Jesus loves us all equally. When He heals, He does so because of His compassion for each of us. In today’s reading we see Jesus heal the blind beggars in Matthew 20:34, Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. When we have faith and humble ourselves to know Jesus can and will heal us from whatever is hurting us (physically, spiritually, or emotionally), He has compassion on each of us according to His will and does not leave us in our pain. We are never alone when we have an authentic relationship with Jesus.
Jesus loves us and wants a relationship with us. And like any other relationship, it requires selflessness and an understanding that life does not necessarily get easier; though it is more fulfilling. Jesus warned His disciples of what true relationship with Him meant in Mark 10:38, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Jesus wasn’t ridiculing His disciples for asking to be at His side in glory, but He did warn them that the road to glory would not be easy. Those of us who think this life and the path to eternity exists without obstacles are fooling themselves.
Following Jesus takes some sacrifice. It is not always apparent how much we are called to sacrifice, but when the time comes, if we are faithful, our reward is great. In Matthew 19:29 Jesus says, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Ultimately, our reward is not in this life but in heaven. Holding onto earthly rewards, while fulfilling in the moment, does not last. We should always strive for rewards that last through eternity.
When we hang onto the treasures and security this world has to offer, we hold onto false assurances. In Luke 17:33 Jesus says, Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. When we abandon the values this world has to offer and look to Jesus for our identity and security, we then find true value and purpose for our existence.
The reality of who Jesus is does not depend on our belief in this truth. However, when we trust and believe in Him our faith allows us to do great things. In Luke 11:25-26 Jesus is talking to Martha about her brother Lazarus’ death, 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus asked her to trust in Him, not because He needed her faith to perform miracles, but because her faith in Him would fulfill the desires of her heart through the miracle. We see Martha’s answer to Jesus in Luke 11:27, “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” Even through her suffering, she was able to believe Jesus had the ability to do anything because of who He is. No matter how we feel, or whatever is going on in our lives, we must trust and believe that Jesus has the ability to do all things. This does not mean He will, but has the ability, and is ultimately for His glory.
Money is the great deceiver. It promises happiness and fulfillment, but often delivers neither; only God can truly do those things for us. In Luke 16:13 Jesus says, “No servant can serve two Masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.You cannot serve both God and money.” While money in and of itself is not evil, the love of money is. It can become a god that takes our attention away from serving God. If money, or the pursuit of money, keeps us from fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives, then we are focused on the wrong things. Whatever we choose to put into our lives should allow us to be more productive for the Kingdom of God, not keep us from fully serving Him.
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we tend to focus on the son who takes his inheritance and squanders it, and we pay very little attention to the older son who stayed with the father. At the end of the parable, the older son becomes upset because of all the attention the younger son receives from the father. The father addresses the older son in Luke 15:31-32, 31 ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “ Jesus was referring to the Pharisees in reference to the older son because they were against giving the inheritance of the Jews to the gentiles. But this is why Jesus came in the first place. He came to save all people who believe in Him, not just the Jews. The privilege of the Jews is because the Messiah came through Jewish lineage, not that salvation came exclusively for them.
The same thing applies to us in the modern “church”. Salvation is not exclusive to those who live righteous lives. Nowhere does Jesus say we must be righteous before we become saved. A righteous life does not exist without salvation from Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in our lives. Let us not confuse the sin in someone’s life with God’s ability to cleanse us from all unrighteousness as John wrote in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
As believers, we are supposed to be the salt of the world. Without the knowledge of God and Christ’s sacrifice, this world has no meaning or purpose, which is why that knowledge brings flavor and meaning to our existence. In Luke 14:34 Jesus says, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” Even as believers, we can lose our “saltiness” and lose our impact on this world. This is the reason why a growing and healthy relationship with God is so important. Without His presence in our lives and constant guidance, we are at risk of losing our way, and in turn, losing the impact we are supposed to have on this world.
We like to think of heaven as a continuation of what we started here on earth. But the truth is the slate will be wiped clean and those who impacted the Kingdom of God the most will be first no matter how other men viewed them here. In Luke 13:30 Jesus says, “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” Let us put God first in all we do so that we will be first in His Kingdom.