Bible Reading Day 113
Day 113 – Luke 18:18-43
Today we have three examples of Jesus getting to the heart of the matter (as He always does!).
First a religious leader asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Interestingly, Jesus starts out by challenging the man on his greeting: “why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.” In other words, are you admitting that I am God? Then, after covering the basic requirements, Jesus gets to the heart of the man: he’s a religious leader so he is rich, and that competes with his desire for eternal life. You can’t serve two masters – money that belongs to this life, and God who is preparing us for eternity. The man was sad because he was rich, and Jesus tells his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. At first glance that means it is impossible for any rich person to be saved, but that can’t be the case because Jesus does tell rich people they will be saved (most notably Zacchaeus in the next chapter). Some have invented a really small gate, known as “the eye of the needle” in the walls of Jerusalem which a camel can only traverse without baggage and down on its knees. That is a memorable illustration but it has a problem – it is not true! There is no evidence of such a gate. In fact the saying of Jesus is simply hyperbole – overstating something for the sake of making a point and driving it home. What Jesus is saying is that salvation, especially for the rich, is impossible without God’s intervention. More on this section can be found online here.
The second example of Jesus getting to the heart is when He takes His disciples aside and tells them specifically what will happen when they get to Jerusalem. Luke records how the disciples completely miss what Jesus is saying to them. This is another example of the veracity of Luke’s account – that he would include something that puts the disciples in a poor light, and that they would have the honesty to report it to him!
The third example of getting to the heart comes near Jericho, when Jesus hears the blind beggar crying out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd around him tried to silence him but he just cried out all the more. Clearly he had had enough of his isolation and enforced dependence on others. Have you noticed how Jesus treats every person as a unique individual, especially when it comes to salvation or healing? Here Jesus gets to the heart of what the man wants: “What do you want me to do for you?” It seems like an obvious question, given that the man is blind, but Jesus wants to hear from his own lips what he really wants: maybe he will ask for charity, or affirmation before his benefactors? Getting to the heart reveals what the man really wants – he wants his sight; he’s ready to take his place in society, to work rather than beg, to interact with others and end his enforced isolation. He wants to be who he was made to be. And Jesus gives him what he wants!
What do you want today? To take another step into the fullness of who you were made to be? To leave behind something that restricts you or makes you dependent on others rather than God? To receive salvation without any hindrance, as a gift of God’s grace? Jesus has the same answer for you as for the blind man: “YES!”
Have a great day!
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