Edited: Nov 11, 2018
날짜: 2018년 11월 4일
제목: 역설로 세워가는 교회
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20181104 Sunday Worship Sermon
Mark 10: 46-52 ("The church that is set up as a paradox”)
Today's text should be familiar to most of you.
Jesus was on his way out of Jericho and heading to Jerusalem.
And on the street, he met a blind beggar named Bartimaeus.
When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he screamed toward the crowd.
"Jesus, look here ... Here is the poor person"
Then the people around Bartimaeus scolded and stopped him.
But Jesus let him come closer and asked,
"What do you want me to give you?”
Then Bartimaeus answers, "I want to see."
Bartimaeus opened his eyes immediately, and afterwards he followed Jesus.
This is the whole content of today's text.
I would like to look at this story in two ways.
First, let us look at this from the perspective of Jesus.
I think it is meaningful for us to look at Bartimaeus from the perspective of Jesus and to be interested in him.
Brothers and Sisters, all human beings are precious beings that God loves so much.
No one can be abandoned by anyone.
No one deserves to be ignored.
However, at that time, the Jewish society had the wrong idea.
At the time of Jesus, those who had a disability or a terrible illness, was not treated as a human.
So Bartimaeus, who has a disability, was of course ignored by people.
He was not considered as a human being, and not important.
He was considered as a worthless person.
As I read this story, it seems that Bartimaeus was probably abandoned by his parents from a young age.
Because he has no name.
This Bartimaeus is not a name.
It's a combination of "Bar" and "Timaeus"
"Bar" means someone's son.
So, "Bartimaeus" means "son of Timaeus"
Yes, he does not have a name.
He was probably born visually impaired.
His parents probably abandoned him and left him with no name.
Been abandoned, never been treated as a person, and begging just to survive.
But Jesus' sight was concentrated on Bartimaeus who was worthless among many people.
Jesus stopped there.
This is important.
Jesus' mind remained with Bartimaeus.
And Jesus healed him.
Brothers and sisters, what caused Jesus to fix his sight on him?
Why did Jesus' sight stay there?
It is because the kingdom of God begins there.
God's kingdom begins with the little one.
The kingdom of God is built from the low, and from the dark place where no one looks.
The most holy and glorious kingdom of God begins in the low and lowest places.
In other words, it is upside down.
It is a paradox.
We should remember this.
The church is built when it is laying low, not when it is about to climb higher.
Jesus lived that way, and we are the body of Jesus.
The glory of the church, when is it to be found?
Is it when we have great influence?
No. It is when we head to the lowest place.
So I think that the position of today’s text is very important.
Before todays’ text, there is a scene in which Jesus’s disciples argue for a higher position.
They asked for the top position.
They wanted to go higher.
Jesus said to the disciples.
"It should not be among you."
The church should not do that.
The church cannot be built as such.
And when Jesus came out of Jericho, he stopped gazing at Bartimaeus.
I thought it was a rebuke to the disciples who are trying to look only at the high places.
The one who lives for the highest will of God is to aim for the lowest place.
Jesus, came to this earth to obey the will of God.
So, Jesus paradoxically focused toward the lowest people.
When Jesus first began ministry, he taught us the purpose of the ministry as quoting from the prophet Isaiah.
It is said in Luke 4: 18-19.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
There is no other way but to follow Jesus' way.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is heading to an imperfect place because he is perfect.
Jesus is in a dark place because he is a light.
Jesus is looking for those who are not loved because he is love.
The kingdom of God is constructed as a paradox.
If we really dream of a beautiful church in which the glory of God and holiness manifest, then we must go to a lower place.
We should take after Jesus’s heart and follow there.
If we are a church builder, what should we look like?
The more we receive grace, the lower we must be.
The more we love God, the lower we are toward the world.
Try to serve more and try to be lower.
It is not a struggle to rise, but a fight to be low.
And we should be interested in the weakness of people.
Jesus was interested in the weakness of Bartimaeus.
That's where the Kingdom of God could begin.
And he healed him.
And that is where God's kingdom begins.
Do you know the country of Finland?
When I think about this country, I think about welfare and education.
In the past I have seen a short documentary video about the education system in Finland and I was impressed.
The education that we have understood so far is to compete and discriminate to create excellent talent.
In contrast to educational policies that encourage and boast discrimination, Finland has been teaching paradoxically to help ashamed discrimination and overcome discrimination.
It was actually an adventure.
The country, Finland, was ruled by the colonies for around 700 years.
When they were liberated from the colony, nothing remained for them.
It was surrounded by powerful nations.
So they leave one premise.
“We have nothing. A person is a resource."
And they think "we cannot afford to lose any kid's talent."
That thought was the starting point of this adventure.
