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February 14 | Matthew 8:14-22


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Pierced Yet Healed

by Dan Kidd

Today's story begins with Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law, and then, in the evening, "many who were demon possessed." Notice how physical healing and spiritual cleansing are

portioned together. Mind, body, soul, and strength—the whole of us—is a Kingdom matter.


I so love the small details we were given in these stories. Jesus, with a touch of her hand, cast the fever out of Peter's mother-in-law. What was her response? To immediately rise up and begin waiting on Jesus. What a generous, humble individual! And what a beautiful picture of being saved in order that we may serve our Healer, King Jesus. And then, as the many possessed came to Jesus, in the shadows of the evening, Jesus drove out the spirits, healed the sick, with a word. Do you see how naturally, how simply Matthew tell us Jesus' Kingdom miracles were? With a touch of the hand, with a word, the Great Physician and Just Judge took what was soured, broken, poisoned, and hopeless and he set it right again.


This is so important a point that Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, [yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the

punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.]"


It seems to me that, in a world where we can feel so overwhelmed by what is not as it should be, it is incredible news that, for Jesus, what seems hopelessly beyond repair simply is not. God's Kingdom has extraordinary potential and power, and, especially in our hours of fear or sorrow, let us not underestimate Christ's power to make all things right again!

From here, our story takes us across the lake, and to a religious teacher, who vowed to go with Jesus wherever he would go. Yet another detail we ought not breeze over. Here, we have a religious teacher who approaches Jesus and commits himself to go wherever Jesus goes. In a witness where religious leader after religious leader plots against Jesus, and seethes in murderous fury over him, one such leader, a teacher no less, sees Jesus for who he is, and what he deserves (namely, full and faithful allegiance). O that we who teach would be willing to commit to following step-for-step in the footprints of Rabbi Jesus!


And then, in response to this, another disciple (notice, he is still called a disciple) says to Jesus, "First, let me go bury my father." Jesus' response, though it may sound uncharacteristically uncaring, is a response that appreciates the urgency of this ministry. Jesus was not long for the world, and he would be sooner crucified than later. So, Jesus beckons this disciple not to wait the full year, as was customary, before he moved his father into his final burial space, but rather, to come in haste, for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand—right then! What's more, burial of the dead would be a rather different thing once one intimately knew the mission of Jesus: to conquer death and raise the dead again.


PRAYER PRACTICE

There's a lot to ponder in these several encounters with Jesus. Take some time now in prayer to consider how these encounters with Jesus might be transforming you, even now.




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