29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.30 And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They *said to Him, “Lord,we want our eyes to be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
The book of Matthew, chapter 20, beginning at verse 29. I will give you the message in title “The lessons from the Miracle and the Message.“ You hear people sometimes say “I would rather see a sermon than hear one“ and there is a lot to that because talk is cheap. But it’s when you take it and when you put into practice what you have heard and what you have learned that makes all the difference. They don’t talk about that. When you hear someone teach, it’s great to see them back up what they say. Well that’s exactly what we are going to see Jesus do. Over the past few weeks we have listened to Jesus talk about several important points about the Kingdom of God. You saw at the end of Chapter 19 in verse 30 Jesus said “Many who are first are going to be last, and many who are last are going to be first.“ You saw in verse 16 of chapter 20 He said the same thing again: “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.“ And on top of that, you saw last week that Jesus said these words: “It’s not so among you but whoever whishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Now after all that preaching about the importance of being a servant and how the path to greatness is not through living a life where we are on the shoulders of others, but we are carrying others and bearing the burdens of others and serving others and not just looking out for those that are first in this world but looking out for those that are the last. Now we see Jesus put into practice what He preached. Let’s look at the story and learn the lesson from both the Jesus’ miracle and His message as He meets two men that were born deaf and blind. Here’s what the Bible says (verse 29): And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And the multitude sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Lessons from Jesus’ miracle and his message. I will give you three thoughts about this. The first comes from the word compassion that we’ve read. Jesus is compassionate even for the least and as we see Jesus’ compassion for these, we see that His servanthood is put on display. And one of the men in this story is one that has a name which you might now because in the Book of Mark he is mentioned and he is called by name. He is called Blind Bartimaeus, if you’ve ever heard that word, that’s one of these men. Bartimaeus and this other man had a very very serious problem. If you are blind in this day and time there is no disability check coming into mail, there is almost no way for you to have an income. Most of the time people who were blind were beggars. It was a very common thing for babies to be blind from birth. We don’t know if that’s how it has happened with these people, but in the birth canal bacteria can get into peoples’ eyes, i think today they still put ointment or drops in babies eyes when they are born to help with that because it’s still a problem. But if it gets in there and infects it can cause blindness and very often blind people would sit at the roadside and they would beg asking for money and that’s the only way that they could feed themselves and provide for themselves. They would be very poor. They would be outcast. And the thing about men like this is that very often “Holy Men“ in Jesus’ day, the so called “Holy Men“ would have nothing to do with people like this. Someone that was blind, that was poor, and a beggar would have issues of uncleaness and other things like that. And “Holy Men“ in Jesus’ day wouldn’t bother to be around them, to touch them, to have anything to do with them. Their thought was that if I get around them, and I may be clean or holy, then if I touch them or some of them rubs off on me, then they are going to defile me and I am going to become unholy and I am going to become unclean. So most would expect that Jesus wouldn’t have anything to do with these people, because that’s how everybody else acted. None of that. But the crowd may hearing these blind men saying “Jesus, help me!“ What do they do? “Shh. Hush. Leave him alone. Be quiet.“ You see, a lot of people would see people like this like the crowd would and say “Well, you know what? It’s just a waste of time; They are distracting Jesus; They are interupting his day.“ And the truth is, Jesus was on a mission, was He? When you see that He is down by Jericho , when you go to Jericho you always go down because it’s a very very low place, and when you go to Jerusalem you’re always going up. And that’s exactly what Jesus has done. He’s made a treck around and He’s passing through Jericho. They actually had two Jerichos in that day. You had the old city and then you had the new city that was being built right beside it and you can pass through one and go to the other. But He was on the road and on his way to Jerusalem. He had already told his disciples “I’m going to Jerusalem“. And he said it in verse 18 and 19. He said “When we go to Jerusalem, the Son of Man is going to be delivered to the chief-priest, they are going to condemn Him to death, they will scourge Him, crucify Him, mock Him, and on the third day He is going to be raised up.