WORD: “’Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” (John 9:2-3, NIV) THOUGHT: The call of the disciple of Christ is to recognize the works of God displayed in others. …
“Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.” (Mark 2:3, NIV)
It can be easy to believe that it is only remarkable and extraordinary things that make a difference. Yet, the simplest actions can be transformative. These four men did the most practical thing they knew – each picked up a corner of a mat. It was in meeting an immediate and practical need that the man on the mat was able to encounter Jesus.
Jesus, may we see the small practical need before us. May we be willing to pick up a corner of someone’s mat so they might encounter you. May we never be too busy to meet the needs of another.
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One of the remarkable qualities about Jesus is that he truly sees the man or woman in need that he encounters. So often we pass by without seeing. To see in this way is not dependent on physical sight. It is to be known, to be respected, to be loved. May we, too, see those around us. …
“He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory!” (Matthew 12:19-20)
Justice Jesus-style is not about demanding my rights, but about advocating and advancing justice on behalf of others. It is different from the world’s “justice.” It is a justice of gentleness, compassion, and grace.
Lord Jesus, help us to understand how to live out your justice. May we engage with one another in a way that brings strength, hope, and restoration, rather than brokenness, weakness, and rejection.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
We have a responsibility and opportunity to ‘speak up’ for those whose voices are not heard. We must ensure that we are listening, and lending our voice on behalf of those who need justice. In this we are not replacing the voice of the other, but in getting to know those who are not heard they are able to speak with and through us.
Lord, give me a listening heart so that those who need to be heard may speak through me.
Does your church work to show your community that people with disabilities are truly welcomed and embraced? If not, what good is your faith? Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead, but faith that is accompanied by action is a beautiful offering of love toward God and other people.” …
At face value, Jesus was engaged in the supernatural and people were being healed. Having worked with people with disabilities for two decades and now working with people in extreme poverty in under-resourced countries, I have been blessed to have a new lens through which to see this story. These people healed by Jesus had no hope. Their poverty and disability, in his day, relegated them to begging outside the city. Being healed enabled them to be known again in the general population. Healing brought them back to community. …
This is the space, the home, the dwelling that we share and fortunately it is a place of belonging vast enough for us all. When we encounter weakness or difference in others, it cuts ‘too close to home’ because we recognize our own weakness and self-stigmatization that we try to submerge. Ultimately, refusing the Other is not about the ‘strangeness’ of the Other but about the strangeness of ourselves to ourselves that rejects the Other. …