Scripture: Matthew 12:15-21
Key verse: (15) “ When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them,”
Reflection: To understand verse 15 you need to read verse 14. When Jesus became aware of what? Verse 14 reads, “ the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”
So to recap: Jesus was healing on the Sabbath and got in trouble with the church authorities (when you read Pharisees know that is Bible talk for Presbyterian or Baptist or Episcopalian) and his response to such hatred was to depart (v 15). This is the second time he’s done that in the Gospel of Matthew when confronted. The first time he departed was back in chapter nine. Here’s the fun part though. When he departs it is not with his tail between his legs, rather, when we find him after departing, our stubborn Savior is still healing people! And still on the Sabbath!! Some people just don’t know when to quit.
Jesus’ actions here could be taken as a license to be rebellious, to rail whenever we can against rules and authority (especially when we are in disagreement with that rule or authority). But is that what is happening here? Jesus spoke repeatedly of wanting to fulfill the law rather than abolish it. But what Jesus understood and explained to the teachers of the law (verses 1-14) was that the law was there for us, we are not here for the law. Jesus doesn’t seem to hesitate to break a law (in the authorities’ opinion) if it means not breaking a person.
The word doctrine is a dry and dusty church word, if I have ever heard one, but the origin of the word is also where we derive the word doctor. Doctrine comes from a word meaning to teach, to mend, to restore. As I heard one Christian scholar put it “Doctrine is healing teaching.”
Jesus didn’t set out to challenge authority, he set out to heal, nourish, love and save this world that God so loves.
If it is that kind of love that is going to get us in trouble, then so be it.
Prayer: For Jesus’ desire to love and heal this world, we praise you, Lord. May we be quick to join and grateful to receive this ministry. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].