LEVITICUS 25:47-27:13 | MARK 10:32-52 | PSALM 45:1-17 | PROVERBS 10:22
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46 These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.“
And so ends Chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus.
The decrees, laws, and regulations are many in number and unambiguous in content. There is black and there is white. There are some shades of gray for which restitution is available and redemption is possible, but for the most part this is a no-nonsense law.
The two outstanding features of the law are those concerning the abhorrence of idolatry and the observance of the Sabbath. Graven and molten images made by hand were not to be worshiped. And setting aside one day of the week for rest and worship was the rule. How difficult could it be? But it was, as we see time and over again. If the reward for obedience was generous beyond expectation, the punishment for disobedience was equally opposite.
Turning next to our reading in the Book of Mark, we see that Jesus once again foretells his death and also his resurrection. As he talks with his disciples, there is an interesting interlude with James and John, two brothers who have big plans even for the afterlife.
They wish to have positions of prominence in being seated on either side of the Almighty, but Jesus says to them: 43…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The story of blind Bartimaeus receiving his sight is quite an extraordinary one. If there’s one thing this blind old man had, it was an abundance of faith. So great was his faith in this man he called ‘Son of David’ that he calls out to Jesus to have mercy on him. And Jesus turns to him and asks him what one might think to be the most redundant question: “What do you want me to do for you?”
Of course Jesus knows exactly what the man wanted, as did everyone else in the crowd. And yet, Jesus asks the question which bears the obvious answer. Might it be that the lesson from this is that Jesus wants us to articulate our exact need to him. Whatever it is that we might need, he wants to hear it. He cares about the details, all of them. May it be that we might also have Bartimaeus’ faith in what we ask.
Jesus’ response to Bartimaeus is plain and simple: 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”
Turning next to the Psalms, we find Psalm 45 to be a wonderfully mysterious song that ought to be studied at length.
Finally, the verse from Proverbs causes me to pause and ponder about it. Perhaps by corollary, the wealth that brings trouble is because it doesn’t come from the Lord. Or perhaps it is so because we add the trouble to it ourselves. Solomon, wise king of Israel says this:
22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
and he adds no trouble to it.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.