In the book of Exodus 19 verse 5, the Lord declares that His people will be His treasured possession on the condition that they obey Him. It is said this way;
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,
The book of Malachi 3 verse 17 (NIV) says;
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.
This allusion to how much our God treasures us is a poignant prophecy of the time that was to come and now is when the Lord would gather to Himself highly valued sons and daughters whom He set apart as those who would serve Him.
To be the Lord's treasure requires us to seek Him and His righteousness and to learn His voice and to follow Him and to serve Him. The Lord Himself will give us who believe on His name, the power to become the sons of God and as sons, His treasured possessions.
The Lord Jesus and the disciples were journeying up from Jericho to Jerusalem.
This was a tense journey because it was known that the leaders in Jerusalem were seeking to kill the Lord and instead of travelling away from Jerusalem, He was heading towards the city.
The disciples were likely hoping to adopt a low profile and quietly enter Jerusalem without stirring up too much ferment and try to avoid gaining the interest of the authorities and their informants.
However, as they travelled, a blind man, hearing that Jesus was passing by, realized that this was the one chance in his life to have his sight restored so he began shouting to gain Jesus' attention.
The people around Jesus, edgy because of the tense situation of travelling towards Jerusalem, warned the man to shut up but He made even more of a commotion likely raising tempers among the crowd. Here is how the story goes from Mark 10 verse 46 - 48.
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
The testy group was upset because their anonymity was blown and others on the road to Jerusalem now knew who was on the road with them.
The Lord Jesus, the epicenter of the vortex of the taut situation, stopped the convoy and an encounter between He and the blind man occured in verse 49 and onward;
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Inspite of everyone trying to get Bartimaeus to pipe down, Jesus heard his shouts for mercy and responded to his persistence.
He stopped and called the blind man to Himself and asked him a surprisingly warm-natured question; "What do you want me to do for you?"
Bartimaeus, so desperately wanting to see, summarily responded that he wanted to see.
Jesus immediately restored his sight and the man followed Jesus up the road.
The persistence of the man paid off. He pressed his luck to try to contact Jesus and Jesus heard him over the commotion. The generous and compassionate Jesus responded and gave Him the desire of his heart.
When we call out to Jesus with persistence and urgency, He will hear us too and respond to us as the scriptures say in Psalm 145 verse 18 - 19:
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.
The Lord our God called the young Samuel in the night by his name. Samuel ran to the high priest, Eli, thinking that the call came from him. The story is told this way in 1 Samuel chapter 3 ;
The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Sam,llppuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Eli told Samuel that he did not call him and to return to his bed but after two more instances of Samuel running to Eli, he caught on to what was happening and so Eli told Samuel to respond as to God because it was the Lord calling him. The passage continues this way;
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
This instructive passage models the way the Lord calls His people and how we can respond to God when the call comes to us. We can first recognize who is calling us and then be prepared to listen to Him.
The Lord Jesus calls us to belong to Him as it is related in Roman's 1 verse 6. From among all people on earth including gentiles, the Lord calls us to Himself.
Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
Our calling is a call to a purpose and role. The Lord has specific functions for which we are designed and when we are called, we are matriculating into line of kingdom commissions for which we were created to the glory of our Lord Jesus.
In Roman's 8 verse 28, we then understand that what we are called to is the central driving force of what our lives in the spirit will consist of. The Lord will align circumstances around us in order to turn all things to our advantage in the service of our calling in Him. The passage says it this way:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The calling of God is a highly significant centerpiece of our lives in the spirit with eternal ramifications.
This is why apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 1 verse 10, says;
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,
In the famous definition of love by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 4 - 7, one of the hallmarks of love is that it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
This property of love that forgives and erases wrongs is what makes long term and even eternal relationships based on trust possible. When all records of wrong are erased, friendships and marriages can be renewed everyday with trust and tenderness because they are not encumbered by the weight of guilt or bitterness.
Our God, being love Himself, demonstrates His faithfulness to clear all records of wrongs.
In Psalm 103 verse 11 - 12, it reads;
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Here, the Lord is shown to completely separate from any trace of transgression from those who fear Him.
Again in Hebrews 8 verse 12, we see the same promise;
For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.
The Lord will not remember the sins of His people and they will be able to boldly go before the throne of grace before our God who is merciful.
The apostle John, in describing a vision he had of Jesus, wrote this in Revelation 1 verse 15:
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
When metal glows, it means that it is holding a huge amount of heat energy and some of this energy is radiated as light which gives off the glow.
Described by the prophet Ezekiel in the book of Ezekiel 1 verse 26 - 28, a very similar vision captures a glimpse of the effulgent Lord shining with great glory.
Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.
Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him.
As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
The Lord's appearance in glory is dazzling and fearsome enough for a person's senses to be overwhelmed and cause him to drop to the ground as happened to both apostle John and prophet Ezekiel.
Such a great God of righteousness shines brilliantly in His eternal light.
When our Lord Jesus walked our dusty roads, He lived in an extraordinary way.
He lived the life of a humble itinerate preacher moving from town to town praying for the sick and oppressed and preaching the good news of the kingdom of God.
Sometimes, His budgets were tight where even the obligations of temple fees and taxes were beyond His ability to pay thus requiring a miracle to relieve the financial pressure.
Sometimes He couldn't afford shelter as He mentioned that foxes had holes and birds had nests but the Son of Man had no place to lay His head.
Food was sometimes scarce for the group who followed Him to the degree that they needed to pick raw grain from fields to supplement their diets.
Against this backdrop, Jesus was unfailingly generous and was always prepared to serve the people who sought His help.
An example of Jesus' sense of service was demonstrated when He was in the fishing town of Capernaum. He was suddenly summoned across the lake and He interrupted his visit to the town to sail to Gennaserette where a lost solitary soul, tormented by demons, ran naked among the tombs, cutting himself with stones.
Jesus, with an unwavering sense of duty and service, undertook the mission to find the demon-oppressed man and restored him to His right mind when the instruction to find this lost sheep was issued from heaven.
Another example of His sense of service while in Capernaum occurred when a temple administrator named Jarius and his wife, came to ask Him to heal their dying daughter. Jesus responded immediately and diverted His route towards their home. Even though the girl died before He got there, Jesus pressed through a scoffing crowd to raise Her from the dead.
In a final act of humble service to His followers, after the last supper, Jesus took a basin of water and wrapped a towel around His waist. Our Lord then knelt down and washed His disciples' feet and dried them with the cloth he was wrapped with.
This is the highest expression of service when the Lord, having been given all power and authority by God the Father, humbled himself to do the most menial and humble of tasks in service of those who were His students.
This passage in John 17 verse 3 - 17, tells of the events that took place and the things that were said;
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Our Lord set a very counter-intuitive example.
Worldly norms expect that the people of high status be served by people of low status.
However, through the course of His ministry, Jesus not only taught that "...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave", Jesus also set an example for us by humbly serving those around Him (even his enemies) in a practical way.