Reading: Matthew 9:14-34
verse 18: a synagogue leader came
verse 20: a woman … came
verse 27: two blind men followed him
verse 32: a man who was demon-possessed … was brought
If we take a minute to look around at people, it doesn’t take long to recognize that we’re kind of all the same. Hairstyles are similar, clothing styles are similar, vehicles are similar, etc. We all want to fit in so much, in fact, that experiments have shown that people will actually change their minds about an obvious answer just to match the rest of the group. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it??
Now let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the people who sought Jesus in today’s passage. For their whole lives, they were taught Jewish law. What to do, when to do it, what was clean and unclean, and what was socially acceptable and what was not. It was not lawful for Jesus to touch a dead corpse. It was not acceptable for an “unclean” woman to seek Jesus for help, much less touch him. Israel had never seen anyone drive out a demon before… talk about weird!
The world we live in now is pretty accurately described in 2 Timothy 3:
2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Living in our world is not unlike living under Jewish law. We are battered with the ways of the world, opinions of non-believers (sometimes very loudly), and often told that what we choose – leaning into Jesus – is silly and wrong.
Here’s what I know: Jesus wasn’t wrong. He wasn’t wrong in what he said or what he did. There was no mistake in when he chose to address an issue, and he knew exactly who the message was for every time. (But the world sure did speak against him!) It was ok with Jesus for an “unclean” woman to reach out to him, and ok for a grieving parent to ask him for a miracle. It was ok for blind men to ask for healing, and to ask Jesus to cast out a demon. Jesus welcomed their brokenness. And he welcomes mine. Even if the world says otherwise.
So, are you willing to step out and be weird? Will you stand on your own and seek Jesus, or will you conform to what the rest of the world says? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But there is so much more to gain in Jesus than what the world has to offer. It’s so worth it.
God, thank you for showing us how to live. You make me brave. Show me where I can be weird in a God way, and help me to stand firm in my faith. Thank you for welcoming me, no matter my brokenness or past. I love you, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.