Sunday we hosted our first Driving Disciples reunion at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church. Mr. Austin led the Youth Service, giving a wonderful message from Luke 18:35-43. We are featuring this message as a devotional below and in our first ever Driving Disciples Newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
If you missed the reunion, don't worry, we are planning another reunion this fall. We can't reveal all the details yet, but it will involve an Island Green, fundraising for our first Christmas Mission Project and more! Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to stay tuned!
"What do you want me to do for you?" -Luke 18:41
With the new school year starting next week for many, Mr. Austin posed the question: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What do you want out of the school year? What grades do you want? What do you want from your friendships? What do you want for your golf game? Etc.
Are you like the blind man in Luke 18? Do you feel like an outsider? Better yet, even though you can't see Jesus, do you have the faith to ask Him for what you want?
Open your Driving Disciples Bibles to page 1119 and read A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight, from Luke 18:35-43.
"Jesus was approaching Jericho. A blind man was sitting by the side of the road begging. -Luke 18:35
In the very first verse of this historical account, we are given the insight that the blind man in this story is outside of the city of Jericho. Not inside the city where he would likely be safer or surrounded by more people with the opportunity for more charitable giving. Scholars believe this beggar was so unwanted by Jericho's citizens, that he was banished to the other side of the city walls. A true outsider.
"The blind man heard the crowd going by. He asked what was happening. They told him, 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.' So the blind man called out, 'Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!' Those who led the way commanded him to stop. They told him to be quiet. But he shouted even louder, 'Son of David! Have mercy on me!'" -Luke 18:36-39
This man may have been blind but he was wise. He knew of God's promise from the Old Testament, that the Messiah would come from David's lineage. This man may not have been able to see Jesus but he believed he was the Son of God, able to restore his sight.
We too are like the blind man, unable to see Jesus but armed with the faith that he is always with us.
"Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see." -Hebrews 11:1
It is because of his faith, the blind man was given back his sight. The man didn't care that the crowd was annoyed by him. He didn't care that the crowd saw him as an outsider. He was so sure about the love and the power of Jesus, he cried out to him anyway.
It was this beggar's act of faith that caused the crowd to change their tune. They no longer focused on pushing the beggar away, but instead turned their attention toward God.
"Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.' Right away he could see. He followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God." -Luke 18:42-43
Sometimes we might feel like others push us away because we believe in Jesus. Sometimes we feel like an outsider. But if we believe, no matter what; if we show our faith through our actions, loving others, being kind, we too can turn the attention of others toward Jesus.
So maybe you answered the original question at the beginning of this devotional by saying, "What I want is to not feel like an outsider." Or maybe you said something more like, "What I want is to have a successful school year, where I get good grades or am the star of my sports team."
Either way, putting your faith in Jesus, going to him in prayer, having the faith to ask him for these things and giving him the credit if they happen, will lead to good, like we saw in this story of A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight.
[Devotional adapted from Austin Altwies' sermon on August 7th, 2022 at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church Youth Service.]