How were people to know when the Messiah had arrived? How were people to know that Jesus was that Messiah? Those are unsettling questions when asked of our self. Jesus seemed such an unmessiah like person. He was like the pastor of a small country church preaching to more empty pews than full. When compared to the various evangelists who fill auditoriums and have a vast TV audience; the pastor seems like so much less; little glory, no applause, no amens, and little in the offering plate.
The lessons on Sept. 6, let us in on the secret. Isaiah 35:4-7a tells us that we will know the Messiah and his salvation when the blind see and the deaf hear. The lame will leap like the deer and the speechless will sing for joy. In the gospel lesson, (Mark 7:24-30) Jesus ventures out of Israel. He is bringing the kingdom of God to new territory; yet he doesn’t want anyone to know he is there. What kind of evangelism program is that? When a desperate woman asks for help for her demon possessed daughter, Jesus doesn’t seem to have a lot of empathy. Should he throw the nourishing food of God’s word to people like her, a foreigner? Nevertheless, he commends her for her readiness to take even what falls from the masters table, telling her bluntly that the demon has left her daughter. And so it was. Wouldn’t Jesus have been hammered for his reluctance and seeming callousness?
Next Jesus traveled to the area east of the Sea of Galilee. He encountered a man who was deaf and couldn’t speak clearly. Again, Jesus blew the chance for a public demonstration of his messiahship. He took the man away from the crowd. In private demonstrated a bit of showmanship. He stuck his fingers in the man’s ear and after spitting touched his tongue. He looked to heaven, sighed and said, “Be opened.” And so it was. But he told the crowd not to tell anyone.
Yet despite himself, Mark tells us, that the more Jesus charged them to be quiet, the more enthusiastically they proclaimed it.
So people were catching on. Would I have been recognized the signs? On whose side would I have been on Good Friday?
Prayer of the Day: O Lord, let Your merciful ears be open to the prayers of Your humble servants and grant that what they ask may be in accord with Your gracious will; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.