“ And that’s what Jesus has just told the people that are following him. So is Jesus focused? Is His mind occupied? Does He have a mission that He is on? He is doing something, right? You got a crowd of people following him, but you can feel the desperation in the cry of these blind men. Here it is that you’re sitting there by the road and you hear Jesus is coming by. You hear the miracle worker; You hear the healer; You hear the water walker; You hear the one that is feeding thousands; The one that is raising the dead has come by you today. He is near. You’ve got one hope. You’ve got one chance in your life to get some help, and He’s about to leave. “Jesus! Jesus!“ I mean you know what’s going on, right? At the top of their lungs, as loud as they can scream “Lord, Son of David!“ and they hear “Shh, hush you all.“ “No, we’re not hushing. This is it, I got one shot. He’s going to hear me or I am blind for the rest of my life. I will never have a job, I will never have a family, I will be a beggar and I will die in poverty and probably in disease. I’m going to say “Jesus, hear me and help me.“ Or I will never get any help. They are not hushing. They are screaming at the top of their lungs because they are so desperate. And what do you think Jesus would do? Well, we know what he does. He stops. You see, to Him people aren’t a bother. To Him this is ministry, this is life, helping other people while He can. He didn’t come to avoid the messy issues of life. He didn’t come to avoid people that are hurting. He didn’t come to avoid people that are in need. That is His mission. That is why He has come. So when he hears those two men cry out, think about what He does. He stops, He calls them to Himself, He speaks to them. And even in a day when other people would have nothing to do with people like this, He doesn’t just talk to them, the Bible says He touches them. Right there on the eyes, on the place where they got the issue, the disease or whatever else, His hand is on them. He is not worried about being defiled. Jesus was looking to help somebody. He was looking to minister the people. He was looking for people like this that had a need. Not the first but the last. Because now the last are going to be what? The last in this world, the poor, the blind, they are going to be first because they are coming in to the Kingdom. The last are going to be the first and very often the first are going to be the last. There is going to be a great change that’s about to take place. And people would say “No they aren not worth it.“ And Jesus said “I came to serve people. I came to help people.“ He is being a servant, He’s being a missionary, He’s being a minister. So when we see Jesus doing this we are thinking about all the lessons we can learn from Jesus. Let’s ask this question. Who are the people today that we might see that are very much the same as these people might be. Because if we see Jesus doing something like this what we got to ask ourselves is “Is this something Jesus is trying to teach us about how we can serve? Is this something Jesus is trying to teach us about what we are suposed to do and how we are supposed to view people?“ Certainly you would think of those that are handicapped, today. Those that have a need like that. They would certainly fall into this category. But I don’t think others that might have a need, maybe being hardpressed or being in a desperate situation. We might look for people like that. You might have a neighbor that’s unemployed right now. You might have a co-worker that’s a single mom with many kids and she’s struggling. You might have a place in your heart for foster children or children that don’t have a dad at home. Well you can go and help somebody like that and be in their lives and be an impact for them. You see, all around us there are people that have needs. All around us there are people that are hurting. There are people in whose lives we can be involved. And we might be tempted to think like the crowd and say “You know what? It’s just not worth it.“ Or “it’s not worth of my time.“ Or “It’s a bother to me.“ People should never be a bother to us. So here’s some lessons we can learn. Let’s never be too bussy with our lives and too focused on what we think we got to do today to stop and help somebody that has a need. Let’s not get too focused on what’s before us that we don’t look around and see the people around us. Because the truth is, you might walk behind a great ministry opportunity and miss it, because you’re so worried about the job you got in front of you and you miss the person besides you that has got the need. Don’t ever see others as not worth it or not worth your time. If people matter to God, they need to matter to us. And here is another very important lesson: Help people, even if they can never ever return your favour. Now I say this because, in our day and time, it’s like “I will scratch your back, you scratch mine.“ “I’ll do for you and you’ll do for me.“ “I’ll help you because I know somewhere down the road you’re going to help me.