January 12

Bible Reading: Matthew 9

Matthew 9:24b, “And they laughed at him.”

He is the eternal Son of God, the creator of all things, the one who flung the stars into space and parted the land back from the sea.  Heaven-sent to dwell among us, His life was radically different from any before or since.  He was unconventional in his ways and unwilling to adapt to the demands or expectations of others.  He came to do His Father’s will, and that sometimes led to some crazy responses, including much ill-founded skepticism.  This chapter includes some examples of this…

The synagogue official’s daughter had died, but he believed that Jesus could bring her back to life, so he went to Jesus and to ask for help.  Jesus followed the man, and after stopping to heal a woman, made his way to his house.  There he found a crowd in noisy disorder and heard the flute players serenading her departure.  He bid the crowd to depart, they began “laughing at him” (Matthew 9:18-26).

Some men brought a paralytic to Jesus to be healed.  Jesus said, “Take courage, My Son, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).  The response of the religious leaders?  They accused him of blasphemy (Matthew 9:3). On another occasion, He was reclining at a table in a house with His disciples and other guests, including many tax-gatherers and sinners.  The religious leaders took note and asked the disciples why he would eat with such folks (Matthew 9:10-13).  Even the disciples of John were puzzled by Him.  They fasted, as did the Pharisees.  But they questioned why Jesus and His disciples did not fast (Matthew 9:14-17).  A dumb and demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus.  Jesus cast out the demon and made the man to speak.  The multitudes marveled, but the Pharisees attributed His work to the devil (Matthew 9:32-34).

He was questioned and criticized by both friends and foes and those who didn’t know any better. They questioned everything about Him—His motives, His ability, His ministry style, and His choice of friends.  They accused Him of blasphemy, but the man was both healed and forgiven.  They wondered about his questionable friends, but He had come to seek and save such people.  They were puzzled as to why His disciples didn’t fast—but why should they in the presence of the bridegroom?  They accused Him of healing by the power of the devil, but since when does the devil work against himself (Matthew 12:25-29).

They were laughing at Him, but no doubt stopped when the little girl arose (Matthew 9:24).  He was ridiculed and mocked even as hung on a cross for man’s sin.  To this day, most doubt Him or, while doubting, still accuse Him of all sorts of things.  The cynicism, questions, and accusations should have ceased when He rose from the dead.  That great triumph over sin and death proved both His identity and worth.  But the laughing and criticism continues.  How patient and compassionate is Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  He was patient with the doubters and critics when He walked the earth, He is patient still “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  He is Lord of all—one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that truth (Philippians 2:10-11).  On that day, all laughing at Jesus will forever cease.

Jesus changes things.  Whether in this world, or in the heart of a man, things cannot and will not remain the same in the life-changing presence of Jesus.

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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