Matthew 9:32-34; Two Reactions

The healing/exorcism of the deaf-mute person is told with little style and action. The focus is obviously on the two different reactions to the miracle.

The crowds were amazed. They hadn’t seen anything like this before. It was another kingdom miracle.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, were not so pleased. They did not like this upset to the status quo.

So they resorted to ridicule.

Ridicule is the last refuge of those who are disenfranchised. Ridicule is the stock-in-trade of Twitter and Facebook arguments. Ridicule intends to tear others down.

I’m not sure if the Pharisees were tweeting to the crowds or to one another, but they ridicule Jesus by calling him names, by saying that his power comes from the wrong place.

In this case, Jesus doesn’t refute them. That will come later.

I suppose we see the same two responses to Jesus today. Mostly ridicule.

In the stipulations of the Sinaitic covenant, Israel is accordingly forbidden from worshiping other gods (Exod 20:3; 23:24; 34:14; Deut 12:31; Judg 6:10; 1 Kgs 9:6–7; 2 Kgs 17:35–38; Jer 25:6)— not because God is some kind of jealous narcissist, but because of God’s passion for his own glory (Deut 4:24) and because of the dehumanizing effects of idolatry (12:31). In other words, the biblical materials witness to an exclusive monotheism.

Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology

This is one of the problems I have with Reformed theology. I don’t disagree with the conclusion, but I fail to see how “God’s passion for his own glory” is different from jealous narcissism. If I said I had great passion for my own glory, what would you think of me?

Discuss amongst yourselves. And leave a comment.

Matthew 9:27-31: Two Blind Men

Two blind men recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Son of David) and cry out for mercy. I think it’s interesting that Jesus makes them follow him back to the house before he helps them. I mean, they are blind.

Blindness is special. Healing of blindness is another sign of the kingdom. Healers of the day couldn’t help blind people, but Jesus did.

He probed their faith a bit and healed them with a touch.

He also asked them to keep it on the down low, probably because he didn’t want so much of the Son of David stuff and possibly because he didn’t want followers-on just because of the miracles. And blindness was definitely a special case.

They disobeyed. Which goes to show that people of faith don’t always obey. It would have been better, and expressed better faith, if they had obeyed.

The kingdom is coming and it is here.

People attending our church never really learn who Jesus is or what it means to follow him. All they learn is how to be saved and how to have a better life.

Matthew 9:18-26; Two Kingdom Miracles

While Jesus was teaching about wine and wineskins, an opportunity to demonstrate came along. A leader (of the synagogue?) came and asked him to bring his daughter back to life.

That is faith. Healing is one thing. Raising from death is another altogether.

Jesus went with the leader to do the miracle.

On the way, a woman with a longstanding female bleeding problem encountered him and expressed her faith in what seems kind of a magical manner. Her disease is physical with social ramifications; perhaps that has made her reluctant to have normal social interactions. But Jesus honors her faith and heals her. He looks at her and really sees her. He offers her a “take heart”.

Her faith—any faith—is not magic. Faith is an awareness of the kingdom at some level, and a willingness to accept Jesus and his kingdom. It is taking sides with Jesus. It is loyalty to him. The leader expressed his faith by bowing before Jesus and asking him to do the impossible. The woman expressed her faith by trying to be unobtrusive and to stay out of the way, as she had learned to do. Jesus honored both.

Mourning had begun for the dead girl. Jesus sent the mourners away and simply took the girl by the hand and raised her.

The kingdom has come. New wine.

I’ll side with Jesus.

What kind of church does the world need us to be? | Psephizo

The two big questions that a lot of people have been asking in the time of the pandemic are: What does this mean for society, and what will the ‘new normal ‘ look like? and What does this mean for the church—how can we rethink what we do? But I think there is a bigger question which I am not sure people are asking so much: what kind of church does the world in this situation need us to be?
— Read on