today. I describe it as WHAT GOD WANTS for believers – by following Kingdom living.

God Wants Believers to Receive His Blessing

I believe Jesus says this is God’s intention of how for man is to live:

  • I WANT YOU TO RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR GOD, THEN RELY ON HIM TOTALLY then you’ll receive the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • I WANT YOU TO MOURN AND GRIEVE OVER WRONGDOING for God will bring you comfort.
  • I WANT YOU TO BE HUMBLE for God will allow you to inherit the land.
  • I WANT YOU TO BE RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD then He will give you true satisfaction.
  • I WANT YOU TO BE MERCIFUL then you will receive mercy from God.
  • I WANT YOU TO BE PURE IN HEART so you will actually see God.
  • I WANT YOU TO BE PEACEMAKERS then God will call you His children.
  • I WANT YOU TO PERSEVERE THROUGH PERSECUTION for God will give you the Kingdom of Heaven.

Seemingly an Impossible Task

In our world where injustice, lawlessness, and disharmony often rule, this teaching is hard to receive. Jesus explains how God wants believers to live – the result will be blessings. God says in effect I want your attitude to be this way, so I can bless you and make you whole. We know that only God can do these life changing/life embracing things by His Spirit. Implementing them is the work of the Spirit within us. We must allow this, take this on every day, and be patient for change to happen. Maybe only close friends will see the change in our “be attitude.” God wants this change.

The Father Endorses What Jesus Says

About half way through Matthew we hear God say: “This is my dearly beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him” (Eyewitness Mathew 17:5c). So don’t you think we should listen?

Application: Jesus explains how man should live to receive all the blessings our Father has in store for us. It’s a daunting task. Jesus didn’t say it was impossible – just not easy. When we get these teachings from Jesus we truly need to Listen to do what he says and apply it in our lives.

Prayer: Father, thank you for these challenging words on how to live. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us through, amen.

Question: Does this well known passage from Matthew seem impossible to actually do? Could we do any of this if the Holy Spirit did not participate in guiding our thoughts, our intentions, and our actions?

National Day of Prayer 2014

For the United States of America, May 2nd is the National Day of Prayer: A day intended for all Americans to join in prayer to God, express their humility before God, and to Seek God for the right path for our nation.

What Should We Do?

As believers in Jesus Christ, our obligation is simple:
* We must humble ourselves, yet be strong in Him and courageous
* We must seek God’s presence and be aware/hear His voice
* We must turn from our wicked ways and walk worthy of Him
God in turn promises that if we do this He will:
* Hear our prayers
* Forgive our sins
* Restore our land

This profound Scripture is often quoted as a framework for how to pray: …. my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health (THE MESSAGE 2 Chron 7:14).

Prayer: Pray, be humble, and seek God as to what He wants for our nation today.

(This post failed it’s scheduled post, so will be sent today from England too.)