Ordinary people - real characters
“How did we get into this mess?”is the very challenging title of journalist George Monbiot’s latest book.
He investigates the global financial forces that dominate and shape the lives of individual people.
He points out that these global forces are heartless, impersonal, treating human beings with a total disregard to the value of the person.
Men and women should not be viewed as numbers on a multi-national payroll to be hired and fired by the decisions of company boards thousands of miles away.
The treatment of men and women on zero hour contracts is unacceptable because it is an insult to a working person.
The value of the human personality is discredited, the fate of a person’s dependents disregarded, and the worthy of a person devalued.
But people are not like that.
Robert Burns brilliantly describes individual dignity in‘A Man’s a Man for A’That’.“The rank is but the guinea’s stamp, the man the gowd for a’that.”
Again,“The honest man, tho e’er sae poor, Is king o’men for a’ that.”
And finally,“The man o’ independent mind, He looks and laughs an’a’that.”Men and women have minds to think, and through their wisdom to lead decent lives.
Men and women have feelings, feelings of care for others especially their families. These feelings can be wounded by what happens to us.
Or upset when a parent feels unable to look after their children.
How often we hide our feelings behind that brave smile. Ordinary people have a real sense of right and wrong, fairness or inequality as the residents of Grenfell tower have clearly demonstrated.
People have hopes for their future and that of their children.
We feel it is worthwhile making the effort for others.
Ordinary people have standards often summed up in the west of Scotland verdict“It’s no decent”, when something terrible occurs.
Jesus got on best with ordinary people, for Jesus was a people’s man. He mixed with the ordinary people, the ones you would pass by in the street without noticing them (Luke 15.1-2).
In Matthew 8 and 9 there is a collection of incidents involving Jesus.
There are 10 healings and three scenes of confrontation. But in the concluding sentence we read: “When he saw the crowd Jesus had compassion on them for they were helpless and harassed” (Matthew 9.36). So, always remember, Jesus feels deeply for you.
“Jesus saw the crowd and he had compassion for them.”The Greek word for‘compassion’is very strong and is virtually untranslatable.
Jesus really felt for people. When Jesus saw the grave of his close friend Lazarus he was moved, he knew how that lovely home was suffering.“Jesus wept” (John 11.35).
Jesus did not remain indifferent when the distraught father of the epileptic boy begged for his healing help.“I begged your disciples but they could not help me.”“Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief”(Mark 9.24). Do not imagine that Jesus remained unmoved.
As the father yearned for the healing of his sick son, Jesus felt intensely the yearning of his Father God for God’s sick and lost children.
Jesus also knew how these lost children of men were to be restored.
The father’s plea“If you can”is answered by Jesus’“Yes I can.”But the effort cost Jesus dearly. Jesus told his disciples:“This type of healing is only accomplished through deep spiritual struggling and agony.”
That is the real meaning of Mark 9.29. Jesus really felt for people, and still does.
If only people today experienced that deep side to Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus cares for people today. Jesus is not far away in some church establishment, but is rubbing shoulders with you in bus and train, feeling for you in your homes and families, hopes and fears. Jesus gave the people the Lord’s Prayer in their own language of Aramaic.
Nowadays, Jesus gives us God’s Word in our language. Jesus gives us God’s assistance through human hands, Jesus floods us with God’s grace and love through human hearts.
This is the Jesus Christ whom the people of Scotland no longer recognise.
Jesus still calls out:“Come unto me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11.28).