Saturday, July 19, 2014

Never Too Busy for a Beggar

Leaving Jericho, Jesus was headed to Jerusalem.  

The triumphal entry, planned from eternity past as a type of coronation for Calvary's King, was probably less than a day away. 

After that, there would be a temple to cleanse, parables to teach, Pharisees to put in their place, a Passover to prepare, a new Supper to institute, feet to wash, a friend to be betrayed by, an arrest to endure, a trial to face, a scourging to receive, a cross to carry, and an almost innumerable number of people to die for. 

The most significant event in all of history, the crucifixion of Christ - where the Son of God would be slain for sinners, was to happen before this week drew to a close. 

There was much to do.  M U C H  to do! 

Have you ever been at the beginning of one of those weeks where the calendar is just overflowing with fullness? The events of the days ahead are critical ones.  The things that you must do will have far reaching affects on others.  There will be little time for sleep and not a second to spare. "Tick tock. Tickety tock!"  Every moment can seem manic because you've just  so  much  to  do!!

When I have those weeks you better watch out!  I have a schedule to keep and, as much as I hate to admit it, I can get a little anal.  (OK, I can get a lotta anal!! Phillip will tell you!!)  

I don't care if you're my kids, my husband, my friend, or the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes people standing on my stoop.  When I'm a lady with a long list during a wild week there will be casualties if you crash my clock - and sadly, when I'm in "go mode" my kindness and compassion reach into the negative numbers.  

Not so with my Savior!

Jesus was a man (or actually a Messiah) on a mission. He had the world to save and had about 10,080 minutes left to wrap it all up! But that didn't curb His caring - not one bit!  We see an example of His intimate and infinite compassion near the end of Matthew chapter 20, just as He begins to embark on the final week of His life here under the sun.
"And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed Him.  And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, 'Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'
The crowd rebuked them, and sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, 'Lord have mercy on us, Son of David!'
And stopping, Jesus called them and said, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' They said to Him, 'Lord, let our eyes be opened.' And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him." (Matthew 20:29-34)
Amidst everything that was converging on His clock, the Savior of the world had time to be the Healer of two blind beggars! 

Jesus is never too busy for the broken, too hurried for the harried, or too occupied to extend His hand of help!  Wow! - ain't that glorious good news?  

While I may stress at trying to fit you into my schedule and fuss that you might be messing it up, my Savior never does.  As a matter of fact, before time began He had already set every appointment with you, and with me, and with every soul who ever was or will be in stone - even the appointments that seem to be unplanned from our perspective.  He who is above and beyond time, the One who created it and apportioned it, always has plenty of time for you and for me!  Always!!

As we watch Christ interact with these two blind men there is much for us to learn - not only about His compassion, but also about our asking for it to meet us in our darkest place.

As a mighty multitude crowded around Christ, two minuscule men cried to Him.  While this great gathering was pressing against Jesus, two broken beggars were pleading with Him. There's much here that challenges me as I think on what it is to supplicate in suffering.  

First, these men who couldn't see were able to hear and able to speak.  "Hearing that Jesus was passing by, they cried out."  Let us not allow our disabilities to become  an excuse for inability. (And I know a thing or two about disability.) In every area where we have not, God will provide another area where we have enough - enough to equip us to do that to which He's called us to do!  Even if our eyes and ears and tongues were all to fail, the omniscient God can hear our hearts. Don't wallow in your weakness, beloved, but get creative and cry out in spite of your cracks!  

Second, in their crying they didn't claim merit, but begged mercy!  They didn't present a case to Christ about what a bad wrap they'd been given, and then go on to argue about how He owed them a good healing because of all they'd been through in life.  These were not requests for reparation. These were groans for grace.  In faith,these men were imploring the Almighty - the "Lord", the "Son of David" - to not treat them as their sins deserved, but to spare them from what was due them.  They were asking Jesus to have mercy - marvelous mercy!  Do we pray in a similar fashion?  Do we petition proudly or, knowing who we are and what we truly should have coming our way, do we hearken humbly?   "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David",  should always be our plea! 

