Poor Man, Rich man – Part 1 – Luke 18 verses 35 – 43

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Luke 18 v 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Previously the question was, “who gets into the kingdom of God?” The disciples were astonished that the rich ruler turned away from eternal life because he preferred his riches. It was probably the first time they were ever confronted with the fact that being rich did not automatically qualify one for heaven. But now here are two stories which illustrate the truth of Jesus’ words in Luke 18 v 27. “What is impossible with man is possible with God” These two stories show both a poor man and a rich man being welcomed into God’s Kingdom. Neither of them was better than the other and both needed salvation.

It is a good thing to remember that notwithstanding the fact that the world is full of beggars, begging in itself is always degrading to the human being. We have become so used to it that we simply accept begging as a fact of life. But we should remember that the fact that people beg is yet another sign of our fallen human condition. It is part of the overall suffering of the human race. We should of course, always pity beggars and no doubt they will be with us till the Lord returns. But it was not what God intended when He created human beings.

Now how had this poor man’s heart been enlightened enough to know that Jesus of Nazareth was the answer to his problem? We are not told, but he had apparently heard a lot about Jesus and discerned in Jesus the Royal Messianic Son of David. This was quite an amazing insight.

When he first cried out to Jesus ( Luke 18 v 38) the crowd was angry with him and tried to silence him. This helps us to recall the persistent widow in Chapter 18 v 3 who kept on asking for justice. So too this blind man kept appealing to Jesus and the King gave him his request. He never needed to beg again for his appeal to Jesus was heard and he was given back his dignity and independence.

In the parable about the unjust judge, Jesus ended with a reference to the coming glory of His return. (Chapter 18 v 8 ). That reference would include the glory of the coming of the great Son of Man. But imagine what this blind man saw when his eyes were opened.

He did not see the Son of Man in glory and furthermore there was not an angel in sight. There was no king – like figure dressed in royal robes with a great entourage of people escorting him to his throne. Instead, the first person he saw as his eyes were opened was a dusty traveller on his way to Jerusalem to be rejected, mocked, spat upon, scourged and killed. But this was nevertheless the true Son of David and the blind man was glad to follow him.

Think of this. If Jesus did not come near enough to us all for him to be spat upon, he might never have been near enough to hear the blind man’s cry. But he did come. He was the King who came to serve us and save us, and he continues to serve us even now that He is in glory.

So this poor blind man became rich by experiencing the grace of Christ. And that is what Jesus come to do for us. He became poor for our sakes, so that we through His poverty might become rich.

Here is an example of one who gets to heaven – a poor man – seriously disadvantaged, and if we become poor in spirit and see our own sinfulness, it is certain that we too will become children of the Kingdom.

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