How can I help you?/ Mark 10:36-42 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday October 24th 2021 / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Mark 10:36-42
Theme: How can I help you?
Intr – Costumers rudeness on the rise in Saskatchewan.
The reasons for that may vary, from people being affected by the pandemic stress to people showing their true colours. Perhaps because of that trend, I’ve seen recently some stores carrying a sign that says: “The whole world is short staffed. Be kind to those who showed up for work.”
In the Gospel today we see an episode of Service in Jesus’ life. There’s this blind person along the way which no one really cares much. Let alone if a King, a Messiah would pass by. He certainly has more important things to do and more important people to visit.
The King of kings calls him up though. That was so surprising for the culture of the day that people try to shush him away. The blind man insists, and he is eventually brought to Jesus’ presence.
And what does the King of kings do? He serves him. Jesus, God and Man, asks him: “How can I help you?” He puts himself as a waiter, a staffer – in other words, a mere “whatever person” in the eyes of people who would show disrespect for “lower class” workers. Now Jesus doesn’t ask him to log in, fill up a form, to submit it to see if in so many days the king would answer. Humbly, he is in front a “nobody” asking “What do you want me to do for you?”
Things we can treasure to heart from this episode of Jesus’ Service in the Gospel of Mark
Jesus serves you
How is Jesus treated by the very people he came to serve?
_Contempt, indifference, aggressiveness, opposition.
How is he treated sometimes even by us?
_Forgetfulness, a “co-pilot” who s there in case of need; emergency button; the guy who started with his work what I have to finish with mine; the name that I won’t mention too much in my secularized society, so I don’t look “extremist, or old fashioned, or naïve, or…”
Whenever our faith is not active in worship, love and service in Him, we are being people who are rude to the One who serves us. We are being impatient and indifferent to the One who provided us with the Service we needed the most.
But He is a Patient Servant. A loving one. He is not quitting the job, He is not walking away, he is going to look for another planet with better people, nor will He be “staying away from people who are negative”. He knows the sinfulness of our hearts, and that’s exactly why He came to serve us. He comes even closer to serve our repentant hearts with His forgiveness and love.
Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus – he prays! Insistently and confidently, even when people try to dissuade him form doing so.
In your prayer life, you will also hear from people of your day “stop bothering Him”. You will cry out for Him in prayer. There will be the “stoppers” and the “mockers”.
_Stoppers: ”Stop bothering God, why would he listen to you compared to other billions of people?”
_Mockers: “Are you sure he can here you? Are you one more of those people who believe in “thoughts and prayers”.(interestingly enough in the same breath we hear denying of prayers we will sometimes hear things about “good vibes”, “positive energy” and the like).
Be like Bartimaeus. Don’t stop praying, don’t stop crying ou to Jesus. You know He is there. You know Jesus will hear your prayer. You know Jesus will tend for your heart and for your life.
Also, be like Bartimaeus and not like the disciples. Jesus asked the same thing of them “What do you want me to do for you”. The disciples asked to be served, to be in a position of importance. The blind man in humbleness asks Jesus to serve and help Him in his needs.
How does Jesus show mercy? By listening to Bartimaeus and serving Him.
Jesus shows mercy to you by listening to your cry, your prayer, and by asking you “what do you want me to do for you?”
Actually, He already did on His Cross. And he continues to do everything for You in His Word, His Sacrament in your daily life.
Jesus actually answers Bartimaeus prayer by opening his physical eyes. A miracle takes place.
This may leave us wondering: why when I sometimes pray for healing for me and others that doesn’t take place they way I’ve asked it? What does that say about God’s Mercy?
I can’t cover the entire topic in this brief sermon but here is one thought for our consideration: Did all the people that Jesus healed die afterwards? They surely did. If asking Jesus for healing would be always a 100% match, every Christian would be still alive. As soon as you get sick, you ask for healing, you are healed, and you carry on in life indefinitely.
