Lord's Day Evening Meditations October 19, 2003

Luke 18: 35-19:10

Gospel Meeting

The gospels contain the story of the Lord Jesus as a Man down here. As we read the gospels we are given to see Him as a Man; we can listen to Him speaking; we can observe His ways. It is a high and holy privilege to see and to hear the Person of the Son of God on the pages of this book. There is no better or higher Person to occupy our minds or our time this evening. This is one of the wonders of the Word of God, that it presents to us the Son of God.

Here we have two men who came in contact with the Lord Jesus. I'm not sure about the blind man, but probably for him as well as Zacchæus it was the first time. The Lord was on His way to Jerusalem where in a few days He would be hung up on the cross. If they had missed that opportunity they wouldn't have had another one. The blind man didn't know this, and Zacchæus didn't either, but we know it now. That is the way that it is for us - the Lord Jesus is going by tonight, and it could be the last time. We don't know when the last time will be, but there will be a last time. The reason for the delay is that there are still more to be called in to be saved. The Holy Spirit is down here gathering a bride for the Son of God. When the last one is in, the door will be closed, and the Lord will come to take His people home to Himself. The time of the assembly's presence on earth will have ended and there will be a drastic change in conditions on earth - the time of judgment will begin. These two men had their last opportunity. What a clear warning for those who do not know the Lord today!

That blind man is a picture of deep misery: blindness, poverty, hunger, hopelessness. Zacchæus presents a very different picture with his wealth and high position. Society has arranged itself into different levels, and here we have a range that goes from the lowest to the highest. Everyone, in all the different social conditions and standards, is included in this picture. And there is one way in which both these men were alike: they were both without Christ. We would think that Zacchæus with all his wealth would be a happy man. Well, we can see that he felt there was something missing; he had an emptiness inside that his money couldn't satisfy. Years ago a brother used to visit a rich men's club in Montreal to bring the gospel to the men there. One man told him once, "Stanley, I think that you feel sorry for us poor rich men." Doesn't that reveal something?

In the end of chapter 16 of Luke we again see two men: Lazarus, a beggar, and a rich man. They both died, and then who was rich? The beggar, the believer, became rich in heaven, and the rich man became the beggar in hell, begging for mercy. In this life, the poor man is usually the better off because he at least can realize his need. The rich man has all that this world can give him and so he feels self-satisfied and does not realize his need of the Saviour. He thinks that he is alright, even without Christ, but is he? Years ago, in London, England, social conditions were much like we see here; there were no social programs, and there was much poverty and suffering. A believer found a widow, dying on an attic floor.

In the heart of London city,

Midst the dwellings of the poor,

These bright, golden words were uttered,

"I have Christ, what want I more."

By a lonely dying widow

Stretched upon a garret floor,

Having not one earthly comfort,

"I have Christ, what want I more."

He who heard them went to fetch her

Something from this world's great store.

It was needless; died she saying,

"I have Christ, what want I more."

Can you say, "I have Christ, what want I more?" People stand in line, waiting to buy lottery tickets, hoping to win millions. Let them win their millions; that is still nothing compared to having Christ, and everything in Him. Last weekend three readings were taken up with the subject of the blessings of belonging to Christ, yet we hardly touched it. Zacchæus felt his need, felt that there was something missing, and if you don't have Christ, you have something missing also, the most important thing of all.

When the blind man heard the crowd going by and asked what it meant, he was told "that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by." The name "Jesus of Nazareth" was one of reproach. But the blind man didn't use that name; he cried, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" He gave Him his name of glory and authority. I don't know how he knew that, but we know that he had faith, and faith makes us understand many things. Another thing that the blind man knew was his need. Do you know your need? The Lord

Waits to be gracious, to pardon and heal

All who their sin and their wretchedness feel.

Have you cried out to the Lord, "Have mercy on me"? Many feel that they are good enough, and so they don't need the Lord. Well, that is sad, "for the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10.

The story of these two men illustrates a very real difficulty in the gospel. When the blind man started to call on the Lord, "They … rebuked him." Probably, in plain language, they told him to shut up. When Zacchæus wanted to see the Lord, he couldn't because he was too short to see over the crowd. When a person begins to sense his need and wants to turn to the Lord, you can be sure that Satan will be right there to put up every possible hindrance. There is family, there are friends, there is work, there is lack of time, etc., etc. These two men didn't let anything stop them from coming to the Lord Jesus. Look at Luke 13:24. "Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Does that mean that being saved is a difficult thing that requires time and effort? No, because it is only a step into the door; salvation is free and can be yours in a moment. It is not stepping in the door that is difficult; it is getting to it. As we said, Satan will do everything to hinder you from taking the matter of your soul's salvation seriously. If his other hindrances don't work, then he says, "There's no hurry; you have lots of time. Later will be good enough," and if you listen to that you will find yourself among those who are trying to get in after the door is closed - forever too late! Follow the example of this blind man and of Zacchæus. They were determined, and they got the blessing.

"And Jesus stood." It is wonderful to see the Lord of glory, the Creator, the Almighty, stop at the cry of a poor, blind beggar. He is still the same all-glorious, all-powerful Saviour and He is waiting to hear and to answer the feeblest cry of the feeblest sinner who feels his need. And when the blind man's eyes were opened, who do you think was the first person he saw? Why, it would be the Person of Christ standing there before him! What an Object for the first sight of his eyes! Dear friend, if you haven't seen the Lord, you are still blind, still lost in your sins. The Lord's words were, "Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee." By this we know that he didn't only get sight for his eyes, he was saved as well.

Then what did he do? Did he say, "Thank you, Lord," and go home? No. "He received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God." When the Lord saves our souls, it isn't only to save us from hell, or to take us to heaven. He wants companions who will follow Him. He called His disciples, and He calls us: "Follow Me." When He chose His twelve disciples, it was not only to have them serve and preach; it was also "that they should be with Him." Mark 3:14. He wanted companions, and He wants our companionship also, to walk in communion with Him daily, as well as to serve Him to the glory of God.

As to Zacchæus, he was saved that day, and we know that he was a changed man from that day onward. Both these men had their hearts and their lives changed the day they met the Lord. Have you met Him yet? If not you are lost, but as someone has said, "A seeking sinner and a seeking Saviour don't take long to meet." S.L.