Not Worthy Of Attention

Jesus has gone to Capernaum, no doubt led by His Father, for He only does what He sees His heavenly father doing, as you can read in John 5:19

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself, He can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

You can find the reason for His going to Capernaum in Luke 7:1-3

When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. There a Centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The Centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant.

The Centurion is a Roman soldier and, therefore, not one of the Jewish chosen people. One of his servants is very ill and is, in fact, on the point of dying. What is he to do? He has done everything possible so far and no medicine has worked. He is really at his wit’s end. But then he learns that Jesus has entered Capernaum and he has heard that this Jesus can, and does, heal people. It is true, he, as a Roman citizen does not belong to the Jewish people and Jesus’ ministry is always among Jewish people. However, his situation is very desperate, for his servant is near death. Perhaps Jesus may have mercy upon him, and will come to see his servant, even though he is not worthy to receive Him in his home, as an unclean Gentile. Not feeling worthy even to speak to Jesus in person, he asks some of the Jewish elders if they are willing to plead his case before Jesus, on his behalf, as you can read in Luke 7:4a

When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with Him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.

Jesus listens to the plea of the elders, and in response goes with them to the house of the Centurion. However, the Centurion, knowing that he is not of the chosen race, does not think that Jesus, who is of the chosen race, should enter his home, as you can read in Luke 7:4b-10

He was not far from the house when the Centurion sent friends to say to Him, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, for I do not deserve to have You come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You. But say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.”

The Centurion asks some Jewish friends of his to meet Jesus on his behalf to pass on to Him the request that He simply speak a word of healing over the servant, for that will be sufficient for the servant to be made whole. The Centurion understands the principle of rightful authority, for in his own life he simply speaks the word, and those under his authority will do what they have been told. Likewise, he understands that Jesus has authority over sicknesses. Therefore, when Jesus simply speaks the word for the sickness to go, it must go. Jesus’ response to the request of the Centurion can be found in Luke 7:9-10

When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Jesus is greatly delighted with the faith of this Centurion who is not even a Jewish person. And as a result the servant receives his healing. Likewise, you too can ask the Lord to meet your needs, even though you may not feel you are worthy of His attention. All Jesus asks is that you step out in faith, believing in His willingness to listen to your request, and to answer in accordance with His perfect will, as you can read in Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Now, Jesus does not stay in Capernaum, because there are other people He has to minister to. Let’s read Luke 7:11

Soon afterwards, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him.

Please understand that Jesus does not find Himself near Nain by accident, for He has not lost His way, as some of us may do at times. No, He is definitely in the right place at the right time, as you will soon learn. Let’s read Luke 7:12

As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out –the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.

As Jesus gets to the entrance of the town, He meets a very sad and wailing crowd. And it is no wonder, for in the coffin lies the body of a young man. We would expect everyone to be upset about his death, for he is too young to have died. Moreover, he is the only son and his mother is a widow. So, who will now take care of her since she has already lost her husband and is now about to bury her only son?

Surely it looks like Jesus has missed it this time. He may well be in the right town, but He has arrived at the wrong time. He should have come when the boy was still ill. At least then He could have done something for her by making her son well. However, there is no point for Him to be here now, unless He has come to share in the grief of the widow. And it seems that is what He has come to do, as you can read in Luke 7:13

When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.”

Jesus is moved with compassion for the widow who has now lost her son. No doubt, He wants to comfort her. But telling her not to cry anymore does not seem to be very helpful. I can well imagine that the widow might like to say to Jesus, “Sorry, Jesus, I know You mean well. But how can You expect me to stop crying? I have just lost my son. Why did you not come a few days earlier for then I might not be walking behind his coffin today?”

However, she does say not these things, and that may well be because something in the tone of His voice actually makes her stop crying. She does not know what Jesus is going to do, but somehow she knows that everything will be well because Jesus has come. And her faith in Jesus is justified, as you can read in Luke 7:14-15

Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.’ The dead man set up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Having told the woman to stop crying, Jesus walks up to the coffin next, and then speaks to the dead young man lying in it, commanding the young man to get up. Jesus’ approach is a no-nonsense approach. He does not go through a series of rituals to make this miracle happen. After all, He is the Resurrection and the Life, as you can read in John 11:25 where Jesus is speaking to a woman named Mary, as follows

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”

Therefore, Jesus has power over death, as demonstrated here, by bringing this young man back to life. The moment the young man hears the command to sit up, he does, and he begins to talk, as a sign that he really is alive. Jesus then helps him climb out of his coffin and gives him back to his mother. What a reunion that will have been. The people will all have been so amazed at the miracle that has happened among them, as you can read in Luke 7:16-17

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help His people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

This miracle helps the people to begin to have a greater understanding who Jesus is for they are beginning to recognise that He is more than just a Man. According to them He must at least be a great Prophet because of what He has done in their midst.

Just as Jesus ministered to this widow’s need by giving her back her son so He wants to minister to your needs by giving you back what you may have lost. Perhaps, you have lost your joy or your peace because of life’s challenges. However, Jesus promises His Peace in the midst of your difficulties, as you can read in John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; My Peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Therefore, ask the Lord for His Joy, His Peace, just as He brought joy and peace to the widow when He gave her back her son.

Sometime later, Jesus is once again on His way to a specific destination, because there is someone He is supposed to meet, as you can read in Luke 18:35

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.

