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Thursday, March 9, 2017

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Sermon:  “Lord, Help Us To See”

 

Let me begin by asking this question, “Do you see Jesus in the ordinary?”

 

• Is he in your every day surroundings?

• Do you see him in others as opportunities to do good?

• Are you moved with compassion to serve them, as Jesus was, when he walked upon this earth?

 

We are going to spend most of our time together in the latter verses of Matt. 25, but let’s begin in Matt. 20:29-34.

 

It was an “ordinary day” as Jesus and his companions 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.”

 

“What do you want me to do for you?” – That was Jesus’ question to these two who were blind and helpless. Their response, “Lord, we want to have our eyes opened.”

 

That is a good place for us to begin: Do we want/need to have our eyes opened? 

 

• Are they opened to the truth of who Jesus is, and what he wants and expects of us as his followers?

• Are our eyes opened to the opportunities around us to do good and serve others?

• Do we see Jesus in the midst of our ordinary daily routines?

 

And, if we are living to be like Jesus, then are we asking, “What do you want me to do for you” to those around us who are spiritually blind and in need?

 

Jesus, on this occasion (and many others) was moved with compassion. He saw the needs of others and felt compelled to respond and offer help.

 

How do we answer the call to ministry and respond to those around us?

 

Are we asking, What do you want me to do for you?”

 

• The question causes us to focus outwardly on others.

• It gets our minds off of ourselves.

• Are we concerned with the spiritual blindness that is all around us?

• Are we moved with compassion because we live in a darkened world of sin?

 

If you don’t know how to answer in response to the question, Jesus offers one of the most sobering answers in all of scripture in Matt. 25 – and it reveals what he wants us “to see” - and what he expects from us…It is also rather eye opening! – Because it is where we find Jesus in the ordinary…

 

He is describing the judgment scene to take place, and that we will each, one day, stand before God and give an account of the deeds we have done with the time we have been granted on this earth…

 

And in that – it answers the question of what Jesus wants us to do for him – and for others. It reveals how we truly “see” life as we view those around us in need.

 

V. 31 begins, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.”

 

1. First, BE ALERT (to his coming)

 

Expect Jesus to return. Live with that expectation. It will change how you view life.

 

Scripture teaches Christ is coming again – He is coming in glory…and we better be prepared and be ready, because it will come at a time when we least expect it.

 

Jesus earlier in Matt. 25 tells the Parable of the Ten Virgins – and the point being, some will be prepared for his coming and some will not be ready.

 

In chapter 24 he speaks of the days of Noah, (v.37ff) when all were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, and the flood came upon them unexpectedly – only Noah and his family had listened to God, made preparations, and looked ahead. Their lives were spared because they saw what was coming.

 

1 Thess. 5:2-4 warns, “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;”

 

It will be an ordinary day. It will be like any other day when Jesus comes…

 

Did the two blind men Jesus passed by leaving Jericho wake up that morning with the anticipation of “seeing” – literally seeing – Jesus that day?

 

We aren’t told, but the two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"

 

They apparently made some preparation to see him. May we stay ever vigilant and ever alert as to who Jesus is, and that he is coming when we may least expect it…

 

And when he does, he will open our eyes to Eternity. We will see as we have never seen before! Be alert.

 

2. Secondly, BE AWARE (of the needs of others around you)

 

With Jesus, learn to expect the unexpected.

 

Jesus, in Matt. 25, offers the response to those who had been willing to recognize the needs of those around them and who were ready with a willingness to help…

 

…And to “see” that in serving others, in ordinary ways, they were serving him.

 

 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, `Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

 35 `For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'” Then the righteous will answer Him, `Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  38 `And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 `When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "The King will answer and say to them, `Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' 

 

The response in these verses, asked three times: “Lord, when did we SEE you…”

 

The two blind men of Matt. 20 “recognized” Jesus more quickly than many of those there who had their physical sight… “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"

 

They had a spiritual insight and “saw” him for who he was… Lord. Son of David.

 

Jesus left the throne room of Heaven to come and dwell among us.  (John 1:14)

 

Eph. 2 tells us, “Have this attitude (mind) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

 

Joseph was told, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’” Matt. 1:23.

 

Jesus chose to come to this earth and it wasn’t with fanfare, or in the form of an earthly kingdom or as a military leader, or someone with wealth, fame, and notoriety…and that isn’t where you will find him today.

 

That is why many do not “see” him today. They are looking in the wrong places.

