It’s so easy to feel repulsed or disgusted when we recognize greed, selfish ambition, lust for power or any other sin in someone else’s life, isn’t it?
After reading Mark 10:35-52 I came across something I hadn’t seen before. That’s one of the reasons I love the Bible. You can read the same story over and over again and always see something new. The first story I’m referring to is actually a conversation between James, John and Jesus in verses 35 – 41. Let’s take a closer look:
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
I was incensed when I read the first verse above. How dare they come to Jesus with such self righteous attitude! “Teacher, we want You do for us whatever we ask.” What right do they have to demand Jesus do whatever they ask? So how easy it is to become disgusted with others?
Notice how calmly and matter-of-fact Jesus responds to these two? “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked. Jesus, the One who knows our thoughts and our intentions, knows what James and John are about to ask. Armed with that kind of knowledge I would be ready to read them the riot act regarding how inappropriate their request was, but not Jesus. Knowing what’s in their hearts, He still chooses to respond to them with grace, mercy and kindness.
Now, let’s take a look at the next story. This one is about how blind Bartimaeus receives his sight in verses 46 – 52.
Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 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!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
What’s the first thing you notice about how Bartimaeus approaches Jesus? How is it different from the way James and John approached Jesus? Bartimaeus cries out asking for mercy, while James and John came with “you owe us something” attitude. Bartimaeus was humble and recognized his need. James and John were puffed up with pride and focused on selfish gain.
How did Jesus respond to Bartimaeus? The same way He did with James and John. “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus answered him.
Don’t you think it would have been easier to answer Bartimaeus because of his condition? If I had the power to heal, I probably would have healed him in an instant out of pity. Look again at how Jesus responded. He did not coddle the blind man. Nor did He look on him with pity. He responded exactly the same way he did with James and John.
Isn’t it fascinating how consistently loving, merciful and kind Jesus was? We so readily respond to others based on what we see and ear, but Jesus responds to others based on who He is and not based on what’s going on around Him. That’s a wonderful lesson for us too.
If we are to be “lights of the world” shining His glory into this dark world, we’ll need to learn how to consistently respond to everyone the way Jesus did. I know I still need work in this area. For example, I find myself responding negatively to my teenager’s attitude and lack of respect, rather treating him as Jesus would. What about you?
Can you think of a time you responded inappropriately to someone? Do you find yourself responding nicely to one person and not the next? Do you go out of your way to help one person, but shy away from extending a helping hand to someone you don’t really get along with?
Examine you life to identify areas you need to change. Ask God to help you change. This prayer He’ll gladly answer, as He’s already working in us to will and act according to His purposes.
Lord, thank you for showing us how to respond to others with consistent kindness and mercy. Where we may not be consistent, help us be conformed into your image. In Jesus name Amen.
© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.