Interruptions: Living in a Culture of Interruptions

Mark 10:46-52

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Prayer: Lord God, as we continue Lent, let us both see and feel you healing power. Pass your blessing on our worship today and your church here on Dover Road. Amen

  1. Today we continue Lenten series on Interruption.
    1. These series are about how God interrupts our most careful plans that we have made — or our hopes for the future are interrupted — by maybe a stranger coming into our lives – or a severe medical condition arises — or there is an accident – or a death of a dear friend— Interruptions — happen all the time.
    1. Interruptions are a part of our life and in many times these interruptions can become an unexpected ministry where we are tested about our compassion.
    1. Sometimes the interruptions challenge our views and prejudices which permit us to see God’s mighty hand at work in us.
    1. We will see that seldom are these interruptions accidental. It’s God’s plan at work.
  2. We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
    1. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by as we could be preoccupied with our more important tasks. . . .
  3. Have you ever heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans?”
    1. We have the whole thing mapped out, and then life happens, and our course is changed.
    1. If we truly live and experience life, we soon discover we can’t control life, that it never goes quite as planned, there are a lot of surprises along the way.
  4. Last week we heard the stories of Jesus being interrupted. Jairus daughter was near death and Jesus was going to her when, in the crowds that surrounded Jesus, a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years touched Jesus’ clothing and he was interrupted in his travels to Jairus home.
  5. Ministry, even with Jesus is a ministry of interruption.
  6. One of Ann’s and my favorite theologians is Henri Nouwen. We were privileged to have met him several times. Henri Nouwen has said: My whole life, I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.
  7. Today’s Scripture is about interruption –again from the Gospel of Mark —- Jesus is on the road to Jericho with his disciples and, of course, many followers.
    1. Jericho is probably one of the oldest cities in the world – dating to 9000 BC. There are layers upon layers of the city built upon each other. It is an archeologist heaven.
    1. We read about Jericho – first in the Old Testament about Joshua and the walls of the city. It was to be conquered by Joshua – but Joshua had a small army and the job seemed impossible. However, Joshua had the Ark of Covenant (containing the 10 Commandments that God had given to Moses) was marched around the walls of Jericho for six days and on the seventh day they blew the horns and the walls fell down and Joshua conquered Jericho — remember the song “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.”
    1. In the New Testament, we read about the story of the Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho (about 13 miles from Jerusalem). In this story the very pious priests pass by the robbed and beaten man until a Samaritan was interrupted in his journey to offer compassion and healing to the man.
  8. Now Jesus and his followers are on the road to Jericho and there is a large crowd with him.  
  9. Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he repeatedly shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped… and said, “Call him here.” Mark 10:46
  10. Jesus has another interruption!
  11. Have you ever wanted to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your life?”
    1. Imagine that you are engrossed in an important project and you finally are focused. Right in the middle of a good thought… someone comes by and interrupts your work…and breaks your concentration! How do you respond?
    1. Or you are getting ready to leave the house for an important engagement, and your daughter or son needs to discuss something that seems VERY important to them and… your plans are interrupted!
    1. Or you get a phone call that completely changes your day.
  12. How do you deal with interruptions? And…can we be honest enough to admit that some interruptions are more than simply annoying…they are poignant.
    1. For example, countless families, have had their lives totally interrupted by two words… “It’s malignant.”
  13. Today, God has a special word for us… an interruption can be an invitation to a deeper walk with God.
    1. An interruption occurs when something or someone breaks into our life.
    1. An interruption can be an opportunity for God to break into our lives.
    1. If we let God into the interruption, that moment can actually be life-changing for us and for another person.
  14. If, however, we don’t see the interruption as an opportunity for service, that interruption can break us apart! It becomes a disruption.
  15. So instead of being angry saying, “Why was my life interrupted?” … what if we were to ask,
    1. “What is God saying to me through this interruption?
    1.  What does God want me to do with this interruption?
    1. Is this an opportunity to serve God?”
    1. The answer to these questions might change our perspective.
  16. There is a God-ordained time in life not to be interrupted.
    1. A surgeon who is deeply involved in performing lifesaving has said: “Surgery is the one time in my life when I can’t be interrupted. There is nothing more important than surgery!”
    1.  The Bible tells us that Jesus rose early in the morning and went to a private place, as was his custom, and he prayed. The disciples realized that this was his power source.
      1. Prayer was his time, early in the morning, to get in tune with God.
  17. Technology has made it almost impossible for us to be unavailable. But, what if we turned off our phone for 15 minutes…and had focused…uninterrupted time to listen to the God of the universe? It might change our perspective on interruptions.
  18. Interruptions are not obstacles to be avoided, but opportunities for service.
    1. Jesus outer life in service grew out of his inner life with God.
    1. That is why he was able to allow himself to be interrupted by Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, in today’s scripture.
  19. If you think about it, Jesus was constantly being interrupted… by Zacchaeus who was up a tree, by the woman at the well… by children who wanted to see him… by sick people who wanted to touch the hem of his garment. Jesus was attentive to the people around him and allowed himself to be interrupted.
  20. Bartimaeus wanted to see.
    1. He had never seen the sunrise with his own eyes.
    1. He had never seen the beautiful rose gardens for which Jericho was famous.
    1. He had never seen the sweet innocent face of an infant.
    1. He had never seen the roiling flow of a river.
    1. He had never seen the stars of night.
    1. He had never gazed upon the faces of his own loved ones.
    1. Bartimaeus lived in a blackened world devoid of color and beauty. No wonder when Jesus asked him what he wanted he replied, “I want to see” (Mark 10:51).
  21. Pause
  22. There is blindness far worse than physical blindness. It is spiritual blindness. You may have 20/20 eyesight and still be spiritually blind.
  23. Helen Keller was once asked, “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?” She replied, “Better to be blind and see with your heart than to have two good eyes and see nothing.” Helen Keller was an amazing woman — she was deaf and blind, graduated from Radcliff and became a renown author and activist.
  24. The Bible speaks of those who are spiritually blind when it says there are people, “whose minds the gods of contemporary culture has blinded.
    1. There are people who do not believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord.
  25. Bartimaeus has a blindness rooted in a physical defect.
  26. Spiritual blindness is:
    1. When we resist the saving grace of Jesus.
    1. When we think that we are in control and hence can set our own path in life.
    1. When we do not believe that there is a creator God.
  27. Bartimaeus was blind, but he did not want to stay that way. He desired a change in his life.
  28. I think that we all know of people who do not want to change their life. There are people who enjoy their misery.
    1. I have found that most people do not desire real change until they reach the bottom. I see that weekly at the Westminster Rescue Mission where change is available.
    1. No doubt there were others in Jericho that day who needed healing, but they had not come to a point of desperation where Jesus was their only hope.
    1. Bartimaeus had reached the point where he knew Jesus was his only hope.
  29. The time for us to change is when God has convinced us that we need to change!
  30. Today is time change Sunday. We all set our clocks forward. What a pain it is.
  31. Well, today is time change Sunday for another reason.
    1. It is time for us to stop procrastinating and to do what we know we should do.
    1. For some of us that means we need to turn some area of our life over to Jesus so He can change us.
    1. Jesus is able to heal our hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
    1. For others of us Time Change Sunday means we need stop procrastinating and we need to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. The time was not optimal for Bartimaeus; he was blind; there were too many people. But he did not delay. He knew Jesus was passing by at that very moment and he did not want to miss out on the power of God!
    1. Do like Bartimaeus did. Stop procrastinating and cry out to Jesus!
    1. Today could be the day that our life changed also.
  32. Thanks be to God.