Jesus is on His way to Jericho. He is not going there because His disciples have told Him about the wonderful food you can eat there. No, He is going there because His heavenly Father has directed Him to go there to meet someone. Who is that someone going to be? Yes, the story mentions there is a blind man sitting by the roadside begging, but surely he is not the one chosen by God to receive the ministry of Jesus that day, or is he....? Let’s read Luke 18:36-37 to find out

When he (the blind man) heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

The man realises something unusual is happening for it is very noisy on the road. That can only mean one thing; a large group of people have gathered at the road. Why are they all there, and what are they talking about? Since he cannot see anything, the only way to find out what everyone is so excited about is to ask the people. Perhaps they will be kind enough to tell him. That is how he learns that Jesus is on his way to Jericho. He has heard about Jesus, and he knows from the stories people have told him that Jesus has been doing many miracles. And now, this same Jesus is about to pass by him. He knows that his moment has come; it is now or never. This means he must take action, never mind what people say or think of him, as you can read in Luke 18:38-39

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

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.”

Those around him are embarrassed by his behaviour, and tell him to be quiet. But they don’t know what it is like to be blind, and to have to sit at the roadside every day to beg. So he completely ignores them, and shouts even louder than before, determined that he will not stop until Jesus responds to him, and Jesus does so, as you can read in Luke 18:40-41

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus stops and has the man brought to him. Jesus will have instantly realised that the man is blind, so we will expect Jesus to just go ahead and heal him. After all, what else will he have called out to Jesus for? But Jesus does not just go ahead and heal him. No, Jesus begins to personally interact with him by asking him a question. And the question Jesus asks him is: “What do you want Me to do for you?” He is, thereby, laying the groundwork for a personal relationship between the man and Him. His blindness will have cut him off from personal relationships with people. Many times people will have passed him by when he sat at the road side begging and will have ignored him. And here, Jesus starts a conversation with him, to let him know that he is a person worthy to be heard, a person with an opinion worthy to be listened to. He is not just a nobody, some blind person who cannot even properly function in society. No, he is precious in God’s sight and the reason Jesus is on His way to Jericho is to meet him, this blind person. Moreover, Jesus hears his request, treats it with great respect and acts upon it, as you can read in Luke 18:42

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

Jesus restores the man’s sight in answer to the man’s words. The man’s response to his healing can be found in Luke 18:43

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

What else can the man do, once he has received his healing, but praise God? And the people, who are privileged to have witnessed the miracle, join him in praising God.

Perhaps, like this man you too are blind but your blindness is a spiritual blindness. And people have tried to help you by being kind to you, but their help has not been sufficient, because you still feel desperate for something beyond what they can give you. Like the blind man, you too need Jesus to minister to you so you can receive your spiritual sight by believing that Jesus died on the Cross for your sins so you can become a child of God. And, just as the blind man began to praise God once he could see, so you too will begin to praise the Lord, when you receive His forgiveness.

The healing of the blind man takes place while Jesus is still on His way to Jericho, He has not reached Jericho yet. Once He enters Jericho, God has someone else for Him to minister to, as you can read in Luke 19:1-2

Jesus entered Jericho, and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was but, being a short man, he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way.

The man God has chosen for Jesus to minister to that day in Jericho is Zaccheus. Like the blind man, Zacchaeus has heard of Jesus, and he too will do what he can to have an encounter with Him. His problem is not that he is blind, but that he is short, so he decides to climb a tree enabling him to have a view of Jesus anyway. What is Jesus going to do about this short man Zacchaeus? Will the fact that he is too short to see Jesus hinder him from meeting Jesus? Let’s read Luke 19:5 to find out

When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Jesus, being aware what Zacchaeus has done to see Him, stops at the right sycamore-fig tree. He does not just stop but He addresses Zacchaeus and invites Himself to Zacchaeus’ home for He knows that it will bring joy to Zacchaeus’ heart, as you can read in Luke 19:6

So he came down at once and welcomed Him gladly.

But what about the others who see Jesus going home with Zacchaeus? Are they glad too for Zacchaeus that the Lord has chosen his home to have a meal in? They all know Zacchaeus very well, for they have had to pay taxes to him, and they all know that tax collectors, including Zacchaeus, are notorious cheaters. So what is their reaction? Let’s read Luke 19:7 to find out

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be a guest of a “sinner.”

The people are obviously not pleased that Jesus has chosen to stay with Zacchaeus. No doubt, each one considers himself a better choice for Jesus to stay with than Zacchaeus. They may even wonder about Jesus for, surely, He must know that Zacchaeus is such a great sinner, or does He…?

Jesus does know. However, He knows as well that His willingness to give special attention to Zacchaeus will turn Zacchaeus into a changed man, as you can read in Luke 19:8

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

The reason for Jesus’ visit to Jericho is to touch the heart and life of this one man, as you can read in Luke 19:9-10

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”

The reason Jesus has come is to save lives, including the life of Zacchaeus, as you can read in John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus’ visit to Zacchaeus’ home caused him to become a transformed man. And his transformation was so real that he became a blessing to his community. Perhaps, you can identify with Zacchaeus in that you feel you too do not measure up to the standard of other believers, for you know you have committed sins that have separated you from God. But Jesus wants you to know that He sees the longing in your heart to be made right with Him. And He wants to spend time with you, as you can read in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says

“Here I am! I stand at the door. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.”

Therefore, be like Zacchaeus and allow Jesus access into all the areas of your life, and He will transform your life so you will become a blessing to others. Of course, Jesus cannot visit you physically, as He was able to do with Zaccaeus. But you can spend time with Him when you pray to Him and read His Word.

As you have seen from the stories you have looked at, Jesus loved all kinds of people and touched the lives of all kinds of people, be they rich or poor, young or old, and whatever their particular problem. Nothing was too hard for Him to take care of, and no one was too sinful to be changed by Him. And He wants to touch your life too and bring healing to your life, be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Your status in this life does not matter, as far as heaven is concerned, for God cares about you, and sent His Son to die for you regardless of your status, your background, your age, or your gender. None of these things matter to Him. All He asks of you is that you cry out to Him and ask Him to touch you, to help you and He will.

A Favoured Home