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A Year Through the Gospels: Week 14 – Deliberately Intentional
April 12, 2016
This is the fourteenth installment in a yearlong series. You can find the previous installments here.
“And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
Jesus did many things that nobody else would have done. He positioned himself in contrast to the Jewish leaders, cleansed the temple, did not defend himself at his own trial, and he was deliberately intentional with those around him. As Jesus walked by, a blind man named Bartimaeus called out to him for help. Now, the disciples were annoyed by this. They did not think a blind beggar should be bothering the Messiah because he was on his way to another town where he would teach and perform miracles. In their minds, Jesus’ time and destination were more important than Bartimaeus the blind beggar. But Jesus thought differently. In his mind, nothing was more important than a lost person crying out for help. People were more important than his time or plans. Going out of his way and staying longer than expected were regular aspects of Jesus’ ministry. He went out of his way to heal the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years while he was on his way to Jairus’ house (Mark 5:24-34), and earlier in chapter ten Jesus called children over to him after his disciples had rebuked and tried to get rid of them (Mark 10:13-16). The feeding of the five thousand was an all day event, and the feeding of the four thousand was a three day event (Mark 6:30-44; Mark 8:1-10). Jesus, knowing that people are the whole point of ministry, did not allow circumstances or schedules to become the focus because, when they do, priorities get flip flopped and people become expendable.
Shortly after the demise of Jim Bakker’s television ministry Praise the Lord because of a sex scandal and fraud, Christianity Today interviewed Bakker’s number two man, Richard Dortch. In the interview, Dortch said the following:
We made many mistakes… At PTL, there was not time taken for prayer or family because the show had to go on. We were so caught up in God’s work that we forget about God. It took a tragedy, a kick in the teeth to bring us back to our senses. A television camera can change a preacher quicker than anything else. Those who sit on the sidelines can notice the changes in people once they get in front of a camera. It turns a good man into a potentate. It is so easy to get swept away by popularity: Everybody loves you, cars are waiting for you, and you go to the head of the line. That is the devastation of the camera. It has made us less than God has wanted us to become.’
The disciples were making the same mistakes that PTL made. They were more concerned about Jesus’ schedule and making sure the star of the show would make it to his next appearance on time. Being part of the action and excitement gave them more pleasure than welcoming a newly healed brother amongst them. Jesus knew clinging too tightly to his schedule would render people like Bartimaeus unworthy of his time. Our roads are littered with hopeless people like Bartimaeus, and if we are too concerned about reaching our destination to stop and minister to them, no one will. We will pass them by without giving them any of the bread of life in our pockets, and they will be left sitting on the side of the road, resorting to begging and without any hope.
Here is the link for the Richard Dortch quote: