01 May 2010

Jesus Warns Careless Spiritual Teachers

Matthew 12:22-37

Who or what we centre our lives upon determines how we see everything.  And how we see the world around us determines how we decide to live.

We have already read many examples of the current religious class refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jesus' ministry.  They did not dare acknowledge the legitimacy of Jesus' ministry because that would mean repenting of their previous assumptions about God and therefore changing how they saw themselves and those around them.

In this latest example, we read about Jesus performing another healing.  This time he drives out a demon who blocked the sight and speech of the man possessed.  Again, look at the reactions of those who witnessed the miracle.  Note that no one, not even Jesus' enemies deny that the miracle took place.  Even the enemies of Jesus can't do that since the one who couldn't see or speak is now seeing and speaking.  The crowd reacted rightly wondering aloud if Jesus was the Son of David.  Is this man the promised one that God has sent to save us and restore the kingdom of Israel?  In desperation, the religious class exclaims that it is all an elaborate hoax by the ruler of demons. (Again, the religious class shows a heart of stone in refusing to rejoice for the man who has been healed.)

Jesus gives a harsh rebuke.  He warns all those within the sound of his voice to be very careful what we attribute to God and what we attribute to demons.  Jesus uses the opportunity to give a pointed lesson about the kingdom of God.  If we do not worship and serve the Lord God only, we serve someone or something else.  And at the end of the day, according to Jesus, it will be the kingdom of God that will conquer all other kingdoms.

Seeing the Spirit of God at work should have been a catalyst for great rejoicing among God's people.  For some, it certainly was.  But, for those who were the self-proclaimed spiritual teachers of Israel, this was not good news.  Why?  Because at the end of the day, they did not serve our Father in heaven.  They served someone else.  And for anyone who does not or refuses to serve in the kingdom of God, the proclamation that the kingdom of heaven is near is not good news.

Father, your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.

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