Prayer pt 10 - Divine Intervention
We are in the 10th message of a series on Prayer
You’ve heard me say many times that, in my opinion, prayer is the most important topic Christian can study
Why do I say that?
I cannot do that without an effective prayer life
Let me give you an example
How many of you here have ever played in a school band or sang in a school choir?
For those of you who have you know the importance of a conductor
The conductor communicates to us through hand motions and other body language to make sure that we come in at the same time, stay in tempo, end together, etc
How well do you think a band or choir would do if there were no conductor?
Everyone just came in when they thought they should and did their best to stay in tempo
Personally I think it would sound terrible!
Bands and choirs need a conductor to communicate with them if they hope to do their best
It’s the same with us and God ...
Our topic for today is Divine Intervention
What is divine intervention?
Divine intervention is simply when God shows up and intervenes in our life in some way
It can look many different ways, from obvious miracles to seeming coincidences and everything in between
Sometimes God intervenes in our lives without any input or prayer from us
Other times God’s intervention requires us asking for help
Our focus for this sermon series is prayer, so we will obviously be looking at divine intervention that is the result of asking God
There are two stories from the bible that I want to take a look at this morning
The first is in Mark 10
Mark 10:46-52 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the 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.
This story is a great example of divine intervention
We have a man named Bartimaeus who was blind
We don’t know if he was born blind, or became blind, but the fact remains that he cannot see
Being blind today is certainly a big deal, I don’t want to seem like I am minimizing it in any way
But today there are many things available to help people who are blind
Everything from braille to audio books to seeing eye dogs
There are many blind people today that live a fairly normal - whatever normal is - life
However, in Jesus’ day this was not the case
There were almost no employment opportunities for people who were blind so most of them had to resort to begging for survival
I don’t know how much money a beggar could make back then, but most beggars I see today don’t make much
Maybe enough to scrape by, but that’s about it - I imagine that it was the same for Bartimaeus
I can imagine that it was a pretty lonely life
Everyone knew him as the blind man, and even in our story he doesn’t have his own identity
Why do I say that?
Because we only know him as Bartimaeus
This is a compound word and would be more correctly displayed as Bar-Timaeus
Anytime you see Bar in the pages of the Bible it means “Son of”
Typically you would see it displayed like Jesus Bar-Jospeh or literally, Jesus, son of Joseph
But here we don’t see a first name
I’m sure he had one, but people just knew him as Bar-Timaeus - the son of Timaeus
He was so insignificant to the people around him that they didn’t even remember his name
I will openly admit that I am horrible at remembering names - to the point that when I meet new people I tell them right up front that I will forget their name
However, I can almost always remember the names of people that I interact with on a regular basis
The more I interact with them, the easier it is to remember their name
But no one knew the name of the blind man, and even if they did he was so insignificant that they still called him the son of Timaeus
How would that make you feel?
I can imagine that it was a very lonely and depressing life for the son of Timaeus
So there Bartimaeus was, sitting alongside the edge of the road in his normal spot
He hears some kind of commotion going on and it sounds like an excited crowd
Bartimaeus asks someone what’s going on and they excitedly reply “Jesus of Nazareth is coming!”
Everyone knew who Jesus of Nazareth was - He was the travelling Rabbi that taught with authority, made the religious leaders upset, and healed people
Bartimaeus got really excited!
Here was his chance! Maybe if he could get Jesus’ attention Jesus would heal him
Maybe he could finally have a chance at a normal life!
He starts shouting
"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!"
Bartimaeus was so insignificant that several people told him to be quiet
After all, they assumed, Jesus had far more important things to do than deal with someone like Bartimaeus!
That didn’t stop him though - he shouted louder and was able to get Jesus’ attention
Bartimaeus also called Jesus the “Son of David” - what’s up with that?
Jesus called Bartimaeus over and then asked him a very interesting question
51 "What do you want me to do for you?"
Why in the world did Jesus ask that question? Wasn’t it obvious?
I know of people who would not want a healing because that means they would lose the benefits they get from their condition
Then there are some people who won’t admit that they need to be healed (deaf girl at BASIC retreat)
It’s kind of hard to receive a miracle when you don’t think you have any issues
So, even though it was obvious to everyone else, Jesus wanted to know what Bartimaeus wanted from Him
Bartimaeus asked to be healed, and was instantly healed
Bartimaeus experienced a divine intervention because he asked God to heal him
His life was dramatically changed for the better because of this divine intervention!
Our second story is found in
Luke 17:11-19 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
Why were these men standing at a distance? (explain)
So, like Bartimaeus, they were social outcasts, but I believe it was even worse for them
Bartimaeus may have been blind, but at least people didn’t throw rocks at him - at least he didn’t have to embarrass himself by shouting “unclean”
So, as you can imagine, these men desired a divine intervention!
14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.
There are two things that stand out here to me
1 - The healing didn’t take place until the men acted
With Bartimaeus it was instant, but for these men the healing didn’t take place until they went to show themselves to the priests
(explain significance of showing)
Sometimes our divine intervention takes place immediately, sometimes it requires us to act first
2 - The only one that returned was a Samaritan
So, the only one to return to thank Jesus was a racial minority that was greatly discriminated against by society
I will not get political with this, but I find it quite interesting
17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
Jesus apparently found the situation interesting as well
What did Jesus mean when He said “Rise and go, your faith has made you well”
Was he saying that the 9 other men were going to, for lack of a better term, lose their healing?
No, I don’t think so - after all, Jesus said “were not all ten cleansed?”
He plainly states that 10 were cleansed and I believe that they stayed cleansed
When Jesus said “your faith has made you well” I believe He was referring to more than the man’s physical condition
Yes, the man was healed, but he was also grateful
He returned before showing himself to the priest to thank Jesus
The man was not only made physically well, but spiritually well
Do you need divine intervention in your life?
Do you need God to show up and change some things for you?
What if God doesn’t intervene?
I’m not going to pretend that I have definitive answers, but let me offer a couple possibilities
The bottom line, however, is that we all need divine intervention
We all need God to show up in our lives and make things different
This means we need to admit and ask!