Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Vignette of the Gospel

46(CA) And they came to Jericho. And(CB) as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus,(CC) a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47And when he heard that it was(CD) Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48And many(CE) rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him,(CF) "Take heart. Get up; he is calling you." 50And throwing off his(CG) cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51And Jesus said to him, (CH) "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him,(CI) "Rabbi, let me recover my sight." 52And Jesus said to him, "Go your way;(CJ) your faith has(CK) made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

- Mark 10:46-52

Jesus heard this one voice and knew this one man's heart out of all the crowd. He was someone that others had deemed "not worthy". He was an outcast, a burden & not worth anyone's time. While man found him unworthy, the Son of God found him faithful and showed him love by healing. 
 In the city you can become very, very numb to all the marginalized people. There are homeless with cardboard signs on every corner, many people with special needs or abused women and children. It could overwhelm your heart and leave you feeling hopeless. 
 Being a part of Reality LA is about loving the city the way Jesus loves the city. One of the best things I've heard about describing the need for ministry in the city is that a city has a soul because it is full of souls. All of the people I see or avoid eye contact with when they approach my car at a red light are children of God. Jesus loves them just as dearly as he loves me. 
 Only a a verse or two back from this story of the blind man is the astounding revelation that Jesus gives about how we're supposed to live our lives. 
But whoever would be great among you must be your servants, and whoever be first among you must be slave. - Mark 10:43b-44
I read in one commentary that these few verses are "a vignette of the entire gospel"*. Jesus, who is God became a slave to all of us. He made the ultimate sacrifice. If He did that, couldn't I give a small blessing to those society deems "unworthy"? Throughout the Gospel we see Jesus going to those who need him the most: the disenfranchised. He pays special attention to the Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery, children (see my previous post), the crippled, the blind, the lepers & the demon possessed. This theme is jumping out to me more than ever as we read through Mark. Even as Jesus marches towards Jerusalem "going with unfaltering steps towards the cross"*, he stops along the way to reach out to those who have been forgotten. Even in the midst of our own trials and stress, we must stop along the way to give a voice to the voiceless, bread to the hungry & comfort to the sick. 
 I was completely convicted last night to do a very simple thing. Keep granola bars & water bottles in my car, somewhere within reach to give to those in need. There are at least one or two cardboard signs on every corner. In fact I've started recognizing faces on freeway off-ramps that I use frequently. I asked a few people in my Bible Study to make sure and ask me if I purchased the two items. I want accountability. We all know what road is paved with good intentions, right? ;) 
Don't overlook people, look at them the way God does. In the brightest light of love. There's always this little bit of Hebrews 13 to remind us that we never know who we are helping:
 1Let(A) brotherly love continue. 2(B) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby(C) some have entertained angels unawares. 3(D) Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4(E
Today make sure that you let brotherly love continue. There is always someone who needs something, even if it's just a kind listener, a simple hug or a burger and coke. If Jesus could sacrifice everything for you, you can sacrifice your time, money or food. 

*Charles R. Erdman, Believer's Bible Commentary


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