Friday, December 1, 2017

Matthew 8: The Unexpected Messiah

One thing you can say about Jesus: He consistently confounded the expectations that people would have placed upon Him as the Messiah.

The Messiah would have been expected to adhere scrupulously to the Law of Moses and set a new standard in purity and cleanliness.  Jesus put his hand on a leper.

The Messiah would have been expected to mingle only with Jews (and righteous ones at that) and to keep Himself from unclean Gentiles, especially the occupying Roman power.  Jesus agreed to go to a Roman centurion's house in response to his request to heal a servant.  When the centurion professed his faith that Jesus Himself would not need to come but could just heal with a word spoken where He was, Jesus marveled at his faith. 

The Messiah would have been expected to hold a "Jews first" approach (if not a "Jews only" policy.)  Jesus proclaimed that faraway Gentiles would come and take their seats in the kingdom with the patriarchs while Abraham's descendants would be thrown out into the darkness.

The Messiah would have been expected to associate with rabbis and teachers of the law and scribes, choosing only the best and brightest to be His followers.  Jesus decided to enter the home of a fisherman as he deepened His friendship with Peter.

The Messiah would have been expected to take the man who said, "Lord, I will follow you wherever you go," and reject the man who asked to bury his father first.  Jesus discouraged the first and called the second to follow Him.

The Messiah would have been expected to be ever vigilant and awake and never suffer trouble and dangerous situations.  Jesus promptly fell asleep on the boat, having to be awakened in the midst of a ferocious storm that threatened His life.  Instead of never experiencing a storm, Jesus calmed the one He found Himself in.

The Messiah would have been expected to stay in Jewish areas, to journey only around Galilee, if not in Jerusalem itself.  Jesus traveled to a Gentile region (where they tended pigs, of all things!) 

The Messiah would have been expected to be dismissive of Gentiles and not care about their problems.  Jesus set free two men possessed by demons, sending the demons into the pigs.

What is the message for us?  I think it's not only that Jesus persisted in doing the unexpected in His day and age; but that we should be willing to check our expectations of Jesus at the door as well.  It's not only the scribes and the Pharisees that found Him confounding.  He may very well do things in your life and in your church that YOU do not expect.  Still.

No comments:

Post a Comment