How Do You Know When You Need Help

Title: How Do You Know When You Need Help

Bible Book: Luke 18 : 35-43

Author: Frank Page

Subject: America; Election Day



Listen to this story.

A police officer arrives at the scene of an accident to find a car smashed into a tree. The officer rushes over to the vehicle and asked the driver, "Are you seriously hurt?"

"How should I know?" the driver responds. "I am not a lawyer!"

Seriously, how do you know when you need help? This week, my grandson, Zachary, hit his head on some concrete and my daughter immediately called me to ask me if she needed to take him to the doctor. I responded that I could not see the boy so I could not make that kind of judgment. How do you know when you really need serious help?

Do you think our country is in need of help? Obviously the signs are clear that we are in a time of great transition, distress, and even fear.

I want to read a passage to you today which powerfully portrays a call for help. I see in it a parallel to our own day and time both politically and economically. In fact, I believe the parallel is profound.

Turn with me to Luke 18:35-43. Can you imagine this situation? In twenty first century America, it is hard to imagine the situation that beggars found themselves in. I have been to many countries including even this year in both Vietnam and Mexico and have seen beggars on the street. While there is no doubt that any person who has to reach this point in his or her life is in a terrible situation. The situation in first century Israel would have been far worse.

I. We See The Pessimsim, Even Desperation Of This Situation (vs. 35-36).

Jesus was traveling through the city of Jericho. This ancient city, one of the oldest in the world, was a place that Jesus often passed through in His journey between Galilee and Judea. In the midst of one of the most inhospitable deserts in the world, it is a literal oasis as it is fed by a major spring from up

in the mountains. Today, Jericho is primarily a Palestinian enclave but is surrounded by rich groves of citrus, date, and banana plantations.

Can you imagine the scene as Jesus comes into town? People were talking about him. A crowd of followers always attached themselves to Him. The man is blind, but he is not deaf or unaware of what is happening around him. He is aware that there is a different kind of energy level in the air. He can sense that something different is happening. Perhaps he was sitting with another beggar or other beggars and they began to discuss what was happening. They couldn't see but they knew that the people were very excited about something. Had he ever heard about Jesus? I believe that he had and we will see that in just a moment. Naturally curious, he calls out and asks why the crowd is so excited. He wants to know what is going on. Here was a man in a desperate situation who probably had become very pessimistic over the years. All he could hope for was the kindness of a passerby to throw something his way so that he might be able to eat that day. He was probably used to living outdoors so he knew that life had little to offer him. Never able to see the stars at night nor the beautiful outdoors in the daytime, he lived in a world of darkness and add to that a world of poverty and most likely a lack of meaningful relationships. It was truly a scene of desperation.

II. We Also See Promise And Possibililty (v.37).

When the blind man asked what was happening, he was immediately told, either by the passersby or by his own friends or friend that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Like a match in a dry forest, this blind man's memory must have sprung to life. I believe that he had heard about this mysterious man, this possible deliverer. Perhaps he had heard about Jesus' healing of others. Perhaps he had heard of how Jesus treated people like him. Maybe he saw this as a once in a lifetime possibility or chance that life could turn out better for him. Matthew's gospel tells us that there were two blind beggars who met Jesus as he left Jericho (Matthew 20:29-30), but Luke here only tells us about this one blind beggar.

III. We See Passion, Even Determination (vs. 38-39).

The scene that we see here is one of great excitement. This blind man begins calling out, even shouting. He calls out and begs for Jesus to have mercy on him. He uses the messianic title indicating that he did know about Jesus. Perhaps he had heard as a little boy in synagogue school that according to Isaiah 35:5 that the Messiah could give sight to the blind.

Just imagine the scene. Here this man begins to scream to Jesus as He passes by. Those who were with Jesus, perhaps even Jesus' own disciples, told him to be quiet. Perhaps his own blind friend or friends told him to be quiet. Jesus was an important man and didn't need to be bothered by someone of such a low position as this blind man. Out of respect for Jesus or out of a desire to keep Him moving along, there was an insistent request that this blind man cease His screaming. I can  just imagine him turning to his friend and saying something like, "This is the one chance that I have in my life, do you think I am going to let this chance go by?" I am sure that emotions of desperation were flowing through this man's life. Here he had one chance for help. There was desperation, but there was also determination, even passion in this man's entreaty.

What would you have done? Would your timidity have stopped you? Would you have allowed those who were shouting for him to be quiet to have succeeded?

IV. We See the Achieving of Purpose, We See Deliverance (vs.40-43).

The shouting of the man reached the ears of Jesus. Jesus ordered the man to be brought to him and then asked what seems to be a needless, maybe even a ridiculous question. Why did Jesus ask that?

I know this. Jesus likes to hear us talk to Him. He likes to hear us verbalize our heart's desire. He wants to know if we are serious about what we wish for, need, or yearn for. Jesus responded to this man's request. It was simple and clear. It is obvious that there was more than a physical healing or transaction here. There was a coming to faith on the part of this man. In fact, in the response of our Lord Jesus, we see that truth. Jesus responded to his faith and healed him, and what a change took place! He went from darkness to light, from begging to following Jesus, and from crying to praisingthe Lord. He joined the crowd going to Jerusalem and lifted his and their voices in praising the Lord.

 Don't you know that he turned back to his friend and said, "I told you I was not going to let this moment go by." Just think what I would have missed out on. Look at this sky, look at the trees, and look at Jesus.

We also see the wonderful purpose manifest as the last part of verse 33 tells us of how this became a witness to the people and they too praised God.

Isn't this a great passage? There was pessimism, promise, passion, and the discovery of purpose. Another way to say it is there was desperation, a deliverer, a determination, and finally a deliverance.

As I stated earlier, I see in this passage a parallel in many people's lives as many people are desperate even when they may not know it. For those lost in sin, in bondage by sin, don't you see the same pattern of pessimism, promise in Christ, passionate determination to get help and deliverance or the finding of purpose in Christ? This ought to be the testimony of every person who has reached out to Christ for help in his or her life. Is that where you are today? Are you desperate for help? Are you looking to the right source for help? Are you in faith reaching out to Christ? God will hear. God will deliver.

I also see this passage as a powerful parallel to our nation politically and economically. Do we not live in a day of pessimism and desperation? It goes without saying how desperately we wish for our nation to look to Jesus for promise, for deliverance. How desperately we need our leaders and all of our people to be determined in their passion to seek Christ.

I have steadfastly kept political discussions out of this platform and will do so today. However, as this week is such an important week, let me beg of you to pray like never before for our nation. If there were ever a time when we need a passionate, determined calling unto the Lord Jesus, it is now.

Yes, I want a president, as well as congressmen and women who will do the following things. I want our president to protect the unborn and protect the poor. I want our president to protect our nation but also the hurting people in our nation. I want a president who will follow Jesus, not a party's platform, nor special interest pressures, nor a humanistic philosophy which dominates the media and our culture. I want a president and leaders who will call on Jesus for advice and counsel.

Then I believe we will see deliverance and God's people will praise the Lord when they see the hand of God at work. Is that not what you wish? This passage points to Jesus. He is our only hope. He is the only hope for your life, for your family, for our church, and for our nation.

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