He Shouted All the More

35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39Those 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!” 40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41″What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God (Luke 18:35-43).

This blind man must have heard testimony about Jesus at some time because, when he was told it was Jesus of Nazareth, his response was to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 38). Even though he was told it was Jesus of Nazareth, he did not call Him by that name. He cried out to Jesus as the Son of David, a title for the Messiah (Messiah is the Hebrew word for Christ; it means God’s Anointed One). He began to cry out for mercy:

39Those 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!” (Luke 18:39).

The blind man could not be kept quiet by those around Christ! There will always be those who do not want us to get excited about Jesus and His Word, they would seek to quieten us down from calling upon Him. Some on the outskirts of the crowd could not hear the master teach over the beggar’s shouting. They rebuked him and told him to be quiet, possibly because they thought he wanted money from Jesus. Decide now not to listen to those voices. This blind man could not be quieted down. A different Greek word is used the second time. In verse 39 it is translated: “he shouted all the more” (v. 39). The Greek word translated as “shouted all the more,” is krazō, which means to scream or shriek.[1] In his desperation he began to loudly scream out to the Lord. The tense of the Greek also brings out the fact that he kept on shouting and screaming. He would not shut up.

The picture we get is of a man going crazy with emotion. There is desperation behind the blind man’s voice. It is very likely that he had heard of Christ and His power beforehand but had never got the opportunity to call upon Him. In hearing testimony from others about Christ, he had concluded that this was the prophesied Messiah, the Son of David. He had decided that he would not miss any opportunity if Messiah showed up. The Spirit had already been working in his heart to produce faith for when the opportunity came. If there was ever a picture of one who sought for Christ with all his heart this was it. The blind man had this one opportunity and he was not going to let Jesus go by without doing all in his power to get his need met. He began to call out to the Lord with his whole heart and voice, just as the Spirit has told us in the Book of Psalms: “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). This calling out to the Lord when in trouble is not something that we should allow to lightly pass us by, because there is great spiritual truth set out plainly before us. This is not just regular prayer, but a deep crying out in distress and anguish of soul. 16As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. 17Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice (Psalm 55:16-17).

Leonard Ravenhill, the Bible teacher, has said that God doesn’t answer prayer, He answers desperate prayer! I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement, but there is a truth that is worth extracting from the quote. Desperate prayer touches the compassionate heart of God. Again, and again, we read of encouragement to cry out to God just as the blind beggar did. For instance, in all the troubles that King David went through at the hands of King Saul, the Lord taught him to call and cry out to Him: “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6). We see example after example in the Gospels of desperate people getting their need met by Jesus. How about you? Jesus is passing by—are you going to remain quiet, or are you willing to call out to Him with all your heart and soul. Keith Thomas

[1] e.Sword.com

What Does Your Faith in Christ Cost You?

If you would walk a godly life in Christ Jesus there will be a cost. Many of us in the West have known little cost to taking the path of discipleship. But if we are to be disciples of the Lord Jesus there will be times of challenge to our faith. The Lord, the Vinedresser of His vineyard will make it so:

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15:1-2).

Your faith will be challenged. Ask God for sensitivity so that you will know and realize the challenge when it comes. The challenge will be for you to compromise and take a side path rather than the highway of holiness to God. For instance, when Sadhu Sundar Singh of India was converted to Christ from his family religion of Sikhism, he was immediately challenged to compromise and leave the path of faith in Christ. When he told his father of his having seen Jesus Christ, his father said, “don’t bring disgrace on your family by joining those dirty outcastes,” referring to the fact that the gospel had taken hold among the lower caste system in India. The local Christians were mostly of the sweeper castes that did all the dirty work in the village. How could Sundar bring such shame to his family by becoming one of them? His friends in the gang that he was a part of, threw muck at him and rejected him from the group. He no longer could eat meals with his family and was told to eat outside.

After all kinds of pressure on him to abandon his faith, his uncle took him down into a deep cellar, and opened an iron box filled with money and precious jewels. His uncle promised that it would all be Sundar’s, if only he would abandon his faith in Christ and return to the religion of his family. Sundar refused to abandon Christ. He knew he had to do something that would release him from these daily trials and attacks to turn him from the faith. One day, he went out and cut off all his hair. To a Sikh in the Punjab region of India, long hair was the chief of the Five Signs, his glory, the Kev which he wore tied in a knob at the top of his head.