“ But that should never be the thing that causes us to help somebody. We need to look there and say “Is there somebody that has a need, that can never ever return the favour to me, never do for me what I am doing for them.“ And if we can reach out in love and minister their lives and serve them and help them in some kind of way expecting nothing in return. That is the essence of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Because we can never do anything for God. We can never pay God back for all He’s done for us, but He does it for us anyways, does He? God helps us anyways. God sent His son Jesus to die on a cross for us. He gave us a salvation that we can’t buy, we can’t earn. If God has done such a great thing for us like that, and we did never repay him by working it off, then certainly when we look around and see others that can’t repay us, we’ve got to say “You know what? There is an opportunity for me to be like Jesus. There is an opportunity for me to do to someone else something like what Jesus has done for me.“ That is you glorifying God in your life. Others are going to see Jesus through the way that you help somebody else and serve. I’m just going to encourage you this week to start looking around, to start keeping your eyes open for somebody that you can help, somebody that’s got a need, somebody where you can be involved in their life. And just remember what Jesus said. He said: “Whatsoever you do for the least of theese, that you do unto Me.“ When you do it, he says if you were doing it as unto the Lord. And certainly, Jesus, on judgement day, will say “Well done. You did good when you did that.“ So let’s remember that Jesus is a God full of compassion. He has compassion for the least. He is serving and his servanthood is on display. Let’s move on to the next thing that I want to remind you about. I’ve hit on this a few times already, but I want you to take note of it once again. I want you to know the prayer of faith that these men offered. Come to Jesus the way you are supposed to come to Him. They are already calling out to Him as “Lord“, they are identifying Him the way they should be as “The Son of David“ which is a recognition that He is of the line of King David and that the Messiah was always promised to come through the king that the Old Testament named David, and one of his line would eventually be the Messiah that was going to come. So when they are calling out to Him, they are really identifying Him not just as one who comes from David. The only reason you say “Son of David“ is if you are saying “Hey, I believe You are the Messiah.“ They are saying “You’re my Lord. You’re my Messiah.“ So they are doing it right when they are calling out to Him. Any time you are speaking to God is like a prayer so I’m going to take this and build on it by extension. I also think it’s wonderful that it seems like they had in their heart a faith. That they are believing Jesus for the miracle before they even saw it. You know, sometimes we say “I believe when I see it.“ But you know, there is a lot of time when we’ll never see it until we believe. We want God to do a miracle but we don’t have the faith that He can do it or that He will do it. But these have the faith. And so I am talking to you about the prayer of faith that these men cried out but here is what I want you to think about, and this is once again about how we need to ask God for things very specifically. Now, you see what happens here in verse 33. Jesus stopped and called them, and He said these words “What do you want Me to do for you?” Now again, who are we talking about over here? We’re talking about the miracle worker, right? And we are talking about two blind men that are now down in front of Him. Does anybody in here doubt what they wanted Him to do? Do you think there was any doubt whatsoever that they had one request that they could ask Jesus? “Ask Me for anything, what do you want?“ We know what they want, right? You see when you talk to Jesus, you have to ask very specifically. “This is what I am asking You to do.“ Jesus said one time “You have not, because you asked not.“ What are you in your prayer asking God to do specifically? If God saved every person you prayed for this past week by name, God saved this person, God break their heart over their sin, convict them of their loses, bring them into the Kingdom of God. With the church doubling size. Pray specifically, not “God bless.“ or “God help.“ What do you want Him to do? What do you want Jesus to do for you? You see, Jesus wants you to be clear in your mind about what you want Him to do, before he does it. Because they could be coming up asking for what? “We want some money, Jesus.“ That’s not what they wanted. If you know what you want, say it. “God, my family is not in church. I brought them up in church. They got away from you. Away from your plan. They are not walking with you Jesus. I pray that you bring them back.“ That’s a good prayer. “God, my child is sick. I am praying you heal my baby.