Have you ever noticed how often in the Bible, especially in the New Testament gospels and Acts of the Apostles, that the stories are filled with people who have bit parts? They appear for a small episode or scene and then we never hear of them again. Some are never even named.
Think of all the bit-part Bible characters you know just from the gospels. How many people encountered Jesus during His earthly ministry. Here are just a few: the woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Mark 10), the father who brought his epileptic son to be healed (Matthew 17), and the paralytic lowered through the roof by four friends (Luke 5).
When you hear those stories, do you ever wonder about what kind of people they were in real life? After all, they did have personalities, families of origin, and opinions about current events.
But the defining moment of their lives, the reason the biblical writers wrote about them, is that they had an encounter with the living God. When Bartimaeus and the woman at the well met Jesus Christ of Nazareth, everything about their lives changed.
Bartimaeus was a blind beggar who sat by the road haranguing people for money. In fact, he was so obnoxious in his calling out to Jesus that the people near him told him to hush up. They could not stand his yelling.
The woman at the well came to draw water at midday so she would not have to encounter the other townsfolk, who clearly did not approve of her lifestyle. She went from relationship to relationship, looking for something that she could not find in the men she had married or lived with.
All these people seemed like no more than walk-on, walk-off players in the Bible drama. But, when they and many of the people around them met Jesus, they were all changed. They saw the possibilities that Jesus Christ brings. They saw into eternity and recognized their place in God’s family. They might have had only a bit part in the writing of the gospels, but they were the main characters in God’s plan of love for them. They were the reason the Son of God came to earth, faced down death, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. They were the focus of God’s plan of salvation.
And now, the same can be said about you. You may feel insignificant or think that your life makes no difference. But you are the focus of God’s daring drama of love, in which He launched an all-out search across time and space to reclaim you.
When you look into eternity and see yourself as the focus of God’s tenacious love through Jesus Christ, your life will forever be changed. Live that change!
— Dr. Tim Vanden Langenberg is pastor of Hope Family Church in Hutchinson.