Permission to disobey Jesus – Friday, 1st Week of Advent – Isaiah 29:17-24/Matthew 9:27-31
No sight, lots of insight
Yesterday our text spoke of those who cry out ‘LORD LORD’, and do not do the will of the Father. Today two blind men are also crying out to Jesus. They address him with a messianic title “Son of David.” This acknowledgment of Jesus as the ‘Son of David’ is simply amazing considering the stubbornness of the entire religious establishment to acknowledge who Jesus was. These two blind men had no sight but certainly had insight.
Not just some guru
As the first of many reflections today, allow yourself this advent to recognize and acknowledge who Jesus is. It is true that we know and recognize Jesus from images and statues and we have read about him in Holy books but do we acknowledge the Lord publicly as these blind men did? Are we able to tell our friends that Jesus is the Son of David, the saviour of the world or do we water him down to be a spiritual guru with some happy thoughts on love and forgiveness?
Examining our hearts in private
We have established that these two blind men have both recognized and acknowledged Jesus before men. It’s interesting to see what happens next. We are told that Jesus enters a house and the blind men follow him. Now Jesus examines in private what they professed in public. Like the blind men and the text of yesterday, Jesus hears us cry out,” Lord, Lord” or “Son of David” but he wants to examine our hearts in private. The blind men’s public acclamations of Jesus are now examined in private with a simple question, “DO YOU BELIEVE that I am able to do this”?
Professed in Public, believed in private
The Gospel does not record a consultation that the two blind men had with each other in response to Jesus’ question. There was no theological debate recorded by St Matthew about his divinity or humanity. The Gospel records a simple acclamation of faith on the part of the blind men, and that too recorded in all of two words, “Yes Lord.” Their response is certainly one of faith but not just any faith. The answer was “yes LORD”. He was the Son of David in public and still their Lord in private. What they professed in public they also believed in private. They recognized who he was and what he could do.
A lie that could have been exposed
What happens next, is nothing short of putting their faith to a test. Remember, Jesus asked them, “do you believe that I can do this?” and they said, “yes Lord.” Now Jesus puts their faith to the test with the words “according to YOUR FAITH let it be done to you.” What if they never had faith? What if their public profession of calling him Messiah was just a show? Think about it, if all this was nothing but a well scripted drama on the part of the blind men to win a miracle, scripture would have recorded for posterity the next line of the Gospel as the lie of two blind men.
Be it done to you according to your faith
We miss the dynamics and the drama of this text because we have heard the miracle so often and we know that Jesus did work many such miracles. We assume the end to be a scripted happy ending with a miracle thrown in for good measure but the first disciples did not know all this simply because they had neither read a book on the life of Jesus or were presented with a copy listing the miracles of Jesus. The first disciples, these blind men, believed with all their heart and that is why their miracles were granted. That tremendous moment of faith is recoded in one verse of scripture, in verse 30 with just four words, “their eyes were opened.”
How I wish we were disobedient too…
Surprisingly, Jesus demands that no one knows of this miracle. Why would he do this? Was Jesus afraid that his Instagram page would blow up? Would his disciples now have to re-arrange his appointment schedule? Why would he say, “see that no one knows of this?” Here is the truth. Many of us see the miracle not the messiah. Once I know who butters my bread I know where to go but what If I simply ask, “give us this day our daily bread’ will I get it? We should approach Jesus not knowing what to expect but certainly knowing who we are going to meet and if its bread without butter that he gives us we still say, “Son of David.”
The two blind men now openly ‘disobey’ God and they are not the only ones in the Gospel who ‘disobey’ him even though Christ explicitly forbids them. We are told that they went away and spread the news about him. What that news was we don’t know; the Gospels do not tell us those details but they do tell us that they spread the news about him throughout the district. The Gospels do give us a detail though, “they spoke ABOUT HIM.” not the miracle. They spoke of him and yes, they were disobedient and how I wish we were too.
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Fr Warner D’Souza