In part one of this study we began to look at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.
Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered. Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by. He cries out to Jesus. The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way. But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward. They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus. Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him. Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.
Last time we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus. One of the things we mentioned was that it shows that Jesus loves and interacts with everyone. He is interested in every person from every background.
Today I want to look at what this truth about Jesus has to do with us.
Let’s start with this. As I said in a previous post about studying history as a Christian, we should read history as if we are the perpetrator. Here is a great example of this. We would have been in the crowd. You or I would not have been the one person to stop and try to help Bartimaeus get to Jesus. We would far more likely have been the ones tell him to be quiet and stay out of the way. At the very least we would have been complicit. We would have just stayed in the crowd, even if we weren’t the ones telling him to shut up and even if we might have had something inside us that told us to help him.
We’re really good at thinking about our sins of commission. Those things that that we do wrong. But we are really bad at considering our sins of omission. Those things that we don’t do right. This might be particularly true when it comes to how we deal with other people, including but in no way limited to those our culture marginalizes.
We think, well I don’t treat people poorly. I don’t do things to hurt people. If we think of the story of the good samaritan for example, we think in terms of, “well I’m not the guy who attacked the guy and left him in the ditch to die”. Yeah that’s real heroic. Ha!
But we are constantly the people who walk by without helping. Heck we don’t live our lives as helpers at all for the most part. We may have some people we want to help. Maybe for some of us that is the marginalized. We love helping them. For others of us we like helping the people who are like us, or at least the people that we like to be around. But we for sure pick and choose who and when to help. We walk by a lot. Maybe we don’t treat them poorly, but we don’t treat them lovingly.
Now I get that we can’t help everyone every time. However our posture needs to be one of loving and helping. That is part of following Jesus – that we show charity to all others. And that we work to approach each person with love in our hearts as we are approaching someone who is created in God’s image. Each person we encounter is loved by Jesus.
This includes the marginalized in our culture. It also includes those in our culture we don’t like or disagree with. It is regardless of how they view us. Jesus doesn’t say love those who love you. In fact He says that is easy (although I would suggest that sometimes that’s not even easy). He’s not just calling us to love the people who are like us, or who agree with us. He’s not only calling us to love just the people are “our side”. He is calling us to love each person, even our enemies.
Want to stand out in our culture right now? Want to “witness”? Want to be countercultural? Get out of the crowd – whatever crowd you’re in. Stand up and love others. As I said in the post on how to love your enemies, Jesus isn’t asking you to agree with everyone. Not at all actually. Sometimes He calls us to do the opposite of that. But He calls us to disagree in love. If we are going to lead in our world and lead others towards Jesus this is starting point.
In fairness this hard. Not a little hard. Really, really hard. But that’s not new. Not even a little new. Don’t think, “well Jesus wouldn’t want me to love. . . .” You can love them or not, but don’t think Jesus isn’t calling you to love them. Maybe start by trying to follow that command before trying to change them, marginalize them, or cancel them as the current climate might say. This is our first command after loving Jesus (also not always easy) – loving others.