October 26, 2021

MESSAGE – 22nd Sunday After Pentecost – 24 October 2021

MESSAGE – 22nd Sunday After Pentecost – 24 October 2021

THEMES: Restoration


Although it does not remove the scars of Job’s suffering – he would always carry the grief of his dead children, and the emotional residue of his sickness and humiliation – his story ends with God restoring him way beyond his original prosperity. It’s important to remember that Job is considered one of the books of Wisdom Literature along with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. This means that it wasn’t meant to be a documentary of one person’s life, but a parable of human suffering and restoration.
The message, then, is that when the innocent suffer, God will ultimately vindicate, heal and restore them. This is one of the readings for this Sunday. In Mark’s Gospel, as we will see, there is another restoration – that of the blind man, Bartimaeus. It’s good to be reminded that, although we will all endure suffering, God is in the business of restoration. Even when our suffering is the result of our own foolishness or wrong choices, there is always the opportunity to begin again. There is always a second (or third or fourth) chance.
There is always the invitation to new life.
What is significant in the restoration passages this week is that God’s restoration is never just an individual thing. It always involves restoration to new relationships – with God, with family and friends, with our community, and even with ourselves. The wonderful gift of this is that, as our relationships are restored, our healing is sustained by a supporting and protective network. But this renewal of relationships also means that when any individual is restored, the healing extends through that person to others.
This week we will explore the amazing, restorative, grace of God.


Read: Mark 10:46-52

Reflect: In the Gospel of Mark, we meet one of the few people who receive healing from Jesus who is actually named – a blind man named Bartimaeus. Only Mark names him, but the writer gives us none of his history. All we know is that he is blind, he is a beggar, and he is sitting beside the road in Jericho. However, what happens when Jesus passes by is the real point of the story. As a result of his shouting, Jesus calls him near and in response he throws off his cloak and goes to Jesus. In the New Testament the cloak is often a symbol for the person (which is why Paul instructs us to “put on Christ” in Galatians 3:27). So here, Mark is telling us that Bartimaeus is about to become a new being. Then when Jesus heals him, we read that he followed Jesus on the way. The way is one of the terms for the new community of believers (followers of the way – see Acts 22:4). So here, Mark is describing Bartimaeus as a new believer. The point that Mark is trying to make is that Bartimaeus’ healing is not just about his eyes. It’s about his life, his whole person, his relationship with God, and his connection with his community. Where before he was an outcast, he is now part of the community of faith. Where before he was broken and rejected, now he is healed and included. It’s a wonderful parable of restoration – and an invitation to us to be restored in a similar way. Where do you need to become a new person on the way today?


The Scriptures are full of the cries of those who felt broken and needed God’s restoration. When we are beaten down by life, or by our own foolishness, it is comforting to know that we can place our lives in God’s hands, and trust in God’s restoring power. Today, pray for any areas of your life that need restoring.


Where I am broken, O God, please heal and restore me, O Lord, I pray.