15–21 January 2017.
In today’s business world, networking is important. People go to business dinners hoping to meet important people, to swap name cards, and build relationships with people who can help their businesses grow. But knowing so-called important people doesn’t just help our businesses, it also boosts our own social status. By knowing important people, we get to feel important too. But most of us have experienced the negative side of this: we have been looked down on because to other people we just didn’t count as important enough for them to know. Many of us have been ignored before because we never counted as rich or influential, and we have never been big bosses or business leaders. That rejection hurts.
In Jesus’s day, things were much the same. People regularly rejected the poor and weak, and ignored women and children because in society’s eyes they just didn’t count as important. But thankfully that’s not what Jesus believed.
In today’s text, we see how a father comes to Jesus because he is so worried about his sick son. Remember how Jesus’s disciples angrily chased parents away who were trying to bring their children to Jesus (Luke 18:15–17)? The disciples thought Jesus was too important to let parents waste his time with their unimportant children. But Jesus certainly didn’t think this way.
In today’s passage, instead of angrily sending away this father and son Jesus had compassion on them, healed the son, and brought great peace to that father’s heart. Jesus doesn’t yell at the man and tell him his child is not important enough to care about. Instead, what do we see? Jesus turns and yells at his own disciples because they couldn’t help the child – or maybe didn’t want to.
The disciples didn’t understand that it’s not our guānxì or relationships with “important people” that makes us great, but the love and compassion we show to others, especially those that society ignores. So in verses 46–48, Jesus tries again to teach his disciples this important lesson. Jesus brings a nameless child to his side, and tells his disciples to do the same. Jesus says that those who do that, who welcome and care for the lowest people in society, are the ones who will be counted by God as really great.
I hope we can learn this lesson too, and welcome and care for the weak, humble, and ignored people around us. That way, in God’s eyes we too will get to count as the greatest people of all. And wouldn’t that be marvelous!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis