August 20, 2021
If we are not careful, the ever-present pride of our hearts will blind our eyesight. Pride exalts ourselves and puts ME at the center of everything. When my vision is filled with me, I cannot see God. But also, I cannot see the people around me. They become objects used for the purpose of exalting me.
Jesus gave us constant lessons about our pride and how it affects people, for He knew it was one of our greatest problems. Jesus had been invited to "the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath" (Luke 14:1-6). The Pharisees were "watching Him closely." They thought they were going to have a nice meal and maybe catch this new teacher in an error, but Jesus was more intent on giving them a stunning lesson about how we should treat people.
PEOPLE AROUND YOU ARE SUFFERING
"There in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy." (vs. 2)
The Pharisees didn't notice the man's condition. He was merely an object. They had no intent nor desire to get to know him. But Jesus noticed him and immediately recognized the disease he had and the suffering it was causing. "Dropsy" is what we now call "edema" and is the swelling of the body's soft tissue, most often caused by congestive heart failure.
Suffering people are right in front of you today. If you take the time and interest to notice them and even talk to them, you will discover that most have some debilitating suffering. They may have outward symptoms, but their suffering is usually a condition of the heart.
PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR POLICIES OR PROJECTS
"And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?" (vs. 3)
Notice that there were lawyers there, and Jesus asked them if it was "lawful" to heal this man on the Sabbath (for there was a Phariseeical law that prohibited this.) Jesus was out to show them that policies and procedures men have devised are never more important than the people around us.
HELPING PEOPLE MUST BE HANDS-ON
"But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away" (vs. 4)
The lawyers and Pharisees were silent. To them, the suffering man was an object, nothing more. But because Jesus saw people personally. He immediately began to meet the suffering man's needs, and the way he did it was revealing.
Jesus "took hold of him." Distance observations were important initially, but now it was time to do something. Jesus grasped the man. His ministry was life-to-life, flesh-to-flesh.
Many of us are unwilling to see ministry so physical. We want to develop a committee, make a broad policy, give a little money so someone can do something about the "dropsy" problem among us.
But not Christ. This suffering man had a heart problem, and Jesus is a specialist in heart issues. He instantly engaged. He didn't consult anyone, order a study done, turn it over to someone else, elect an official. He physically engaged this man and healed him.
You will encounter many suffering people this week. If you live in pride, looking around to see if people notice you, think about you, and (hopefully) are exalting you, you will not see hurting people. In fact, they may be an aggravation to you as they get in the way of your self-promotion.
But they are placed before you on purpose. For if you are a follower of Christ, you have the One who can heal their heart inside of you. He notices them, just as He noticed you. If you humbly follow His promptings, He will use your arms to lay hold of them and heal them.
Father, forgive me for my pride that sees only me. I humble myself before You right now. Open my eyes to see those around me today. Give me the courage to lay hold of them and minister to their heart issues. Let me go deep with them, and I pray you would heal their deepest heart issues.
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