Jesus was ‘interruptible’. How I struggle with this. I like to complete an action, a thought, a sentence. People get in the way sometimes and it’s hard to not rail against the interruption. How do you react to being interrupted? If you’re not sure, just think back to the last time your broadband failed or your mobile signal was inadequate! Jesus was different. It’s as if he courted interruption, sought it out, welcomed it.
In our next Luke passage (men’s Watford midweek meeting this coming 21 September) Jesus is “teaching in one of the synagogues,” (Luke 13:10). Whilst speaking (the Greek is present active indicating he’s in the act) he sees a woman and calls her over. On this occasion he interrupts himself. On others he is interrupted (Lk 18.38-40). It seems to make no difference. Once Jesus is aware of the problem he cannot stop himself from stopping. Not only is his awareness radar on full power, but so is his compassion.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons we pray. Connecting with the Spirit of Jesus sensitises us to the needs of others, and soups up our mercy muscles. Mercy matters. Jesus challenges his opponents to “…go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9.13 NIV11) Mercy is a characteristic of disciples (Matt 5.7), so we’re going to have to get good at being interruptible because, at least in my experience, opportunities for mercy don’t turn up on schedule!
The rest of the synagogue congregation and the leader were as capable of recognising this woman’s need as Jesus, but there was something different about the way he ‘saw’ her. If I learn to ‘see’ people the way Jesus does perhaps I’ll become more interruptible. I hope so.
What helps you to ‘notice’ people in need? How do you feel when you’re interrupted? What gives you the strength to break through the barriers of self-interest? Let me know.
Until the next time.