Give me a word, Lord: BELIEVING WITHOUT SEEING

Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him,  “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Yesterday our sermons were on being a welcoming church. We looked at the story of Zacchaeus in the morning service, and the story of the blind man receiving his sight in the evening service. Of course, both stories are very familiar ones, and we have heard them dozens of times over our lifetime, but yesterday, we looked at them from a little bit of a different angle. Rather than looking at the healing, we looked at the welcoming of Jesus to the blind man and to Zacchaeus.

In Luke 18, we are told about a blind beggar who was sitting beside the road. This man heard the noise of the crowd passing, and he asked what was going on. The crowd told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. Immediately, the blind beggar began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The people in the crowd told him to be quiet, but this didn’t deter him. He continued to shout, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus heard him, and told the men to bring this blind beggar to him. He asked the man what he wanted, and the man replied, “I want to see!” Jesus said, “all right, receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” The man was immediately able to see, and began praising God, and everyone who saw this also began praising God.

I think that sometimes when we have been in church all of our lives, we tend to kind of glaze over when we read a story that we’ve heard so many times before, but Peeps, we can’t do this. Even if the story is one we have memorized, we must remember that it is from the infallible Word of God, and every part of the Word is important. As such, when we dig a little deeper into this old familiar passage, we can still gain some great new nuggets of truth. First, let’s look at the blind beggar. Here we have a man who has been blind likely all of his life. He couldn’t work, and he lived off of handouts from other people. He had a need, and his need was to see. In those days, afflictions such as blindness were thought to be the result of some sin in the person’s life or in the life of their parents.

Then, we see the crowd. The crowd consisted of the twelve disciples and many followers who had seen the recent miracles performed by Jesus. They were hanging close, waiting to see what He would do next. Jesus had been performing miracles. They were surrounding Jesus waiting and watching, but at the same time they were keeping the very ones who needed Christ most away from Him. This poor blind beggar was calling out to Jesus, and the crowd was ssshhhing him.

Finally, we see Jesus. Little did this crowd or blind beggar know, but Jesus was on His way to the cross. Jesus knew. He even told his trusted disciples, but they did not understand. Though He knew what pain and agony and suffering was soon coming His way, He still chose to show love to as many as possible along the way. The blind man asked what the commotion was about, and he was told that Jesus of Nazarene was coming. The crowd identified Jesus as a man for Nazareth. They didn’t acknowledge who He really was, but the blind man called him “Son of David.” He identified Jesus as the Messiah, and he begged that Jesus would show mercy on him.

Jesus knew that He was on his way to the cross. I’m quite sure that He had a whole lot on His mind. I’m sure He had a few more things that He wanted to accomplish before His earthly body departed. Yet, He heard this poor, blind beggar calling out to Him, and He listened. He didn’t ignore this man’s need. He asked what he wanted, and the man said that he wanted to see. Notice what Jesus said next. “All right. Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” Bro. Louie pointed out last night that the crowd could see Jesus, but they were blind to what was going on. Jesus had even told the twelve about the crucifixion and resurrection that was about to occur, but they didn’t comprehend what He was telling them. Even those closest to Him couldn’t see. But this blind beggar, who could not see, believed. He believed in Christ, and He believed that He could be saved. He believed without seeing.

In our culture, we put too much into the “seeing is believing” mindset. We don’t have the good fortune of walking in the crowds with Jesus. Oh, His presence is here, but we can’t physically see Him. We can, however, see the effects of His presence. The joy within each one of us should overflow and ooze from us in such a way that everyone we come in contact with sees Jesus in us. Just as the moon reflects the sun, we should reflect the Son. We need to get in God’s Word, and re-read all of these familiar stories, and re-learn how to live like Jesus. He gives so many examples, y’all. We just need to follow the lead of our Savior. He sets the example for how we as Christians should live. So many people in this world are blind. No, I’m not talking about those who are physically blind. I’m talking about the ones who are figuratively blind. They have never seen Jesus. They have never felt His love, grace, mercy, or the peace that can only be received from Christ. How are those people going to believe without seeing? They have to hear the Word. They have to see the reflection of the Son in us. Who is going to be that reflection? Who is going to share the gospel? How are they going to hear? “Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

We all are super busy. That’s a fact. But we can’t be too busy to show the love of Christ as we walk through each and every day. I’ve never seen Jesus physically, but I’ve seen Him. I see Him in my daily walk. I feel His presence. I feel a simple nudge to go in a certain direction. I hear a still small voice making me aware of those around me that are in need. Oh, I believe without seeing. Do you? If not, there is absolutely no better time than the present to believe and fully trust in our Lord and Savior. If you do believe, share the love and joy of Christ as you walk through this crazy day. Let others believe by seeing Christ in you! Don’t be too busy to be about loving others to Christ!

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