We Are Called To Love Everyone (Bible Study Mark 10 – Part 2)

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.

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Jesus Wants To Meet With Everyone (Bible Study Mark 10 – Part 1)

Mark 10:46-52 tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with Bartimaeus the blind man.

Jesus and his followers are entering the city of Jericho.  As they are walking along what is probably the main road it seems there is a crowd of people gathering.  Bartimaeus was a blind man sitting and begging on the side of the road.  When he hears that it is Jesus who is coming by he begins to call out to Him, asking for Him to have mercy on Him.

Bartimaeus had obviously heard of Him.  He cries out to Him.  The crowd tries to quiet him.  They basically say, get back to your side of the street.  This is Jesus, He has important things to do or teach.  Stop crying out.  But this doesn’t stop Baritmaeus.  Instead he cries out all the louder.

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Obedience Is Our Part (Bible Study John 5 Part 3)

We’ve been looking at the story of the healing of the paralyzed man in John 5.

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  The man answers that he does want to but that he can’t get to the water in time.  In a sense, as we said last time, he is saying that if Jesus would help him with his plan to get well then he could be ok.  He is failing to recognize that Jesus is offering something different, something more.  Jesus is better than the pool.

Jesus of course does not help the man into the pool.  He also doesn’t say, “Man that’s tough.  I hope that works out for you at some point” and move on.  Instead he does something very Jesus like.  He gives him a command.

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Going To Church On Sunday Matters

We live in interesting times.  I don’t want to call them hard times because I don’t think that is very intellectually honest.  In most ways we have it easier than any generation before us. We have advantages and wealth, that no time period has ever had.  Frankly we even have more peace than pretty much any period in history.

The one place this might not be true, although I would need further study, is mental health.  At the very least we can say that it has not improved over the last few years and certainly not in the 2020 during COVID.

I knew this would be true of singles, having been single until I was 40, and I offered some thoughts here.  Might be worth a read.  I also knew that it would impact kids, and I’ll have more to say on that later.

But today I want to look at an interesting statistic from a recent Gallup Poll.  Now if you read through this study, you see lots of interesting things.  You can see we’ve got things to work on from looking at the starting point for each demographic and how they compare.  But today I want to focus on something really interesting in relation to the Church.

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Jesus Is Better Than Your Plan (Bible Study John 5 part 2)

Today we are diving into part two in a series on a story in John 5

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  Last time we looked at some probable reason why Jesus asks this question.  Today I want to look at this man’s response, and ours, to that question.

The man says this, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when it is stirred up.  I start to go there but because of my condition someone gets there before me.”

Here is what is interesting about this answer.  This man has a plan to get well.  He is counting on this plan.  He might need a little help to get there but he doesn’t need a new or different plan.  His plan is the only one that can work.  He’s had 38 years to think about this obviously.  It’s not his first rodeo and I’m sure it’s not his first plan.

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Do You Want To Get Well (Bible Study John 5 Part 1)

Today I want to begin to take a look at the story in John 5.  Here are the basics.

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  Wait!  What?!

I want to stop here and consider this moment.  First, let’s just get a few facts out of the way.  Jesus can for sure heal this guy.  He’s already done some healing previous to this.  He has the power to heal this man.  And this man has been in the condition for a long, long time.  Frankly it’s a minor miracle that he lived that long in those times while in that condition. He is also at the pool, hoping to get in at the right moment.  Why else be there but for the hope of being healed?

So why does Jesus ask him if he wants to get well?

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Will We Be Equal In Heaven? (Bible Study The Rich Young Man Part 5)

That last several bible study posts we have been looking at the story of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus.  We started by looking at the original context and the most likely meaning.  Then we looked at two ways that Christians often get money wrong.  Next we looked at our own generosity and finally we talked about what I would consider the main point that we can apply; that is do we own our life or does God?

In this last post on this story I want to consider something that I think often gets lost when we read this.  And that is the last part where Peter and Jesus talk about the disciples and what they have left to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus’ teaching on how only God can let people in and that if you don’t surrender all to Him you won’t get in, Peter responds.  You can see the wheels turning in Peter’s head.  He says, “We have left everything to follow you.  What will there be for us?”

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Do You Own Your Life Or Does God (Bible Study The Rich Young Man Part 4)

Over the course of several posts we’ve been looking at the story of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus.  We looked at the original context, the two errors that we make about Christianity and money and the idea of starting with judging our own generosity before judging others.  Today I want to look at what it means to walk the line with wealth and the Kingdom and avoiding the fate of the rich young man.

The first thing I want to note is that the this man had it all.  He had prosperity by any standard.  He was not only in the top 1%.  In his day he was more likely in the top .01%.  Not only that but by all accounts he was a morally upstanding guy.  He kept the ten commandments at least generally.  Heck he probably tithed his 10% to the temple.

And yet, something was missing and he knew it.  Otherwise why would he have come to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

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Is Christianity Inclusive or Exclusive? Yes!

I’ve seen a lot of conversions (or arguments might be a better word) about the inclusivity of Christianity. Some say that Jesus was all inclusive. Others say that it is a narrow road and that the Kingdom is actually very exclusive. I want to offers some thoughts on this.

First I think that our current culture inclusivity it a sort of virtue. It seems that many want everyone to be included in everything. There is a lot good about this idea. Far too often people have been left out, or even kept out, of opportunities and experiences that they should not have been. That’s a fair critique of parts of our society. So everyone wants everyone to be included. I think that’s a good desire.

The flip side of this is that not everyone is the same. People don’t all have the same skills, talents and even desires. And, no matter how we might try to rig society we will never have equal outcomes for all. It’s literally impossible and extremely unreasonable.  And frankly a dangerous plan.

But the real question as a Christian is what does Jesus teach and what does He say about the Kingdom in this regard? Here are my thoughts.

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View History As If You Were The Perpetrator (How To View History As A Christian Part 2)

Today I want to continue to think about how we view history as a Christian. Last time I wrote about the idea that we are called to love the dead.  In other words when we study people of the past we are called to study them with love in our hearts towards them.  Each and every person who has ever lived was created in the image of God.  When Jesus says to love our neighbor that includes everyone.  It includes our enemy.  It includes every person in history.  Basically the idea is that the dead are our neighbors and we should treat them as such.

That alone is a major game changer.  It means that I don’t get to sit in some sort of superior, self righteous place as I judge the people of the past.  It means we should not act as if we are better, smarter or somehow more morally superior to those in the past.  Because quite clearly we are not.  Any fair reading of history along with any fair assessment of our own culture will tell you this.  And that goes for all cultures.

This leads me to my second thought on how we should view history from a Christian worldview.  This is also going to be uncomfortable by the way.  Here it is.  We should read history as if we are the perpetrators.

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