Jesus took the initiative and left heaven to come to us, in Luke 18 there is a set of five parables/encounters that are all about how we ought to come to Jesus…
Come with persistent faith in prayer
The widow (vs1-8) eventually gets the justice she has been pleading for from the unrighteous judge. Jesus uses this to contrast how much more God who has chosen us in love (elected us) will give us justice (answer our prayers) speedily. This is because of our relationship with God that was established by God when we believed (John 1:12).
Jesus urges us to be persistent like her and to have faith as we ask because we know who we are asking when we pray. We are not coming to some unknown official in the sky, but to our Heavenly Father who loves us!
Come with humility acknowledging your brokenness
Next (vs9-14) Jesus contrasts a self-centered (note the five “I”‘s in the text) self-righteous, proud Pharisee with a humble sinner who knows he has messed up.
These are like the two types of people in the world;
The one is trying to save themselves by human effort trusting in their morality and performance to save them and so asks for recognition and praise for their efforts…
The other knows there is no hope in self-salvation projects and rather humbly admits their moral failings, their brokenness and asks for mercy.
Here Jesus reveals that the only way to being justified is not performance but grace which is only accessed by humbling oneself before God and asking for mercy and grace.
Come believing as a child
Next (vs15-17) Jesus urges us to come ‘like a child’ for only such people shall enter His kingdom. What does that mean?
Children are eager to believe, they are uninhibited in their believing and they are full of wonder and amazement and unrestrained in expressing joy…
Such a provocation for stuck up, cynical, staid, doubting, questioning adults…! May I, may we be more like children in our coming to Jesus.
Come prepared to relinquish other loves, other idols
In the encounter with the rich ruler (vs18-30) Jesus refused to let the man put Jesus in the box he had in mind for Jesus! He tried to call Jesus “good”, good teacher – someone you might learn from… But Jesus wouldn’t let him do that.
‘I’m not good, I’m God’ Jesus basically says to the man. ‘You want me to be good teacher but actually I am God and as God I call you to relinquish all other loves, all other things (idols) you have worshipped or put your trust into’…
Teachers don’t make demands, but God does. Only God is worthy of our worship, our trust, our full attention. Sadly, the man doesn’t want to let go of what he loves, let go of what he is trusting and holding on to in order to hold on to God alone.
We need to come to God, relinquishing other loves, other things we place our trust in, love Him with all our heart would, mind and strength, knowing that to relinquish all to get God is in fact to get more than all we ever had (vs29-30).
Come boldly with faith
Lastly in this little grouping is the blind beggar, who cried out loudly for Jesus to have mercy on him. He pressed through etiquette, pressed through the opinions of others and boldly got his request before Jesus.
Jesus interpreted this boldness and this determined action as faith (vs42)! Faith that Jesus was God and that Jesus could heal him was the fire that motivated him to call out so boldly.
Sometimes I/we come to Jesus in prayer that is so far removed from this man’s bold faith, we come apologetically masking often our lack of conviction that God is able or that God does want to answer with words hat are anything but bold.
Let’s come as God’s beloved children with faith when we pray.