17 October 2013

Matthew 12:22-37

"You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil?" (v. 34)


The image of Jesus as meek and mild has for a long time been seen as wrong and this passage demonstrates why! Jesus has just healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. The Pharisees talking among themselves accredit the miracle to Satan. Hearing this, Jesus launched into his attack against them…

The Pharisees who assume a religious authority think they can pass judgement upon what is and isn't of God's working. They represent proper religious belief yet cannot see God is at work in the life of Christ. It is those who uphold the religious institution that block the way of the Lord.

As with the Pharisees, it is always a challenge to Christians in every time and place to keep up with God who is at work in the world. God should not, cannot, and will not be contained by the rules and regulations that humans (and especially the Church) try to impose. The challenge is to let go of our religious prejudices and our understanding of how God is 'supposed' to be working.

This passage shows us that Jesus broke the rules and stretched the boundaries. Even though the Church may struggle keep up, the way of the Lord is hearing and answering the cry of those who need him. Far from being frightening this makes the walk of faith an adventure as we follow God to places we thought we would never go.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever felt constrained or restricted by religious rules?
  • Have you ever found it hard to understand something that God has done? In what way has hindsight made a difference to your understanding?
  • In the areas and communities you are part of, where do you see God at work in spite of his Church?

Bible notes author

Revd Matt Finch

Matt Finch is a Methodist Minister in the West Norfolk Circuit where he shares oversight of ten rural chapels. He is a Fresh Expressions Associate Missioner and passionate about seeing churches flourish in all contexts and people groups.