21 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 9:32-34 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 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. 34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.” (Matthew 9:32–34 NLT)
In Matthew chapter 9, the Pharisees accused Jesus of four different sins: Blasphemy (Matt 9:3); Befriending outcasts (Matt 9:11); Not being pious enough (Matt 9:14); Being empowered by Satan (Matt 9:34). We get really impatient with them and their blindness to Jesus. After all, can’t they see he is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the World? No, actually they can’t, because their religious pride, their inflexibility, their spiritual short-sightedness, their jealousy and envy blocked their ability to see the truth.
Twenty centuries later, we know the Pharisees were wrong about Jesus. We know they were wrong because he died, was buried, and rose again. He ascended to the Father and sent his Spirit to empower the church. And besides, the Bible says he’s God’s Son, our Savior! They didn’t know that and so they did what people who think they’re right and everyone else is wrong typically do. Because they weren’t able to change and learn and grow, they accused and rejected and attacked Jesus.
But what about us? When we see someone doing ministry differently than us, do we quickly make a critical judgment? Do we accuse them of doing Satan’s work? Do we reject and judge them because they don’t believe all the doctrines or practice all the practices we do? Or do we prayerfully and carefully investigate to see whether they’re producing good fruit?
How can we change if we can’t learn? How can we grow unless we think thoughts we haven’t thought before? What if the greatest deception is to think that we alone are right and everyone else is wrong?
Father, Give us hungry hearts and open minds to learn your truth and your ways. Please soften our hearts to not be quick to judge, and help us to have eyes to see and ears to hear what you are doing in our world. May your kingdom come and your will be done! For your kingdom’s sake! Amen!