Third, as they called out they were told to quiet down!  It would seem that the multitudes were a bit bothered by their passionate prayer! The hordes hushed and hissed at them - seeking to silence them as they implored the Messiah for a miracle.  Isn't that just something else?!  Oh my!!
     This was a gang that was going along with the Son of God.  
     These were people who'd been pursuing Jesus on His journey.  
     These were folks who appeared to be followers.  
But when two blind beggars raised their voices to ask for some help from the Healer the crowd became cruel!   

Dear ones, let us never be surprised at who harangues, harasses, or hinders us as we attempt to connect with Christ. Opposition and discouragement can come from within as well as from without.  Yes, the world may strive to plug your prayers and silence your supplications, but so might those who only pretend piety. Heretics and hypocrites have done just as much damage in discouraging discipleship as any blatant unbeliever.  Who is seeking to silence our prayers?  Are they succeeding?  If so, then may we look to and learn from these two sightless saints, because...

Fourth, when the people told them to pray a little less, "they cried out all the more!"  Instead of being shushed they began to shout - even louder than before: "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"   Friends, when we find ourselves being beaten back by opposers of our prayers, when those who are not friendly to the faith rail against our religion, when opposition abounds and calls for us to "stop being stupid", what will we do? Will we cry uncle, bite our tongues, get off our knees, and go home empty handed - or will we persevere  - in prayer and in piety? Will we press on in our prostrate state like the importunate Cannanite, like wrestling Jacob, and like barren Hannah; or will we allow a mocking mob to silence our supplications?  Like these two needy blind men, will we stand our ground until the One to whom we cry comes?  

For He will come - in His wise way and in His perfect time He'll come!!

Jesus who had so very much to do that day, stood still as His path converged with their place.  While the masses sought to discourage, the Messiah stopped to encourage!  

"What do you want me to do for you?,"  He asked.  

Jesus is never too busy for a beggar!  

He heard their cries for mercy and drew near in their time of need. He bid them to tell Him what it was they longed for. 

Is this not our same Savior?  Is this not our Jesus, the immutable One who "is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) Is this not our mighty and merciful Master who bids us to "draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)

Jesus is a gracious God - much more gracious than our faith can even fathom.  Hearing that these blind beggars wanted to see, and knowing that for His perfect purposes they needed to see, He had compassion on them and enabled them to see! "Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him." 

Those who had sat in deep darkness for so long suddenly saw a great Light!  As their eyes opened, the first thing they beheld was the face of Jesus - the Light of the world, the compassionate King to whom they'd cried!  When they saw Him they "followed Him,"  for when Christ makes our eyes to see Him He also moves our feet to follow Him!  

As I look at this narrative about two beggars with blind eyes, and see this story about a Savior who gives sight I wonder about myself.  I read of these physically broken men and watch the way in which they called, and cried, and screamed for mercy to meet them in their malady; and I wonder... "what if I prayed like that? What if I REALLY prayed like that?  

They knew that no one but Christ could cure them.  
They recognized that no other Healer could help them. 
They were aware that no other Savior could set them free - and so they begged and pleaded and implored, against all odds and opposition, until He came near.  

These were praying people.

Sadly, that's not always the picture of my own praying.  I give up easily.  I lose focus and start chasing squirrels in my mind.  I hear the discouraging words of the multitudes (and even add in a few of my own) and I shut my mouth from calling out to the Lord, the Son of David for the mercy that alone can mend my mess. 

I am far too often a pitiful and impatient pray-er.  

But, then I come across a passage such as this and find myself moved by my Master to seek His face again.
In it He reminds me that He is never too busy for this beggar named Lori.  

Through it He encourages me that when I cry He will come - even though I may meet with deep discouragement while I wait, He will come!!  

From it I am renewed in knowing that my King cares. Jesus is full of compassion for the blind and the broken, for the battered and the bruised - and He is full of compassion for me!

Because of it, may I bend my knees, lift my voice, raise my hands, and pour out my heart to Him -"Lord, have mercy on me, Son of David."  

Jesus has never been too busy for a beggar. 
May I never be too busy, or bothered, or big to beg.  

1 comment:

  1. "May I never be too busy, or bothered, or big to beg." I needed that reminder and am making it a pryaer.