DUNCAN/The compassion of the King
If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Matthew chapter 20:29-34. God is teaching us one grand lesson in this passage. He is showing us the greatness and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ as a picture of what true kingdom greatness is. As the disciples are jostling amongst themselves to be counted great, here is Jesus ministering to outcasts. It is a picture of what true greatness is in His kingdom. But, along the way there are several other important, valuable, relevant issues that are dealt with. And I’d like to look at those as well as we consider this passage before us today. There are three things I’d like you to see today. First, we cry out to the Lord when we realize we need Him. Second, a healthy prayer life flows from a sense of need and apprehension of the Savior. Third, Jesus’ compassion and power can make us whole.
I. We Cry Out to The Lord When We Realize We Need Him.
First, if I could direct your attention to verses 29-30. We see a picture here of these two blind beggars. And they are a picture of outcasts, those who are last in the eyes of the world, those who are nobodies. They are unimportant as the world counts important. And they are in dire need. We see here a striking example of our need and a rather surprising example of faith where you might not expect it to come. And we learn from these two verses that it is those who realize themselves to be needy who cry out to the Lord for mercy.
As Jesus is passing through Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem, He is encountered by two blind men. Now Jesus was being followed by a great crowd. And the blind men perceived that Jesus was coming. Perhaps, they heard people talking about the fact that He was in the vicinity. And so, they immediately begin to cry out for mercy. And is it a picture of those who are unimportant in the society around them. And yet the Lord Jesus takes time to minister to them. Friends, in the description of these beggars, we have a picture of everyone who stands in need of the grace of Christ. This text is a mirror for us. For though we may not have physical infirmities, we all have moral and spiritual infirmities. And the Lord Jesus is the only one who can heal them. We must cry out to Him for grace if we are going to be helped in our need. These beggars, you see, are a picture of you. People need the Lord. All people need the Lord. But not all people perceive that they need the Lord. The credit to these beggars is that they knew that they needed Jesus. And the sad thing is there are many people, even in churches, that don’t know that they need Jesus. You see, the moment of greatest hope is when you realize that you are in need and you cry out for mercy to the Lord Jesus Christ. This passage is a picture of how we cry out to the Lord Jesus when we realize we need Him.
II. A Healthy Prayer Life Flows from a Sense of Need and Apprehension of The Savior
And then if you look at verse 31, we see a picture of the crowd’s callous indifference to the needs of these men. These men are crying out for help, and the people who are following Jesus are doing their best to make sure that these people don’t get to Jesus. They’re doing their best to make sure that these people are quieted, silenced, cast out. And we see the compassion of Jesus in this verse in bold contrast to the crowd’s attitude. We’re not told why the crowd reacted like this. Maybe the crowd didn’t want these two insignificant individuals bothering Jesus while he talked and walked and was on His way with this great crowd following Him. We don’t know exactly why. But, for whatever the reason, they went to these men and they sternly rebuked them. And they said, ‘You stop crying out to Him.’ But these men refused to stop crying out.
But even as the crowd told these men to be quiet, these men because they clearly sensed their need, they were not deterred from crying out to Jesus.
Let me suggest to you that in verse 31 we also see a pattern for persistent prayer for believers. We see a paradigm for Christian prayer set forth in the attitude of these men. A healthy prayer life, you see, flows from a sense of need and a sight of the savior. If you sense your need, and you have seen the savior, you’ve got the essential ingredients needed to motivate you to a healthy prayer life. Look at how these men respond to Jesus Christ. They called out to Him, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.”
III. Jesus’ Compassion and Power Can Make Us Whole
In verses 32 through 34, not only do we see this contrast between the humble greatness of Jesus who has time to minister to these outcasts even while the crowd is saying, go away. We also learn something else. That it is only Jesus’ compassion and power that can make us whole. Yes, this was a physical healing. But this is a reminder that it is only the mercy and the power of Jesus that can heal our souls. Look at the passage with me. Jesus in the midst of His own responsibility and strain. He’s on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem. He’s going to be tried. He’s going to be indicted. He’s going to be persecuted and mocked and scourged and finally crucified, dead and buried, and even under the strain of that responsibility, He stops to take time to heal these men who were so insignificant to their contemporaries. They were beggars. The lowest part of the socio-economic class. Now Jesus in this passage shows us that he is not the kind of king that that crowd was expecting. And His kingdom isn’t the kind of kingdom that that crowd was expecting. It was peopled with outcasts those who were beggars in need of His grace. And by golly, He was going to conquer the world with that kingdom. And conquer the world with that gospel.
Jesus is standing before us today. And He is saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The central problem of our life is moral need. Have you by grace felt your sin and realized your need, and cried out saying, “Lord have mercy?” If you have, you have known the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you haven’t, today is the day of salvation. Embrace the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only hope. May the Lord bless His word.