The Gospel of Luke - Part 79
Show Faith in our Problems — Luke 18:35-43
Confronted by the King — Luke 19:1-10

April 22, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

We are in chapter 18 of Luke, where Jesus teaches the Disciples about faith, and thereby teaches us about faith. In this chapter we see three different ways we should express faith in our daily lives.

  A.   Show Faith In Our   Praying
  B.   Show Faith In Our   Priorities
  C.   Show Faith In Our   Problems

Last week, we completed Part B: how we should show faith in our Priorities. We saw that we should be like a child and take everything to Jesus in Prayer. Nothing is too small or too big for God to handle.

Then we saw that true faith includes accepting Jesus as or Savior and our Lord. We need to be sure He comes first in our life. Anything that we hold as a higher priority that Jesus needs to be recognized as a problem and its priority needs to be lowered or it may even need to be removed, like the wealth of the rich young ruler.

Jesus as our Savior and Lord is a package deal. We can’t take the Savior part without also making him our Lord, our first priority. We saw lots of verses that warm us about the dangers of wealth and our stuff getting in the way of our relationship with God. By reference of what the disciples had given up, we saw that even family could be in the way, but Jesus assures us that the rewards far outweigh the costs, in this life and the future one.

C.   Show Faith In Our   Problems:

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. —Luke 18:35-43
What pops out to you as you read through this passage?

Both the disciples in the previous section and the blind man here, provide a sharp contrast to the rich young ruler's response to Jesus. These different situations really drive home the choice we have as to how we will respond to the Lord. The disciples chose to believe. The ruler chose not to believe. Now the blind man chooses to believe. The choice is ours!

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. —Luke 18:35
In Mark, we're told this man's name is Bartimaeus.
And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. —Mark 10:46
Matthew mentions two blind beggars.
And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” —Matthew 20:30
Bartimaeus may have the one who spoke to Jesus on behalf of both of them. Or maybe Bartimaeus was someone who became well-known in the early church and thus is mentioned by name.
They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” —Luke 18:37-38
Notice the contrast between how the crowd and Bartimaeus saw Jesus. To the crowd, He was just "Jesus of Nazareth" which focuses on Jesus as just a man, maybe a good teacher, maybe a prophet, but just a man. But Bartimaeus calls Him "Son of David" indicating that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

Notice, too, the similarity between what Bartimaeus said and the prayer of the tax collector in verse 13.

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ —Luke 18:13
In verse 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him.

It is always amazing to see the depth of Jesus' heart for people — whether it's a child (v.16), a rich man (v.18), or a blind beggar (v.40). There is not partiality with Jesus. He doesn't pay special attention to people because of wealth or position or appearance. Jesus cares for every person and sees worth in every person.  Wouldn't it be great if each of us and even our church had a reputation for being like Jesus in this way?

And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” —Luke 18:42
Jesus is always quick to recognize and commend faith. There are many examples of this just in Luke:
And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” —Luke 5:20

When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” —Luke 7:9

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” —Luke 7:50

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Back in our passage for this morning.
And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. —Luke 18:43
Bartimaeus' faith continues to be demonstrated by his actions when he receives his sight: The world would have seen the rich young ruler as a winner, a success. But he was a failure in the things that really matter. The world would see Bartimaeus as a loser, a failure. But he was a winner in the things that really matter!

The most haunting verse in this chapter of Luke for me is verse 8 — “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

When Jesus looks at you, does He see you living by faith? What evidence of faith does He see? When Jesus looks at our church, does He see us living by faith?  Faith is so important to the God; how important is it to you?  What steps of faith do you need to take this week:

Remember, God is not impressed with your religion; He's impressed with your faith!

Luke 19 — Confronted by the King

In each section of this chapter, we can see contrasting responses to Jesus. Some believed, some repented, some criticized, some rejected. But no one ignored him. Jesus' actions and teachings demand that we choose how we will respond to Him.

Notice, also, that Jesus asserts His kingship more openly in this chapter, through the parable He tells and through His entry into Jerusalem. By accepting the worship of the crowds, by clearing out the temple, Jesus declares more openly that He is King. Some will submit to His authority while others will reject it. But each person must choose how they will respond to the King! We are going to break this chapter down into:

  A.   Welcoming The King
  B.   Working For The King
  C.   Worshiping The King

Each of these sections addresses a misconception people had (have) about Jesus and His kingdom. We will start with:

A.   Welcoming The King:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” —Luke 19:1-10
What kind of person is God looking for? People tend to think that God is looking for religious people. But He's not; He's looking for repentant people. Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus really drives that home. The encounter with Zacchaeus is mentioned only in the Luke. The other Gospels do not include this event.  We learn a number of things about Zacchaeus in this passage:

Zacchaeus  lived in Jericho.

This is the third reference to Jericho found in the book of Luke. The previous two are in the story of the Good Samaritan, and in Luke 18 as Jesus was approaching this city:

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.” —Luke 10:30

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. —Luke 18:35
Jericho is an ancient city that is mentioned more than fifty times in the Old Testament. It is probably best known as the first city the Israelites conquered when they entered into the Promised Land (Canaan), where the walls came tumbling down, and as the home of Rahab the prostitute who protected the Jewish spies as recorded in Joshua Chapter 2.