“ That’s a good prayer. “God, I’ve got goals in my life. I can’t do this without you. I’ve got a plan and if it’s not your plan I want you to knock me off my plan and put me on your plan. But as long as I’m walking in your will, God, there is some things I am trying to achieve. I’m trying to graduate school here. God, I am trying to get an A in this class.“ What are you asking God to do in your life? “God, I am trying to get debt free. God, I’m praying you help me manage my money better. God, I pray you help me make a little bit more money. God I pray you help me be disciplined in my life.“ What are you asking God to do in your life? Where do you want to go? He wants you to think about this. He wants you to ask Him specifically. Because when He answers it, He will want you to give Him the glory and the praise for it. Because when He does it, you need to acknowledge “God, you did this.“ And if you are not asking specifically, then what are you going to thank him for? “God I pray.. You help me.“ What does that mean? Here is what it meant for them: “Jesus, I don’t want a little thing. Jesus, I want a big thing. Jesus, I want a miracle. There is nobody else that can make me see. You are the Messiah. You are the Son of David. You are the Promised One. We’ve been looking for you since Adam and Eve. Jesus, I want to see!“ He touches them, they can see. Just like that. But they had to ask before they got it. And if they hadn’t asked, they would have never gotten it. And if they hadn’t been precise, I don’t know what would have happened. He wanted them to be precise. He said very specifically, “What do you want Me to do for you?“ And I am asking you this. What is it that you want Jesus to do for you? You might have shown up today and you might be going through a crisis. You might be going through something where you start getting desperate, like these people are. And I want you to know something, Jesus is passing by. And if you get desperate and you start calling out to Him, Jesus will help you just like He helped these people. But you got to ask Him. You’ve got to come to Him. You’ve got to seek Him. You’ve got to acknowledge Him. That’s why we give invitation at the altar call. We ask people “If you want to come forth and pray, this is your time. Jesus has been passing by, He’s touched your arm. What do you want Him to do for you? Don’t wait, ask Him right now. Bow your face before Him. Come kneel at the altar. Cry out to Him. Say, “God, help me. This is what I need.“ Do you need Him to save you? Are you someone that’s not without salvation? Come, pray, ask Him. So we see that in this lesson from the miracle, the lesson from His messages, Jesus has great compassion for the last, just like He calls us to have compassion. Jesus honors a prayer of faith in our day, just like he did in that day. And the third thing that we see here, and this will be the last point, Jesus is always the cure for blindness. Now I am not just talking about the physical blindness. When we see Jesus touch these men and heal their blindness, what Jesus doees in the physical way, reaches someone and takes away the darkness of their life and gives them light, where they cannot see and then they can see; The miracle that He does in the physical world is a picture of what Jesus does all the time to us spiritually. Jesus can take a heart that is darkened by sin and blinded by Satan. He can touch that heart, open the eyes of your heart, and help you to see God for His beauty, His wonder, His amazement, His preciousness that He is. God can reveal to you who He is and how wonderful He is, so that you might respond in a way that you should respond. But we live in a world that has been blinded. 2 Corinthians, chapter 4. Let me show you a few verses here. “If our gospel is veiled,it is veiled to those who are perishing.“ Those who have something over their eyes, they can not see properly. And in case of the god of this world, who is that? That is Satan. „The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so that they might not see the light.“ Everyone is walking around in darnkess, like their eyes were closed, they can not see truth, because the god of this world blinds us to it. „So that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.“ All around this world, there are people who have never heard the gospel, and their eyes are blinded to it. But then Jesus comes along and the gospel is sheered and He touches their eyes, and they begin to see. There are some who have been touched, they have heard, they have listened, the gospel has been presented, and according to book of John, here is how many of them responded. Instead of running to the light, they shrinked back from it, because they love the darkness, because the Bible said their deeds are evil and the light exposes the evil of their deeds. So sometimes people are in darkness because they have never heard, sometimes people are in darkness because they choose to embrace the darkness instead of light. But I want to know with you, has there ever been a time where God has opened your eyes? Shown you: I am a sinner; I am wretched; I am lost; I am without Jesus; I don’t see the truth; I don’t see Jesus for His glory; I live for myself; I live for my sin; I live for things of this world; I don’t live for God. But all of a sudden, it changed. All of a sudden you started to see God’s working in your life, God’s opening your eyes, God’s touched you in such a way that you began to behold Jesus and say “I need Him, I want Him.