The shock and horror of his family at this act knew no bounds. His father ordered him out of the family. He had to sleep the night under a tree. He knew he had to leave, but before he left, his sister-in-law, unsmiling, put some food out under the verandah, the place where outcastes were allowed to eat, and indicated that it was for him. After eating the food, he left to see a local Presbyterian pastor. When he got there he began to have violent spasms of pain. He had been poisoned by his family! Later he found out that his only Christian friend, one that had also been converted from Sikhism, had also been poisoned and had died. The doctor came quickly but said that the amount of poison he had could not be stopped. He left him to die. The doctor could do nothing. Sundar turned to the scriptures and read aloud the passage:

17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18).

 The next morning, to the doctor’s amazement, Sundar was completely well. The Lord had healed him. The doctor, for the first time, read the New Testament and a complete turnaround came to him from that point. For Sundar, this time was full of joy at the working of the Lord in his life. The peace of Christ was with him and he was free of religion full of ritual to a true relationship with Christ. How about you, dear reader, is your relationship with God something real? Get the real thing—faith in Christ.

Keith Thomas

The Deliverance of the Syro-Phoenician’s Daughter

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew 15:21-28).

Jesus responded to the woman by not answering her. When prayers that you pray are seemingly not heard, it is wise to persist. This woman persisted for her child. Even the disciples came and complained about her incessant cries, heartlessly telling Jesus, in front of the woman, to send her away. Let’s get the picture clear in our minds of what was happening here. This woman went to the disciples seeking help. The disciples moaned to Jesus about her in order to “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us” (verse 23). When they showed no apparent desire to help her, she came to Jesus. I know it seems strange for our Lord, but Jesus didn’t say a word. Jesus finally spoke into the situation by telling her that His primary mission was to go first to the Jewish people.

Instead of going away, she came closer: 25 “The woman came and knelt before him” (v.25). She would not be put off! She must have been even more deflated when Jesus told her that it was not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (Verse 26). I have to believe that there was a twinkle in His eye and a loving smile on His face when He said it because her response was one of great faith, which was surely what He was looking for. Faith honors and pleases God more than anything else (Hebrews 11:6). How delighted He was at her response! Her daughter’s deliverance and healing was given at that very instant. How often we don’t get what we want from Him simply because we don’t persist in going beyond seeming barriers to what we need from the hand of God.

To what was Jesus referring when He talked about the “children’s bread?” (Verse 26). Bread is a word that is used in Scripture to describe the staple food of the day. “Give us this day our daily bread” is what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps, if Jesus had been teaching the Lord’s Prayer to Asian people, He might have said, “Give us this day our daily rice.” How do we interpret what Jesus is saying to the woman? Surely, He is intimating that the supernatural works of power, deliverance, and healing is the staple bread of children of God. She wasn’t a child of God because she wasn’t born an Israelite, although since the cross, any Gentile can become a child of God through faith in the finished work of Christ. At that time, the woman didn’t qualify for the children’s bread, i.e. the staple food of being in covenant relationship to the King of Heaven.

If you are a child of God by faith in Christ, you do qualify for the children’s bread! You are under the covenant of God. The manifestation of the Spirit’s work is available to each blood-bought child of God. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). If this woman, who was outside the family of faith, can appeal to the King of Kings for her need for the miraculous power of God to be manifest, how much more should the child of God ask and receive? The problem is not on God’s end. Demons shudder every time a child of God begins to pray asking God to move in a supernatural way. When you begin to pray, all hell breaks loose to hinder your prayer life, but we must persist in prayer as the woman in the story did. Once a child of God really begins to see what power and authority is available to him, the demons and their deceptive game of keeping him believing that he has no power and authority is over. Power and authority over demons is one’s right as a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Keith Thomas

The Raising of Lazarus

38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:38-44).

Jesus commanded the disciples and those gathered there to roll back the stone from the entrance. Martha, still unbelieving, complained that the smell of death would be very strong since Lazarus had been dead for four days. I wonder if there was an odor coming from the tomb? There couldn’t have been an airtight seal on the door; it was only a rock-hewn door. We must ask ourselves at what point did the miracle take place? As they moved back the stone, it is highly likely that there was still the stench of death coming from the tomb. After Lazarus had come back to life, we are told that many of the Jews who were there to witness this miracle, put their faith in Him. The Lord looked up to heaven and prayed to His Father, before calling out to Lazarus with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (verse 43). If He did not refer to Lazarus by name, those Jews may have witnessed all those who were dead in the vicinity coming out of the graves, back from the dead!