 

Jesus is found among the homeless and the helpless, the imprisoned and the infirmed. Look in the hospital room or the nursing home, and you will come nearer finding him there, among the ordinary, than among the elegant and exquisite, or the political and the powerful.

 

He left the halls of Heaven to walk among the weak and the sinful.

 

Jesus “saw” people for who they were and what they needed.

 

But, many failed to see him for who he was… the son of God. The son of David.

 

God was in their midst, but they didn’t recognize him and accept him…

 

Jesus told the Pharisees in John 9 (after the healing of another blind man):

 

"For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, `We see,' your sin remains.”

 

The old saying, “No man is as blind is he who will not see” certainly applies to how we approach Jesus, and see (or maybe don’t see) the needs of those around us.

 

And, those needs are seen among the ordinary and in ordinary ways of serving – offering food and clothing, taking the time to visit and listen to another in need.

 

With Jesus, learn to expect the unexpected. Learn to see the unseen as you live by faith (and not be sight). 

 

Be alert to his coming... Be aware of the needs of those around you...

 

3. Lastly, BE AVAILABLE (to serve others – Do you see him in others?)

 

“Then He will also say to those on His left, `Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' 44 "Then they themselves also will answer, `Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' 45 "Then He will answer them, `Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

 

Expect to be inconvenienced and interrupted along the way if you are going to be Jesus to those around you.

 

As Jesus was leaving Jericho, the two blind men interrupted his travel itinerary.

 

The crowds sternly rebuked them and tried to push them away. But, Jesus stopped and took the time to acknowledge their needs.

 

Even those who responded to the needs of those around them in Matt. 25 did not fully comprehend and appreciate how they had been serving Christ through serving others…but, they made themselves available when there was a need.

 

The latter ones that Jesus describes in these verses were perhaps too busy and too caught up with their own agendas and interest to notice those around them. That is one of the great dangers we face while going through our day-to-day routines… and it can have eternal consequences.

 

If we are not careful, we can miss seeing Jesus. We can fail to see him in ordinary service to others, and in the lives of those around us who are in need.

 

In Mark 14:7 Jesus states, For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish, you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.” 

 

Jesus was telling them I will not always be available to you… (You find the same statement in John 12:8 after Mary had anointed his feet.)

 

Yet, in a sense, we always have Jesus with us because there will always be those who are in need and Jesus says, “to the extent that you did it (or did it not) to one of the least of these, you did it (or did it not) to Me.”

 

Do we even notice…Do we truly SEE the needs around us?

 

1 John 4 tells us we need to recognize Jesus is in our midst, he is among us – and it may be in the most obscure and unusual ways that we find him…

John begins in v. 14, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

• Do we love others? Do we “see” their needs?

• Do we make ourselves available to them?

• Do others see Christ living in us?

 

As he is, so also are we. He came and walked among men and, for the most part, they didn’t realize who he was. They refused to see him for who he was, – so they crucified him.

 

“What do you want me to do for you?” – That is the question we need to be asking ourselves in regard to Jesus and how we respond to him –

 

Are we responding to the needs of our brothers (whom we have seen) and those in the world who are spiritually blind and stumbling in the darkness of sin?

 

May we constantly, prayerfully, be asking, “Lord, we want to have our eyes opened…” to be alert to his coming, to be aware of the needs around us, and to be available to serve others when the opportunities arise.

 

In closing, Jesus in Matt. 9:35, was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

 

Jesus – seeing the people – was moved by compassion.

 

He recognized their condition. He saw their real needs.

 

They were distressed and dispirited… Has anything changed?

 

I want to challenge you this week to find those who are distressed and dispirited, blind and beaten down… and BE Christ to them… Let them SEE Christ in you…

 

• When are we going to “see” and take notice of those around us?

• Do we realize Jesus is coming soon to separate the sheep from the goats?

 

But, it is the sheep as well who need a shepherd.

 

It is our duty, as Christians, to be like Jesus and bring sight – knowledge of the word of God – to a world that is blind and lost in the darkness of sin.

 

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

 

Do you see the need for others to know Jesus, and to show them kindness and compassion, as you share the truth of his word in your ordinary, daily, routine?

 

Be alert.

Be aware.

Be available.

 

Expect him to return.

Expect the unexpected.

Expect to be inconvenienced when following Christ.

 

But, if you do those things, you can also expect to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy rest.

 

Jesus is asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” And he wants us to ask the same question to those around us who are spiritually blind.

 

Lord, we want to have our eyes opened.” Help us to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scriptures quoted from the New American Standard Version (Biblemaster.com)

 

David Robison

Kensett, Arkansas

 

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