“ You don’t figure this out on your own. You figure this out because God opened your eyes and has revealed to you. That’s how you’re able to respond. Because now you see, whereas before you were blind. Though godless world blinded your eyes Jesus is the cure for blindness. If you say that you see, whereas before you were blind. Glory to God! He did a miracle on your life, just like He did a miracle on Blind Bartimaeus’ life. And let me tell you, when He touched Bartimaeus, He didn’t just heal him phisically. Here is one verse from Mark chapter 10. After Jesus touched him He says:“Go, your faith is made, you will.“ That means he got saved. It is not just that He healed his body, but there is a deliverance there, there is a redemption. It’s not just that his faith was able to help him to see, but his faith in Jesus brought salvation to him. And that’s what happens when you cry out in faith. Jesus won’t just help you with your need, Jesus will save your soul aswell. It’s a spiritual truth. So if you are here today saying “I don’t know if I have ever seen the right way, I don’t know if I have ever cared about God in the way that I should. What I see is a life that ought to be lived for pleasure and joy.“ Maybe your heart’s desire is to live a life of drunkeness and partying and revelry and sinfulness. I’m going to tell you what, Jesus is passing by. If you say “I don’t see. I don’t see what I need to see. I’ve never chosen Jesus over something else, I’ve always chosen something else over Jesus.“ cry out and say “God help me to see. I don’t see right.“ He will look into your eyes too. That’s why He wants you to get specific. Because of this. Do you want to see? Do you really want to see or do you embrace the darkness because you choose to do evil instead of the good. If you want to see, He will show you. Jesus passes by, and they call out to Him. Today is that same day of opportunity. Jesus listens for your cry. Just like Jesus stopped for them, Jesus will stop for you. Just like Jesus honored their faith, He will honor your faith. Just like Jesus helped them, Jesus will help you. I find it very telling that Jesus, when He is on his way to the cross and He’s climbing to Jerusalem from Jericho, with all the power that He had, the kind of power and authority that can just touch a blind man and make him see. He didn’t use his powers to stop the cross from happening because that’s why He came. He came to die, to pay the price of redemption, to set your soul free from the sin that you have comitted. So, He could have stopped that but He didn’t. But when the time came to serve somebody, that’s when He used his power. That’s when he would do the miracle that needed to be done. Jesus’ miracle after the cross was his resurection. That was His saving power for you and I that would ultimately break the power of every sin and disease in our life. But He never chose to escape the cross, He only chose to help others so that their lives might be better. What is your need this morning? Is there something you are desperate for? Is there something you really really want God to do for you? Is there something that you really need to call out to God for? Maybe your eyes too are blind. Maybe you just don’t feel as if you have the faith. If you ask God for faith, to give you faith, He will help you with that. There was a lady who was born blind and deaf. Hellen Keller, most of you know her name. She was tought sign language and heard about Christ and became a Christian. She was blind, and someone asked her one time “Isn’t it terrible to be born blind?“ Here is what her response was: “It’s better to be blind and see with your heart than it is to have two good eyes and see nothing.“ Do you see what Jesus wants to do for you today? Do you see how Jesus wants you to come to Him? Do you see how Jesus says “I will help you with your need. I will help you in your desperation. Don’t miss your opportunity. Come to Me today. This will be your chance,“
Let’s pray together.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we call out to You now. Thank you for the power that is present with the Son of God: To save, to deliver, to help, to heal. Whatever our need is we know that we’ve got a God that is greater and bigger and more powerful than anything that we could bring to Him. Jesus thank you that you are the over comer. Thank you that you’ve conquered even death. Thank you Jesus that you’re alive and coming again. And we pray that as your spirit passes through our midst today, as hearts are touched, maybe some hearts today that are desperate, that need you, that need to call out for you, that need you to answer a prayer, God I am praying that You will hear them and that You will provide the miracle that they need. God we love you and we thank you for all that you do for us. God we pray to you to convict the lost, open the eyes of the blind and help them to see. We thank you for all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.