Of course we like to be healthy and we don’t want to die. But being healed or not is not the touchstone to define God’s Mercy, Grace and protection. We will all eventually. The touchstone is the Cornerstone – Jesus and His death. He came back to life, so will we. And we see this at the end of our text for today. Jesus healed that man. But the important thing is. “You faith has made you well”
Your faith makes you well; in joy and sorrow, in tranquility and distress, in peace and ordeal, in illness or health. Your faith makes you well because it is a gift from Him who healed you from sin and death eternal, and because it is through faith that Jesus is yours. That Jesus is with you. He serves you. “What do you want me to do?”, He asks you too. What can we say? Many things, but above all: I want Your will to be done. For it is always precise, perfect and just all the time.
Jesus serves us. We are called to serve him and our neighbour.
[Back to the service theme, we all heard, at some point of the pandemic, how mankind was wishing that it would make us “better people”, more kind, etc… Days into the reopening last year though, and the news were already in. Like this one”: “Massachusetts ice cream shop closes one day after reopening amid corona virus over patrons harassing workers”
I used this news on my Facebook page to illustrate something I wrote early into the pandemic and I wanted to share it with you today:
“[we see many] texts portraying life before covid-19 – hustle and bustle, little time for family and friends, greed, consumerism, selfishness, etc… - which go on to preach a better world and a better Humanity after it. They wish, almost demand that people would go back to daily life differently; that the world would be transformed, and people would enjoy more family, kids, would preserve the planet, put their smart phones away for longer, and stay away from their credit cards, among other wishes.
These are supposed to be inspiring, but they fall short from that goal. After the preaching of the Law - the world as it used to be – comes more preaching of the Law - how everybody should behave better after the crisis is gone. More legal demands, which means more guilt.
Breaking news: when life goes back to normal, we will all continue to be what we were: human beings. Sinful, lustful, selfish, indifferent… You can list all the Ten Commandments here. Transformation doesn't come from the Law, which at its best can hinder some attitudes, or give some orientation to others. Transformation is made inside with the Gospel that Forgives sin, points to Jesus and His Word and Will for our lives.
We are always trying to make sense of things, and it’s not different now. While that is useful, it usually can be done only in hindsight. Trying to guess what God is up to right now or tomorrow without sound biblical basis will only bring us either more anxiousness and despair, or more legalism and hypocrisy. We need to be honest; it is very unlikely that we are all going back to normal life doing all the right things we didn't do before.
Christ has transformed us in his Word to send us out in the world to do our best in doing good, that’s for sure; but in His Word we are also reminded that we remain sinners in daily need of his forgiveness and love. And they are always there, unlimited, abundant and permanently available. It prevents us to be too pessimistic about the future, or too optimistic about humanity, leading us to the real life with the real God, facing all the problems that come from sin and enjoying all the blessings that come from the Son.”]
Cc – “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks. We answer: “Lord, open the eyes of my heart constantly to Your Work, Your Word, Your World. For The whole world was out of staff with no one in position to do the work. I want to be thankful to the One who showed up to do the Work – serving me Salvation and Life.”
 Mark 10:35-45
Other thoughts to consider:
_Jesus Himself was in an extreme situation in the Garden of Gethsemane, facing imminent torture and death. He asked to not suffer, still He did. He was tortured and died.
_Did Jesus heal all the people in the world when he was here? Not for sure. He healed some, some he didn’t. Can we be thankful for the ones who were healed, or should be only focusing on the ones who continued to be sick?
_How many times have you and I been healed, even when we don’t know we were in danger? As we know, death can be tragic, but sometimes it can be simple and even stupid. Do you know how your immune system, a marvelous Creation of God, works to fight illnesses in your body? Many times we all have been protected by Him, even when we didn’t cry out for help; they may prevent us from thinking that God is not loving and merciful because when a loved one is ill or dies – which are inevitable consequences of sin.