And They Laughed

23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region. Matthew 9:23-25

The crowd was mourning the way they normally would and Jesus interrupts them.

Then they laughed.

How ridiculous could He be!
Of course she’s dead. We saw her ourselves.
How silly of this man!
Who, who is this man to make such a laughable statement?

Then the girl got up and went out to greet the laughers.

Their laughing had ceased and now they were all about town telling all the townspeople.

People still laugh and mock those who follow Him. Sometimes those mocks are deserved, but more often than not, His followers are being mocked and ridiculed for what they believe in and stand for.

We know, as they say, that Jesus got the last laugh in this instance.

So will we, but until then, we will have to endure this mockery for a while.

Soon, based on what I am seeing in the news and in the culture, that mockery will turn into outright persecution.

Stand firm, though,

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28

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Healing on the Way to a Healing

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. Matthew 9:18-22

A cursory reading of the New Testament might suggest that most of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were bad or corrupt since most of His interactions with them were largely confrontational.

Obviously this synagogue leader was an exception. Either that or he concerned himself more about his family than what his superiors thought of him. In that respect, it must have taken a lot of courage to approach Jesus, knowing that his actions would be reported to his superiors

As he made his way to the leader’s home, a woman touched Him. She needed a touch from Him. If she could just get close enough, she could get the healing she needed. Jesus commended her for her faith and he immediately gained a follower. The text doesn’t say it but it’s certain to have happened. She would undoubtedly tell friends and relatives about this man named Jesus.

Both of these actions had to drive the religious leaders crazy. Here he was touched by a woman while going to the house of one of their leaders to see a dead child.

But Jesus didn’t concern himself with the leaders or what others thought. He was doing the Father’s will in every situation. Actually He knew that His actions would cause them to complain and argue the Law with Him. Still, no matter. He was taking care of the Father’s business.

How often do we get down to brass tacks, as it were, and do the Father’s business? There is much to distract the average Western Christian, though those distractions are minimized with the ongoing pandemic.

Jesus was focused. There would be a time to debate the naysayers, but real people with real problems needed to be ministered to.

May we experience that kind of determination and focus when ministering to others.

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Everything We Need

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16-17

I reviewed three different interpretations of this passage. What follows seems reasonable, but is subjective.

The new wine that Jesus is referring to most probably is the Holy Spirit. Jesus was signalling to the leaders that before the Holy Spirit will dwell in a person, that person needs to be transformed into something new.

Recall in the previous verse that the John’s disciples wanted Jesus’ disciples to fast. They were still thinking of the old way of doing things.

Jesus was ushering in a new way, one that would be so radical that He would have to die for it to come to pass.

John’s disciples (or anyone for that matter) had no idea what was coming down the road in that regard, but Jesus was dropping solid hints along the way.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

How quickly we forget that.

Everything we need for a godly life.”

Everything.

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No Imitations

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. Matthew 9:14-15

The fasts that John’s disciples refer to probably were fasts sorrowful fasts rather than the discipline of fasting as we know it today.

Jesus’ response would have been very shocking for them because it implied his upcoming death.

Notice how His disciples were still comparing His actions with those of the Pharisees. It wouldn’t take them long before they experienced the whole truth about who Jesus actually was. They would then be able to see that Jesus was the standard-bearer and the Pharisees were totally off base in their belief systems.

Thank the Lord today for his great mercy and for being the Truth we so desperately sought.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

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Mercy Not Sacrifice

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13

The religious rulers disapproved of Jesus’ friends and company. They obviously would have never come close to touching these tax collectors and sinners let alone dining with them.

Jesus, of course, had the perfect answer, something they could not refute.

But He leaves them with this, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'”

He leaves us with those words too.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

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