In the 1980s, the whole world encouraged competition among students in schools to build better people.
However, Finland was different.
In 1985, Finland abolished all favored classes in schools and removed the rank from the report card.
They just gave each student a checklist to check their level of accomplishment and the goals they would like to achieve according to their level.
And they eliminated competition in the classroom, and in the classroom they help each other to care for each other's weaknesses and to encourage and build each other.
They have been doing this education system for nine years, and after nine years they take something like an evaluation test.
Through this test, for once, discrimination is revealed to them.
They find out the schools with good students and the schools that do not.
And they enforced amazing policies with the evaluation result.
The school who doesn’t have many good student receive more money, about 1.5 times the budget.
They report, "We are interested in more and more students who cannot, and schools that are worse. The reason we use discrimination is not to divide them but to make them equal."
I was so moved by this.
These policies have not changed at all in the process of changing the regime.
And they receive a report card from the world.
It is evaluated as a country with low difference in academic achievement among students in the world.
And they got another report card.
OECD hosted "1st place in international academic achievement evaluation"
Brothers and sisters, what does the church do in a world that promotes discrimination?
Are you following the trend of the world and assimilating into the wave of discrimination?
So, do you have to be interested in getting bigger and stronger?
No. It is going backward.
It is towards the weak person.
It is imitating the heart of Jesus, caring for them and helping them.
I believe that the people who resemble Jesus should be more in the church.
I hope that we all become such people.
I want you to be God's people who change the world through the paradoxical church.
Secondly, let us look at this from the perspective of Bartimaeus.
Let’s think about it in Bartimaeus’s shoes.
Bartimaeus was born a beggar from birth.
What is a beggar’s hope?
The beggar's hope is to be rich.
The desire of the beggars on the road is to receive a lot of money.
In Acts 3, there was a man sitting at the gate and begging.
As Peter and John passed by, he waved his hands and begged.
What would he ask for?
He asked for money.
It was natural because he was a beggar.
But, the Bartimaeus in today's text is a little different.
He wants something else.
This is very important.
Bartimaeus does not want money.
He heard that Jesus is going through Jericho.
He has heard that Jesus is passing by now.
So he screamed. "Jesus! Here is the poor person.“
Despite the people stopping him, Jesus concentrated on him.
And Jesus approached Bartimaeus and asked.
"What do you want? What do you want me to do to you? "
If he was a common beggar, he would say "Give me money ... Please make me rich...”
But Bartimaeus spoke differently.
”Lord, I want to see."
This is very special.
I want this confession to be heard by all of you.
Brothers and sisters, what is the Lord interested in us?
Yes, He is interested in our weaknesses.
The Lord is strong and interested in our weaknesses.
The Lord is interested in our wounds as he is perfect.
So when we come to the Lord, He sees our pain.
He sees our weakness.
And he listens to our voice.
We need to think deeply about Bartimaeus’ confession again.
What is the greatness of Bartimaeus' confession?
Bartimaeus was not asking for things that he did not have because of his weakness when he came to the Lord, but he is asking for the healing of his weakness.
"Lord, I have a fear. Please give me boldness."
"Lord, I have a weak character. Please heal me".
This is true faith.
In the presence of the lord, we go ahead as we are however not staying still but seeking and believing in the Lord who wants to heal and restore it.
This is true faith.
Bartimaeus went on this faith.
And when he confessed to Jesus by faith, Jesus gave him the grace to heal him.
Jesus has given him much, much more than being rich.
"Lord, I want to see."
He got to see right away.
This is such an amazing grace.
Weakness was healed.
But what is more impressive in today's text is what follows.
“He was soon to see and follow Jesus on the way."
Yes, he was walking along the path of Jesus on the spot.
He went to Jerusalem with Jesus.
Bartimaeus opened his eyes and not just for sight.
When he asked Jesus, I believe that Jesus helped him not only to find the lost sight, but also to open the eyes of the Spirit to see the way of Jesus.
This is what impresses me.
We have come to Jesus with our weaknesses, and He has made us see His ways.
I told you that there was a scene in which the disciples were fighting for the higher position of each other in front of today's text.
The disciples did not see, but Bartimaeus saw the way.
The disciples tried to go higher, but Bartimaeus followed the path of Jesus because he understood the mind of Jesus toward the low and the way Jesus went.
Yes, he began to live a paradoxical life.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord will ask us today.
I hope we answer. "Lord, I want to see.”
May we all enjoy the grace of healing and restoration when we come to the Lord with our weakness and seek His faith and recover.
But I do not want us to stay there.
I want all of us who live in that paradoxical life to follow the path, knowing the heart of the Lord, who is looking the low and facing the weak.
I hope we will become those who build up the church of the Lord with the life of such paradox and establishing the kingdom of God. Amen.