Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
In Luke Chapter 18 and at verse 31 , Jesus Christ takes the 12aside - and tells them - we are going up to Jerusalem – and in Jerusalem Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour and Lord, will be crucified.
Over these past weeks Jesus has been speaking to the crowds - and teaching the disciples. He has been healing the sick and receiving young children with open arms. We have been listening to the words of these two men who went up to the Temple - listening to the words of the rich young ruler who was so easily put off - who gave up at the first hurdle – and that man who had such potential was allowed to wander off - away from Jesus - when he was not prepared to obey Jesus.
All these things have been going on - and a lot more - so Jesus reminds his men what is top priority - Jerusalem and the Cross. If Jesus had lost sight of the Cross for one moment - then, his whole ministry would have changed – and it will be the same with us if we ever lose sight of The Cross.
If we ever think we can do things our way - if we ever think that there are other things more important - if we for a moment think that we should be concentrating upon other matters - rather than the Cross of Jesus Christ - then we are in trouble - spiritually speaking.
If we ever think we can avoid suffering and persecution and pain (in some form) - if we ever think we can busy ourselves doing things for God - and relegate Jesus to some lower position - then we have got it all wrong.
If we ever think we can work things out politically - socially - financially - and forget about our need for forgiveness and cleansing through the Blood of Jesus Christ - then, we will have got things terribly wrong.
It is so good to come to what lies right at the very heart of our Christian Faith - and that is where we are in this section of Luke’s Gospel - right at the very heart.
Jesus Christ is holding the Cross before his chosen men - and as he does so - he quotes from the Scriptures - "Everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled." I'll be handed over to the Gentiles - that is, to those who were not Jews - to the Romans - I'll be mocked - insulted - spat upon - flogged - killed - and Jesus is warning them what to expect - and us too - and three days after all that I will rise.
Jesus makes it all so clear as to what was going to happen. He sets before His men The Cross - but in the perspective of the Resurrection - in the light of his rising from the dead. Jesus always spoke about going through suffering to be victorious. Jesus always spoke about sacrifice before success - tribulation before triumph - death before resurrection - sowing before reaping - and not one disciple understood him.
Now, Jesus could not have been plainer - clearer – simpler – but a man can only understand Jesus and the Cross, when the Father reveals it. God has to come and open blind eyes and say "SEE".
God comes and says to us - Look and see what it all means - My Son dying for you - suffering for you - shedding His Blood to wash you - rising to lead you - to guide you - to give you life - to heal you - to use you - to make your life fruitful and profitable.
Can you see all that? Can you?
We often have to listen to people saying - "I just cannot see that - I just don't see the point in that – I do not see things the way you see them – I cannot see what all that will achieve."
After being with Jesus for three years - so little appeared to be getting through.
It needed a miracle - and it needs a miracle today - let's see that clearly - and let's be aware of that when we are speaking to people.
It was all hidden from them. Oh, it was revealed - the miracle did take place - but there is a lesson which we can learn here, for our comfort. God hides things at times. Truths can be so obscure for a while - and there are times when we want to say to someone - "Why can't he see that? Why is she not aware of that?"
Immediately following this conversation, they approached Jericho - and a blind man is sitting begging. Mark tells us his name is Bartimaeus. There arose a noise and Bartimaeus asked what was happening - and some said - Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Bartimaeus received his sight when he cried out to Jesus for mercy.
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, but he has time in Jericho for Bartimaeus and then that rascal Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus would never again be in Jericho – for these two it was their final opportunity.
Jesus still has time for people who cry out to him – for people in need and with needs – do not miss this opportunity.
“Loving gracious merciful God, our heavenly Father – we thank You for every opportunity You give us. We thank You for Jesus – and for the lessons taught us in these few verses. Speak to us – talk with us – challenge us in these difficult days – and use us to glorify Your Holy Name – through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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