In New Testament times, Jericho had been rebuilt a mile or so away from the original site. Herod the Great built a winter palace there with ornamental gardens. It was also famous for palm and balsam groves. These factors, along with trade routes that passed through, combined to make Jericho a prosperous city.

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector

And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. —Luke 19:2
We have talked a lot about tax collectors during this study, but the Life Application Bible Notes add more understanding:
To finance their great world empire, the Romans levied heavy taxes on all nations under their control. The Jews opposed these taxes because they supported a secular government and its pagan gods, but they were still forced to pay. Tax collectors were among the most unpopular people in Israel. Jews by birth, they chose to work for Rome and were considered traitors. Besides, it was common knowledge that tax collectors were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews. No wonder the people muttered when Jesus went home with the tax collector Zacchaeus ... In every society, certain groups of people are considered “untouchable” because of their political views, their immoral behavior, or their lifestyle. We should not give in to social pressure to avoid these people. Jesus loves them, and they need to hear his Good News. (Life Application Bible Notes)
The Ryrie Study Notes tell us that
The word chief implies that Zacchaeus was responsible for all the taxes of Jericho and had other collectors under him. (Ryrie Study Notes)
Verse 2 also tells us he was very wealthy. It is interesting to contrast the rich young ruler that we just looked at and whose wealth was his stumbling block with Zacchaeus whose wealth is not an impediment to his relationship with God. As the last chapter told us, anything is possible by God. God can use wealthy people, and does. Most of the work of the people behind the National Prayer Breakfast and the world wide outreach of that group is being done and funded by very wealthy business men who use their wealth to fund the work and the travel.

There’s a normal amount of envy that is directed toward the wealthy. However, in Zacchaeus’ case this would be compounded by hostility because how he earned his money. The presumption is that some of it came by other than legal means. He is presumed to be taking a cut of what he collected for himself.

Zacchaeus was a short man.

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. —Luke 19:3
One author said that if a modern movie included this event, then Danny DeVito might be a good choice to play Zacchaeus — short, confident, cunning. The artists’ rendering of this event that we have all seen of Zacchaeus up in the tree, out on the limb, is one that most of us remember perhaps only second to the Lord’s supper or the crucifixion. After reading this story, it is clear that the heart of Zacchaeus was right with God. That leads to the question:
And he was seeking to see who Jesus was... —Luke 19:3
Tax collectors like Zacchaeus, who verse 9 says was a Jew, were considered “sinners” as we know from verse 7, because they did not follow Jewish traditions. Yet God was at work in his heart. He was willing to climb a tree. Seeing Jesus was more important to him than what other people thought of him. When Jesus invited him down and invited Himself to stay at the house of Zacchaeus:
So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. —Luke 19:6
Why do you think it meant so much to Zacchaeus for Jesus to come to his home?

The religious Jews of Jericho shunned Zacchaeus and he probably expected the same attitude from Jesus. But Jesus is a “friend of sinners,” (thank God, literally). Instead of rejection, Zacchaeus got acceptance. Instead of an adversary Zacchaeus got a friend.

And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” —Luke 19:8
Real faith is always demonstrated by a changed life. Zacchaeus' repentance and faith are shown by this commitment he makes in front of Jesus and the crowd.

“...half my possessions to the poor” — Contrast Zacchaeus' voluntary commitments here with the response of the rich young ruler in Luke who said the price is too high.

“If I have cheated anybody ... I will pay back four times the amount.”
Restitution was clearly taught in Old Testament.
If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. —Exodus 22:1

Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the LORD, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong. But if the man has no next of kin to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for wrong shall go to the LORD for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement with which atonement is made for him. —Numbers 5:6-8
Restitution is an important part of real repentance. It's not enough just to be sorry for what I have done. I need to do what I can to make it right.
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.” —Luke 19:9
Zacchaeus wasn't saved because of what he did. He did what he did because of the work God had done in his heart. Jesus' declaration here is a public statement acknowledging what God has done in Zacchaeus' heart.

Now let’s look at some things we learn about Jesus in this passage and some things we can learn from Jesus here.

One question is: Do I have Jesus' heart for the lost?

Jesus called out:

“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” —Luke 19:5
Jesus knew Zacchaeus by name and no doubt knew everything about him. Yet when Jesus saw Zacchaeus, He didn't see a sinner to be shunned, but a sinner to be saved!

But the crowd objected:

And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” —Luke 19:7
The people, especially the religious people, were offended by Jesus' heart for sinners. They couldn't understand why He cared for people like Zacchaeus. The crux of the matter is in verse 10:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. —Luke 19:10
This is a very important verse. Jesus defines His very purpose for being on earth — to seek and to save. Notice that Jesus included “seeking” in His mission. As His disciples, it's our responsibility to “seek” the lost.

Think about ways you, we, can be doing this. We have two good examples to follow here: Zacchaeus and Jesus.

__________

Next week — we will continue in Luke 19 where we are taught about

  B.   Working For The King
  C.   Worshiping The King

Read through Luke 19 to be prepared.