Here are some thoughts on four people that made an impression on Jesus.
Considering the fact that Christ was perfect in all his ways, they must have been doing something right. We find them in Luke 18, begining with the Persistent Widow.
2 Jesus said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justiceagainst my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.
I have a dog named Sundance. He's a handsome, 100 pound, Labrador Retreiver. When I'm sitting comfortably to read or watch TV, he will inevitably walk over, stand directly in fron of me, and stare me in the eye. Then he walks to the back door to let me know that hewants out. At first I try to ignore him, but he will repeatedly repeat the circuit until I get up and do what he is asking. Sundance has learned how to be persistent, and he get's what he needs by doing it.
God wants us to come to him with our requests, persistently! It is true that the moment we send him a request, that is in his will, he begins to work (1John 5:14-15). Still, God loves the ongoing communication that comes with persistent prayer. He loves you, cares about your needs, and he wants to bless you. Give it time, and stay at it -- persistent people impress Jesus!
The second person we need to see in this chapter is, the Humble Tax Collector.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The self-righteous Pharisees told God, and anyone else who would listen, how good they were. As much as we disdain the Pharisees and do not want to be like them, it's remarkable how easily we can lapse into self-righteousness. My wife and I were driving this week, and the vehicle in front of me was hesitant to merge into the lane where I was headed. Within seconds I began to explain to Karen how "I" wouldn't be hesitant, and how "I" would accomplish what this "other driver" clearly could not do. My self-righteous moment was rooted in pride.
Any of us would do well to knock ourselves down a peg. Rather than proclaim our great answers, we would do well, like the Tax Collector, to be aware of our greatest problems and thus our need for God. Humility is being known for who we really are, and without Christ's salvation we are hopeless. A humble person really impresses Jesus.
There is a third type of person that we find in Luke 18, a Little Child.
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
My daughter-in-law is soon to have her first baby, and we're delighted about that! Everything about a new baby is brand new and fresh. But there is nothing that compares with the freshness of a new spirit. A little child has a spirit that is transparently pure, and they take on a sense of wonder that makes life exciting. Jesus loved having the little one's around him because of that transparency.
My 3 year-old granddaughter climbed up on my lap to ask me a question just after we had eaten a fish dinner. After she climbed down she ran to her mom and told her (with enthusiasm) that, "the inside of Grandpa's mouth stinks!"
We should strive to retain a level of childlikeness all of our days. To see the wonder of life clearly, and to receive and speak truth plainly, will help to keep us childlike and pliable as we seek to please our heavenly Father. Tansparency impresses Jesus.
There is a fourth impressive person found in this chapter, the Blind Beggar.
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
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!”
40 Jesus 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.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
I absolutely love how Jesus stopped, gave this desparate man his full attention, and asked him " what do you want me to do for you?"
Christ would ask any of us the very same question. We, like this blind beggar, are dependant on him for anything and everything that matters. The blind beggar needed to see, what is it that you need? What do you want Jesus to do for you? To conciously depend on Christ is an admirable thing. We need to lean on him, which includes his body, the church, with an ongoing realization that we cannot stand alone. We are not self-sufficient, Jesus knows this, and he is impressed by honest dependency.
So there you have them, four people who impressed Jesus. Would to God that we would learn from their example as we go deeper in our faith.
Pastor Craig Eagle