Our Rhythm of Hospitality

I usually don’t do this, but I thought yesterday’s message from our worship gathering was important to share. The message is on our rhythm of hospitality and our imperative to look beyond ourselves, for His glory. ~Aaron

 

Trouble Today

This week the leadership of The Table got together. At our gathering, we discussed the importance of making our rhythm of hospitality a central piece of our individual lifestyles.  A church planting friend of mind told me that unless a person is surrounded my caring believing friends, that person statistically will not identify themselves as a Christ follower or get involved w/ faith community.  This is not to say that the Holy Spirit will and does work outside of statistics, but I think this is very true to our human nature.  For example, I may go to a concert if I see a flyer on a bulletin board, but I’m more likely to go if a friend invites me.  Even if we have a strong desire to see Jesus saturate our friends and become a part of our community, unless we intentionally invite folks into what we are already doing, those folks may never come around.  So, think for a moment about those around you who you would like to see JC move in, or bring to The Table?

Hospitality is what Jesus displayed in His earthly ministry, and it is what He calls us to do.  Matthew 28 contains what has been called the Great Commission, which in many of our Bibles Jesus is translated as saying, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” w/ these translations, the primary imperative is to “Go.” But a more accurate translation would be something like, “While you are going, make disciples…” Do you see the difference?  I believe what Jesus is saying is that while we are doing the things we normally and naturally do; we are invited to be bearers of the good news of Christ.  This is why The Table has the rhythm of hospitality has a core value, and core mission.  Making hospitality a lifestyle is the most authentic way we can put in a good word for Jesus.  If we want to see His kingdom come around us, we need to allow the hospitality of Jesus to flow through us.

So, think for a moment about those around you who you would like to see Jesus move in, or bring to The Table? As you think about who these folks might be, I’m curious about your relationship to them, and how you feel about that relationship.  Do you feel like God is using you to draw them closer to the cross, or do you feel like you’ve let God down?

Maybe we can relate to the guy in our text tonight.  In Mark 10:46-52, we see an imperfect bringer of good news.  When we think about hospitality or outreach, we often feel like we are imperfect bringers of the good news of Christ.  The man in our text was seen as a nuisance, and an unlikely bringer of good news.

 

Text

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.”

 

Bartimaeus could be seen as an imperfect bearer of good news.  His blindness would have been seen as evidence of God’s punishment upon him or his family. So the only thing he could do was beg.  The day in our text would have been a normal day for him, until he heard a large crowd approaching (v. 46). Bartimaeus would have asked what was going on, and been told that Jesus was about to walk by.  Knowing that Jesus was the one guy who could actually change his situation, Bartimaeus started to scream out to Jesus for mercy.  As a result he was sternly rebuked.  The son of Timaeus proclaiming the son of David was an imperfect bringer of good news, and they let him know.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at our text in the context of the passages around it.  In 10:32-34, JC predicts His death.  10:35-45 is an inappropriate request for honor.  Our text sees an appropriate request for mercy, calling Jesus the “Son of David.”  When Bartimaeus was calling for help, he was also calling Jesus the messiah.  The title, “Son of David,” designated the Messiah as David’s descendant (inferred from 2 Samuel 7) and became a recognized title of the Messiah-King.[1] Then in 11:1-11 sees the Son of David arriving in the City of David.
In light of the context, Bartimaeus is a perfect bringer of good news.  This scene is different than what we’ve seen so far.  In Mark 1, Jesus heals a leper, then immediately says, “See that you don’t tell this to anyone.” In Mark 8, when Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus commands them not to tell anyone.  In Mark 9, when Jesus reveals His divinity at the transfiguration, He again commands them not to tell anyone.  But in our text, Jesus (the one who usually quiets people’s confessions of His messiah-ship) intentionally stops and has Bartimaeus brought to Him.  He doesn’t tell him to be quiet, but blesses the “messiah caller” w/ sight.

But before Jesus restores the man’s sight, He says in v. 52, “Go, your faith has healed you.” Jesus’ words, “your faith has healed you” are addressing two things. I agree w/ John Calvin, when he asserts that Jesus is affirming the man’s faith in two ways.  Jesus affirms the man’s faith that Jesus can heal his blindness.  But on another level Jesus was also affirming the man’s belief that Jesus was the Son of David, the anointed one, and the messiah that the world had been waiting for. [2] Because of this faith, the man was the perfect flag-bearer of the triumphal entry.  Bartimaeus was the 1st among many who in Mark 11 cheered the Son of David entering the City of David, saying, “Hosanna! [meaning save or savior] Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

Bartimaeus was perfectly suited to be the perfect bearer of good news in this moment.  Early on in His ministry, John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting. Jesus reported back that “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor” (Luke 7:21-22). So think about it, right before the Triumphal Entry of Jesus, He heals a blind man. The restored blind man then follows Jesus into Jerusalem, as a sign of freedom affirming the prophecy of Isaiah 61, that captives would be released, that the blind would see, that the oppressed would be freed, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.  The unlikely Bartimaeus was the perfect bringer of good news for this instance.

Good News Today

So return to the folks you thought of earlier.  These are the folks around you who you would like to see Jesus move in, or bring to The Table.  How are you feeling about your relationship w/ them?  Do you feel like God is using you to draw them closer to the cross, or do you feel like you’ve let God down?  We may feel inadequate at times to bring good news or live out our desires of hospitality, but I see Bartimaeus in each of us.  We are imperfect, but changed b/c of Christ.  And I believe that b/c of our imperfections we are uniquely perfect for where we are.  You are the perfect bringer of good news to those people on your mind.  You are perfectly equipped to be hospitable to them in Jesus’ name.  And as a community, we are perfectly positioned to be obedient to the call of the Great Commission, that while we go about doing what we normally do, we can be used by Him for His glory.

Our hospitality doesn’t need to be anything grand or complicated, but it needs to be authentic and relational.  So I’m going to invite you to be risky this week.  Step out and be hospitable in a new way.  And while you do what you normally do, I want to encourage you to lift up the name of Jesus, as you invite folks into your lives, which includes your life at The Table.  The time of the Lord’s favor has come.  Be blessed, and be a blessing.


[1]John F. Walvoord. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985).

[2] Calvin, John. Commentary on the Harmony of the Gospels, vol. 1. Baker books, p. 432

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