Summary: What if ministry is interruptions?
“Interruptions or Opportunities?”
How do you react to interruptions?
Think about that for a moment.
Think about times you have had your plans interrupted.
Perhaps you had bought plan tickets to visit someone or go on vacation and your flight is delayed.
How did you react?
Perhaps you are on your way to an appointment and you get stuck in traffic.
What emotions does that conjure up in you?
Maybe you are in the middle of a fascinating conversation or you are reading a really good book and the phone rings.
What is your first thought?
Or perhaps you have a landline and the phone is ringing and you are in the bathroom.
So, you rush to the phone half-dressed, out of breath, heart beating a million miles an hour and it turns out to be a tele-marketer.
Maybe you are on your way into a restaurant and a needy person asks you to stop and give them money for a bus ticket.
How does that make you feel?
If you are like me, almost nothing in life is going to go as planned.
And that is because, just about no matter how hard you might try to avoid it, something or someone is going to interrupt you!!!
Maybe it’s your kid wanting breakfast.
Perhaps someone knocks on your door.
Maybe your smartphone starts buzzing with text messages or news updates.
Perhaps someone really needs to talk with you about something.
And before you know it, your plans have been interrupted.
Perhaps our entire day has taken a different turn.
Interruptions are inevitable, and we can look upon them as something bad…
…something that drives us crazy…
…something that stresses us out…
…we can take an entirely different perspective altogether.
In our Gospel Lesson for today we are told that “A man with leprosy” interrupts Jesus.
“He came to him and begged him on his knees, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
How did Jesus handle this interruption?
What was His first “gut” reaction?
Did He tell him to get out of His way?
Did He breathe hard and act annoyed?
Did He tell Him to go to a doctor instead?
Instead, we are told the exact opposite of all that.
We are told that Jesus’ immediate reaction to being interrupted is that He was “filled with compassion.”
The Greek word translated here for compassion literally means to “snort like a horse.”
Now, since it would be pretty strange, to say the least, to read that “Jesus’ snorted like a horse and then reached out his hand and touched the man,” translators, instead try to find a common English word to convey the feelings of Jesus at that moment.
And so, the feelings that Jesus had when he saw the leper came automatically—Jesus was suddenly and deeply moved by the situation of the man.
His experience was one of complete empathy—Jesus was totally in-synch with this man’s difficulty and pain…
…so “at one” with the man that it was as if He felt what he felt.
And a noise arose out of Jesus, a deep guttural noise like the snorting of a horse.