Reacting to Jesus

Today’s Reading: Matthew 9:27-34; Mark 6:1-6; Psalm 92

After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?”

“Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”

Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.

When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.

But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons” (Matthew 9:27-34).

Here are two completely different reactions with two distinct endings. The two blind men believed and their faith led to their healing. Once healed, the men who had once been blind had a story to tell and traveled the region praising the man who had healed them. The Pharisees saw God moving in the midst of other people and their jealousy caused unbelief. Instead of praising God, gossip and criticism were on their tongues.

When a community or group of people or Church family have a strong faith in God and spend much time rejoicing and praising God, God moves in their midst and the evidence of His presence is marked by miracles and healings. When negativity, pride and jealousy are stronger than our praise and faith, we miss out on what God could be doing in our midst.

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief (Mark 6:1-6).

It saddens me how often I run into people who are “deeply offended” because it affects their ability to experience what God has to offer them. Their focus turns inward and they spend more energy feeling sorry for themselves and expecting an apology from someone else than they spend focused on God. I know I have been guilty of this myself and it is a miserable existence.

This morning, I choose to praise God and not worry about who has offended me. I want my coffee with a little room – room for faith and praise, not room for self-pity and pride. I want my coffee to be sweet with grace instead of bitter with unforgiveness. Lord, empty us of all that blocks your presence in our lives today. Forgive us for believing in our own rights more than just trusting in you. We love You, precious Father. Amen.

It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening…
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O Lord, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts.
Only a simpleton would not know,
and only a fool would not understand this…
“The Lord is just! He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”
– Psalm 92:2,4-6,15