Summary: This message was preached on Palm Sunday. It looks the impact that Jesus has on three different people on the way to Jerusalem.
The Road to the Cross Leads through Jericho
I believe that we all like the story of Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem. Even if it was just for that moment, people surrounded a Man on donkey and proudly declared Him to be king. The throng rang with shouts of “Hosanna!” They were longing to see their newly crowned leader to be the one who rescued them from the oppressive hand of Roman rulers and dynasties. Despite their adulations on that morning, their shouts of love would quickly turn cries for His death.
Jerusalem was Christ’s final destination. It was here that He would be received and rejected within the span of a few days. In a few days we will gather at the Windsor and Trenton churches, or perhaps another church, and reflect upon the Cross. Before Jesus came to Jerusalem, before His death for our sins, His road to the cross led through the town of Jericho.
On the outskirts of this town, and in it as well, Jesus has an encounter with three different people. Each person represents each one of us as we make our journey to the Cross. Perhaps, this morning, you will find yourself in Jericho this morning.
Each person that we will look at had their life impacted upon as they came face to face with Jesus. Today, take a look at your journey. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw the comparison between you and these men.
1. Hesitations and Sins Are Confronted (Rich Young Ruler - Luke 18:18-30)
A certain ruler asked Him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18
This is the question that starts it all. Back in 2003, a Harris Pole was conducted to find out what Americans believed about God, heaven, hell, etc. 90% of all adults polled believed in God. 82% of people polled said they believed in Heaven. When that was divided between the sexes, 75% of men and 89% of women believed there was a heaven. 84% of all people polled believed there was an “afterlife.”
This was not an uncommon question to ask either then or now. While 82% believe in heaven, the poll went on the say that only 63% believed they were going to make it into heaven. 26% of the people polled had no religious affiliation whatsoever.
This ruler wanted to know what it would take what He would have to do enter Heaven. Jesus wanted to test Him, to see where his heart was.
You know the commandments: ’Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. (Luke 18:20-23)
When the rubber met the road, the love of his wealth was greater than his desire to follow Jesus. On the road to Jericho, we must face ourselves, our sins, and ask ourselves what do we want more, what we have, or the One who wants us?
2. Blind Souls Cry Out For His Touch (Blind Beggar - Luke 18:35-43)
Many people are walking around spiritually blind. If you have ever stumbled around in the dark, you know that walking can be very difficult. You can’t see anything, and sometimes that can be very scary.
It is during the dark times that we realize how lonely we are. I’m still a little spooked going home at night when all the lights in the basement are off, and I need to find the door that leads from the church to the house.
This man outside the gates of Jericho lived in darkness. Each day he would hear the footsteps of the passers-bye. Perhaps he trembled as some drew closer to him. I am sure there were those who would show compassion to the man, but perhaps others attacked him.
This day was different. Jesus was in the crowd of people. This blind man, no doubts, had heard the people talk about this Man called Jesus. Perhaps he heard bits and pieces of the miracles this Jesus fellow had performed. What would it hurt if he asked something for himself? “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38)
From his own dark world, this man called out to the one the Prophet Isaiah would refer to as a “bright light.” Perhaps on this Jericho road, you are sitting by the way side. Jesus is walking by, and He is willing to touch your life if you only call out.