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rich or poor, oppressed or oppressor… we ALL need Jesus

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Read Mark 10:17-27

It seems not a day goes by where we don’t hear of people being oppressed somewhere in the world. And their inability to overcome oppression strikes a chord with us as we see the injustice they’re experiencing. They didn’t ask for it. It was placed on them by those in authority. Just like the blind man in this story. He didn’t choose his blindness, it’s how he came into this world. And, because the culture at the time required all to work – the rules and laws of today for the disabled didn’t exist – he had no choice but to beg for a living, existing at the low end of the financial spectrum.

Then there’s Zacchaeus. It doesn’t take much cultural reading captured within the Gospels to understand that tax collector were despised. Zacchaeus chose his career, despite the derision he received from doing so. Just like we experience today, taxes were needed for a variety of reasons. However, it was much easier for the tax collectors of the day to pad their numbers and steal from the populace. Zacchaeus lived at the opposite end of financial spectrum. Yet, both the blind man and the tax collector were seen as a drain on society – one begging, the other stealing.

These days, when news of oppression comes to us, we tend to sympathize with the oppressed and despise the oppressor. This is in our human nature. But Jesus’ reaction is slightly di erent. His ministry often meets the needs of the oppressed and crosses profound cultural boundaries to do so. He touches lepers and treats women as equals. Here, we observe Jesus speaking to the beggar and restoring his eyesight. We see Jesus setting aside his plans to visit with the tax collector and peeling the scales from his spiritual eyes.

These two encounters show us the breadth of God’s Kingdom. We might look at someone and wonder how they could ever be part of it, whether they’re oppressed or the oppressor. Nevertheless, following Jesus’ conversation with the wealthy young man in Mark 10:17-27, the disciples were perplexed by Jesus’ comment about the difficulty of the rich to enter God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ final answer is important for us to understand as we continue to follow his leading: “for all things are possible with God.” Just as Jesus did with the beggar and tax collector, give no thought to anyone’s station in life. Whether rich or poor, whether oppressed or oppressor, we all need Jesus.

Reflection and Response

When you look around this world, is there anyone you think doesn’t deserve Jesus? Is there anyone who Jesus might choose that would cause you to become angry? Confess your thoughts and feelings to Jesus and pray for the people you think have no right to receive grace.

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By Rich Obrecht 

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