Can you imagine looking at the crowd around the tomb at that moment? As we look at the faces of those who heard the commanding words of Jesus, what do you think they were thinking? It’s easy for us because we know the details. We already know the end of this story. But for them, when they heard the command of Jesus, I’m sure there were plenty who smelled death and scoffed at the thought of Lazarus coming out of that tomb. One thing is sure, when Lazarus stood at the door there were gasps of astonishment, and screams of delight. Death had been conquered! We have a Savior that conquers death and the grave!

It would have been difficult for Lazarus to stand, let alone walk due to the bandage-like wrappings that were around him. The Israelites at the time were not practitioners of Egyptian embalming techniques; the bodies were allowed to decompose. What they did do, however, was to wrap the body in aromatic spices. Merrill Tenney, in his book, The Reality of the Resurrection, tells us about the customary procedure for the burial:

The body was usually washed and straightened, and then bandaged tightly from the armpits to the ankles in strips of linen about a foot wide. Aromatic spices, often of a gummy consistency, were placed between the wrappings or folds. They served partially as a cement to glue the cloth wrappings into a solid covering. When the body was thus encased, a square piece of cloth was wrapped around the head and tied under the chin to keep the lower jaw from sagging.[1]

Afterwards, I wish John had told us more about the celebration back at Martha’s. Instead of reminiscing about the life of Lazarus, they are avidly listening to his experience of dying and being with the Lord in heaven. I wish that I could have been a “fly on the wall” at that party! I would have loved to hear their conversation, see the relief and delight of the sisters as they wept and embraced their brother, recounting the whole episode from the time they thought they had lost him for good, to the time when he came forth at Jesus’ command. I’m sure there was quite a praise party to the Lord. It will be the same for us at the resurrection of the saints, we will look upon the face of Jesus, when we too are raised from the dead. What a day that will be! I hope you are living for that day! Keith Thomas

[1] Merril C. Tenney, The Reality of the Resurrection (New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963, Page 117.

The Healing of the Blind Man, Bartimaeus

35As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 41“What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, I want to regain my sight!” 42And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God (Luke 19:35-43).

He must have heard testimony about Jesus at some time, because when he was told it was Jesus of Nazareth, his response was to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Notice that he called Him the Son of David, a title for the Messiah (Messiah is the Hebrew word for Christ; it means God’s Anointed One).

Mark, in his gospel, tells us that the blind man’s name was Bartimaeus. Faith and desperation rose up within him as he shouted out to Jesus. Some on the outskirts of the crowd could not hear the master teach over the beggar’s shouting, so they rebuked him and told him to be quiet, possibly because they thought he wanted money from Jesus. Bartimaeus could not be kept quiet by those around Christ. A different Greek word is used the second time he shouted, in verse 39, it is translated: “he shouted all the more,” the Greek word used is krazō, which means to scream or shriek.[1] The tense of the Greek brings out the fact that he kept on shouting and screaming. He would not shut up. The picture we get is of a man going crazy with emotion. There is desperation behind Bartimaeus’ voice. If there was ever a picture of one that sought Christ with all of his heart, this was it. Bartimaeus’ had this one opportunity and he was not going to let Jesus go by without doing all in his power to get his need met.

If you saw Jesus walking by today, would you scream your need? If not, what would hold you back? Whatever Jesus was teaching while walking, it was forgotten due to a persons need. Don’t ever think that Jesus does not have time for you in your need. He cares and will hear your cry if you will seek Him with all your heart. As people led him stumbling to Jesus, it was pretty obvious what his need was, so why did Jesus ask him what he wanted?

Often Christ waits for us to put into words exactly what we want. He is looking to see how much of our heart is in what we desire Him to do for us. Fervency of heart is something that Bartimaeus had. The ability to call and not be put off by distractions, people, and things, is of the essence in a prayer life that is effective. Jesus found a man in great need and He would not pass by. When the man voiced his need to the Lord, the immediate words in response were: “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (Verse 42).

It’s not faith in faith that healed Bartimaeus, it is faith in Christ. His faith was expressed not only through his actions by coming to Christ, but also by his ability to not be put off. There was a mixture of faith in his words, his acts, and his passion or fervency. All He waits for is your heart felt call, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Would you tell Him your need today? He hasn’t changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What He did for Bartimaeus, He can do for you. When Jesus had finished saying the words, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you,” the blind man’s eyes were opened to see…The Savior of the World, Jesus, God in the flesh. Wouldn’t that be awesome! Imagine with me, many of us reading these words, will one day have eyes of flesh close for the last time, and spiritual eyes open to the same sight, Jesus the Christ. We will gaze on His loveliness and majesty, and all the pain of this life will be gone. What an awesome day that will be! Keith Thomas

[1] e.Sword.com