bible blog 1167

This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR ORGANIZATION FOR PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS opac

Matthew 9:27-34

New English Translation (NET)

Healing the Blind and Mute

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, shouting, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he went into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes saying, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him throughout that entire region.

32 As they were going away, a man who could not talk and was demon-possessed was brought to him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!” 34 But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of demons he casts out demons.”

Matthew is thinking of the passage in Isaiah 35:  5,6:

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened/ and the ears of the deaf unstopped/ Then the lame man will leap like a deer/ and the dumb man shout aloud.”

Red%20Cross%20worker%20with%20Haitian%20child – A song that celebrates God’s rescue of his people from Babylon and their return across the desert to their homeland; a second exodus. Matthew sees it fulfilled in Jesus’ healing by which God sets people free from the shackles of disease and the powers of evil. Jesus’ compassion and the blind men’s trust are used by God to give them sight. But the initiative is with Jesus, whom the blind men (!) recognise as Messiah, Son of David. He requires their personal trust in his ability to heal. In the case of the possessed man Jesus asks for no cooperation, for he is fighting evil.

For all the New Testament writers it was important to present Jesus as the Messiah promised by God through the Jewish prophets. There were tendencies in the early church towards abandoning the Jewish heritage and in particular its teaching about the Creator God, but these were successfully withstood in the name of Jesus, born a Jew, born under the Law. Of course Jesus’ fellow Jews interpreted his actions in the light of their tradition, whether they saw him as Messiah or as a demonic pretender. Most Christian believers today come to the Jewish bible in the light of Jesus and find in the Law, the wisdom writings and the prophets something of Jesus’ character, which is not surprising as he was brought up to trust and obey them. Indeed he may have found in  them the shape of his own ministry as a teacher of God’s wisdom and bringer of his healing to the world.rem12

The claim of New Testament writers is that Jesus made good words into good actions, which was enough to merit the words of his contemporaries, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!”

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