Who's Important Here?

  • Nov. 7, 2014
  • #8485

At times, living with a disability can feel inconvenient or frustrating, but Jesus always reached out to the sick in love.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a little lesson from the gospel of Mark.

What’s so amazing about this particular passage in Mark is what it shows about Jesus and His priorities with people. So let’s look at this little story from Mark chapter 10. Starting with the 46th verse, the scene is just outside the town of Jericho. Then it says:

“As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more.”     

 When it comes to the obnoxious, irritating people who have a disability, Bartimaeus would take the prize, wouldn’t he. That guy must have carried on and made quite a scene because it says many rebuked him. But instead of putting a lid on it, Bartimaeus yelled all the louder. But here’s the thing. The Lord of the universe stopped at the cry of that blind beggar. This was a head scratcher. What was he doing? At that point, Jesus told His disciples basically to quit shoving the blind man aside and bring the man to Him. The disciples, in great surprise, go ahead and bring Bartimaeus forward to Jesus. Suddenly, everyone saw that this guy was given the VIP treatment. "Cheer up!" they said to Bartimaeus.

 It’s as though all these people finally understood the Lord's priorities. They saw that Jesus thought this poor person with a disability was important. And once they saw the high life value Jesus placed on a blind man – a poor blind man at that – their whole attitude changed. Their feelings toward this obnoxious social outcast switched from negative to positive.

And that’s a great lesson for us today because let’s admit it, it’s a fact: Disabilities are often messy and inconvenient. And sometimes that makes people with disabilities messy and inconvenient. People with disabilities who use wheelchairs may track dirt on the church carpet. Young people with, let’s say, autism sometimes shriek in Sunday school. People with mental disabilities may corner you in a conversation and just keep talking. Or look at others. People who are homeless might leave trash in the stairwell at the back of the sanctuary. Runaway teenagers who come to Sunday service in torn jeans and shaved heads may leave a bad smell in the pew. Do these people seem obnoxious? Perhaps yes, but read Mark chapter 10 again and take a long, hard look at how Jesus would handle the situation.

And this is especially true of people with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a messy and inconvenient condition. And so, people with Alzheimer’s are often messy and yes, a little inconvenient. But they are people; they have souls. And they are in there, and also in our communities and part of our families. As hard as it may be to reach out to someone dealing with Alzheimer’s, the Lord asks us to follow His example and give the same love and care He showed to Bartimaeus. What a joy it is to bring God’s healing touch to those the world casts aside.

I’d love to show you a wonderful video on my radio page about relating to people with Alzheimer’s. It truly is amazing and it will bring inspiration to your day. So just go to my radio page after we’re finished here at joniandfriends.org, and rejoice in the love the Lord has for people who have Alzheimer’s.

© Joni and Friends


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