Jesus has given us a key to see God. Why do some people get their prayers answered and some do not? Who may receive healing and salvation? what is the main difference between a man who has faith in Jesus and one who does not? What does Jesus want to see in the person who wants healing and salvation? Jesus wants to see faith. Jesus has taught us the importance of faith in our prayers, and shown us two real life examples of physical healing and salvation, in Luke 18 and 19 (quoted from NLT).
In the first case, Jesus teaches that prayers must be persistent
Parable of the Persistent Widow
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
18:8 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
Here is the record of a blind beggar on the roadside waiting for Jesus who was on His way to Jericho. The beggar did not give up even though he was physically handicapped compared to others who could see and came to Jesus without physical hindrances. The beggar had only one thing, he could shout. So he shouted at the top of his voice and hoped that Jesus would hear him and respond to his prayer! Jesus did. He was healed. Jesus commended that he had faith. Faith can be seen and heard as in this case. Jesus reminded one important thing He would look for when He returns to earth, FAITH. “How many will find on earth who have faith?” He asked. This means not many will be found to have faith that can be seen and noted by Jesus. We do not know how long the beggar had waited for his healing. But he had faith in Jesus. He made sure he had a spot by the roadside. He waited regardless the heat and dust. Perhaps he was there overnight just to get the good spot so Jesus would surely notice him. Jesus indeed noted his faith in action. He was healed because he had faith, that could be seen!
Luke 18:35-42 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. 36 When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him that Jesus the Nazarene[a] was going by. 38 So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
42 And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”
18:37 Or Jesus of Nazareth.
In the second case which happened in Jericho, Jesus continued to illustrate the importance of faith in action that can be seen by Jesus.
Here is the principle: Luke 18:13-14
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Here is the real life example of how the principle was applied by a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus knew he was a sinner in the eyes of God and man. He wanted to be forgiven. He went out of his way to repent before God and man, as witnessed here in this passage. he was prepared to confess and repent and make restitutions for what he had stolen from others. He made himself visible despite the crowd and his handicapped stature. He was all ready for Jesus in his heart and his actions in faith. Again, Jesus saw his faith. Jesus called him a true son of Abraham. Why? Abraham is the father of faith!
Jesus and Zacchaeus
19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man[a] came to seek and save those who are lost.”
19:10 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
Hebrews 11 New King James Version (NKJV)
By Faith We Understand
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
By faith we please God
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; [a] for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.