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Matthew 9

Matthew 9

You can almost hear the religious leaders whining … “You aren’t doing it right!” Jesus performed miracles, but He claimed to forgive sins. He hung out with the wrong crowd. Sinners instead of the religious elite? How clearly un-messianic. Yet, we see common people drawn to this man. Even a desparate synagouge leader comes begging for help, and receives it. No one who comes open to help and healing is turned away.

Yet the Pharisees continually complain that Jesus is not doing it right! He’s not religious enough. He doesn’t follow their rules. Sure, He seems to know the rules, and follows the Mosaic law, it seems. But, He doesn’t adhere to their rules. How could He be the Messiah?

Now, we’d never be so silly … or would we? Don’t I get upset when God doesn’t step in and “help me out” just the way I’d like, according to my ideas and “rules”? Yep, I confess. I have a sense of what God should be doing in my life, and those around me. I don’t like it that a friend of mine had a stillbirth almost a year ago, and now her son turned four on the day of a chemo treatment for his Hodgkins. Wait God! Not fair! How could you let this happen? Someone at church Sunday mentioned that the family definitely needed some prayer, “something’s up there”. What did he mean? Had they brought this on themselves in his eyes? How insensitive it seemed. I’m sure he would deny that he meant anything about them, but I think he betrayed a sense that God didn’t allow trials like this for no reason. I think I might agree … but not with the conclusion that the reason is lack of faith.

Look at Job … who was ever tested like he was? No one! Why was he tested? To prove his faith, since God knew he could handle it. Maybe we would sometimes wish God didn’t trust us to handle so much, but that doesn’t change the truth that we cannot know for sure why God allows things. We can know that God doesn’t fit into our narrow molds. I know this young boy has done nothing to “deserve” this or bring it on himself. The question for us is not blame, but how do we react. This young family has turned to their faith community. Their church, their family, their friends have all gathered around to uphold, support, encourage, and bear one another’s burdens. This is what our Messiah would do!

The disciples wondered on occasion who was to blame for an illness, or afraid to meet a need due to a stereotype of danger. This was never true of Jesus. He touched the untouchable (by Pharisaical rules), loved the unlovable, hung out with the outcasts and marginalized. In this area, are we disciples of the Messiah?

I think this relates to our relationship to this world, its governments, and its issues. For example, we could ask who is to blame for this recession. We could then blame “them” and look down on them and tell them to make our lives better. To me, this is the wrong approach. This is the pharasaical approach! “Rome is in charge because you won’t follow our rules! God is judging us.” No! The question Jesus answers is this: What should we do given the current situation? His answer? Find the least, the hurting, the needy, and give everything you have to meet their needs, heal their hurts, and elevate their standing, at least in your own eyes. In our day, Christians should not, in my opinion, turn their attention to protecting their own future, or even the future of their family/church! We must trust that God will provide. We need to look at how we can be a blessing to others through us.

Lord, help me to see those around me that are hurting and needy. Guide us as we allocate the blessings You have given us. May we use them for Your glory to help those who need it most. Open our eyes to those in need of what You have given us to steward for Your kingdom’s sake. All we have is really Yours, use them for Your glory to advance Your kingdom!

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