Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Bad About Good Things

By Allen White

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

   “Yes, Lord,” they replied.

 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.

 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
Matthew 9:27-34

Jesus had a knack for making wounded people whole. He healed the two blind men. Could you imagine if the first face you ever saw was Jesus’ face? He instructed them not to shout about it. They couldn’t help themselves. They were blind and now they could see.

Jesus drove out the demon and opened the mouth of the mute. Were his first words, “Thank you, Jesus”? I’m sure that he couldn’t quit talking about it. After all, he had a lot to say on that day.

The religious leaders had to rain on the parade. “He’s using the power of Beelzebub.” Most of us would be excited to witness the blind men seeing and the mute man talking, we would just shout for joy. We wouldn’t question the source of Jesus’ power. And, as far as Beelzebub goes, when do we ever think of that name, except when we hear Bohemian Rhapsody.

It seems ridiculous for the Pharisees to equate Jesus’ work with the prince of demons. Or, is it?
Think about this – someone does something out of the goodness of their heart to help another – what kinds of things do we hear about them?

“He’s trying to make a name for himself.”
“She’s trying to get attention.”
“He’s a savvy entrepreneur drumming up business.”
“She must feel guilty for something.”
“He’s just overcompensating for his childhood wounds.”
“She’s just trying to prove something.”
“He just thinks he’s better than everyone else.”

Jealousy has been around for a very long time. The people weren’t buying what the Pharisees were selling. People didn’t want the heavy burden they had to offer. Jesus didn’t come to sell anybody anything. He came to give life in abundant proportions.

Jesus operated out of His love for us. The Pharisees depended on guilt and fear. They needed a God of wrath. They needed the threat of demons to keep people in line. Jesus didn’t need any of that. In fact, the wrath of God is part of the goodness of God. Huh?

The punishment for our sins is only to motivate us toward the Forgiver of our sins. He doesn’t want us to embrace things that will harm us. God desired a relationship with us. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus knew that the key to motivating people is loving them, not regulating them.

Generosity, serving, caring, helping and encouraging reflect the heart of God. How do you feel when you see others serve well? Do you celebrate with them? Do you encourage them? Or do you become a Pharisee?

Dragging down the God-motivated service of others does not reflect God’s character. In fact, if we feel negative about other’s good work, maybe it’s actually conviction to get motivated ourselves. If we’re going to outdo each other, then let’s compete with generosity, serving, caring, helping and encouraging. Leave Beelzebub to the Bohemian Rhapsody.

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