Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
There are lots of people in Jesus’ life. There’s the crowd, looking for excitement and miracles. There’s the Pharisees, looking for a reason, any reason, to squash him and his reputation like a bug.
The Pharisees only heard and said “No” to Jesus. The woman with a daughter with a demon wouldn’t hear “No” from Jesus.
Now this guy couldn’t hear at all. And it’s not unusual for people with hearing problems to also have issues with speaking.
We don’t know much about this guy, but he was the kind of man that people wanted to help. And this wasn’t just one guy who wanted to help, but “some people.” Not certain how many are in a “some”, but it was more than one.
They wanted to help so much that they were willing to interrupt their schedules. Not certain if this story takes place within a single day or over a few days. No matter the length of time, they were willing to put their lives on hold for this fella.
What kind of people are willing to put their lives on hold for? What characteristics do they have that allows us to interrupt our schedules for? What is it about them that we’d rather spend our limited time, energy, and money on?
The short answer lies within our belly button. The more formal terms are navel or umbilicus. While the internet pronounces that there are six types of belly buttons, in my world there are only two kinds; innie and outie.
And like our belly button, some people are innies: bent in on themselves, focused away from the outside world and pulled towards who and what’s important to them: themselves. And then there are outies: people that are outward focused, away from themselves towards other and the outside world.
There are two questions that are just burning a hole in my head and heart. I want to apologize in advance before I ask them. So, here we go.
First, are we an innie or an outie when it comes to life? Are we mainly focused on ourselves or other people? When we see people in need or trouble, is our instinct to stop and help them? Or do we think about ourselves day and night, coming up with creative ways to stay focused on ourselves? What we want? What makes us happy? And with no thought of others?
And second question is perhaps more painful and convicting than the first. Are we the kind of individual that a bunch of people would be willing to drop everything in order to help? Do we attract other people with our lives? Are our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes a magnet that attracts people to the extent that they are willing to give themselves up for someone else’s need?
The person that exhibited both these characteristics was Jesus. Think about it for a moment, he didn’t just stop for a minute to help. No, he left the throne of heaven where he was worshiped from eternity past. He also enjoyed eternal friendship and intimacy with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. There’s an old hymn that says it better than I ever could.
He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race;
'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
I know these may be painful thoughts for some, but they can be the start of an amazing and exciting journey for the rest of your life. No matter your starting point, we have the opportunity to become someone different. Someone new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
The only way to become someone new is not by looking within yourself but looking outside. The only person with the power to transform us is Jesus. Not us, not anyone else, no teaching, no diet, no discipline. Only Jesus.
Will you let him in to change you? He comes from the outside, making us new inside.