Believe and Obey

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An Immediate Response

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Follow Now

The text this week is Matthew 9: 9-13, 18-26.  This passage shows us a Jesus calling to and dining with all the wrong sorts of people.  It also shows us people on the margins being healed by Jesus.  At first look it seems like several disparate stories.  However, upon closer look there is a theme running through this text.  The main theme is that of immediacy.  The first tale is that of the call of Matthew.  Jesus saw Matthew, who was a tax collector, and He called to Him and said, “follow me”.  The next tale is that of a synagogue leader pleading for the immediate healing of his daughter.  Then a woman who had been suffering hemorrhages for 12 years touched Jesus seeking an immediate cure.

The thing that we see here is that each of these were acting upon an immediate faith.  Matthew walked away from his tax booth and followed Jesus, the other two seeking healing immediately believed in Jesus as well and sought that healing right now.  They all saw and heard Jesus and right away they believed.  This led to an immediate reaction from each of these three.  This underscores that Jesus is calling all of us right now.  This is not the army where one hurries up then waits.  Our response to hearing Jesus is to answer in faith immediately.  There should be no delay.  There will be no delay if we trust in God and His Son.

Right Now for Everyone

The other thing that should be apparent in this passage is that all three of these are outcasts.  A tax collector, a Jewish leader whose daughter is dead (presumably for some committed sin), and a woman sickly for 12 years.  These are people on the fringes of society.  Yet they are called to by Jesus and they believe in Him and His power.  This shows a God who cares for the least among us and a Jesus who shows extra care and concern for those so situated in society.  It is not that God does not love everyone, it is just that by intentional outreach to outcasts He drives home the message that God’s love is truly for everyone.  God wants an immediate relationship with all humanity and this passage makes this clear.

This is what is meant when Jesus responds to criticism of the company, He keeps by pointing out that the well do not need a doctor.  Of course Jesus loves the righteous, yet they are not the one’s most in need of hearing His word.  By referring to the sick Jesus is not rendering a criticism of these people, He is merely noting what society thinks of them as well as their status of perhaps having given up hope.  As the passage makes clear the hope that they place in Jesus is not misplaced and it does result in a dramatic change in their lives, as it can for us.

Will We Trust Like the “Outcasts”?

Taking in the message of this text sees us understanding that Jesus is calling all of us, no matter how unworthy society thinks we are, into relationship with God, right now.  As we read this we may be “outcasts”, we may be low on hope, or we may be among the “well” (never as well as we like to think though).  The question is how we will respond.  Will we hear God’s good and gracious word and immediately trust, or will we meander on down the road.  If we do hear and trust, will we respond immediately as these “outcasts” did or will we dawdle and make excuses for why we can get about our response later? 

No one can answer these questions for us.  Only we can search ourselves and listen to a God that loves us beyond measure.  I would simply ask that you stop and listen to the amazingly Good News that Jesus gives us.  We are loved and forgiven no matter who we are, and God wants to give us all the healing and restoration that we deeply desire and need.  If even a 12-year hemorrhaging outcast trusts God’s word and responds in faith, then surely, we can.  If a tax collector changes course and responds in faith, then we can.  So like the “least among us”, hear God’s word and believe, then obey.

Praise Be to God

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